Ashes 2nd Test Day 5 Talking Points from the Boundary

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Swann soars

So, Brisbane was just a blip for Graeme Swann after all despite the doom and gloom merchants suggestingthat he was just the latest off-spinner to find Australian wickets a graveyard. Here in Adelaide though Swann has provided both wickets and control to produce match figures of 70.1-14-161-7. The pitch may have been on his side in the second innings, but Swann bowled beautifully and will be confident that he can strut through the rest of the series now.

King pair

Ryan Harris may have been the pick of a rather dismal Australian attack in Adelaide, but he is no test match number eight. He followed his unlucky golden duck in the 1st innings by padding up to James Anderson first ball to complete a king pair. Again he referred the decision – more in hope than expectation this time – and again the decision went against him. With Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Broad both recording ducks at Brisbane, no number eight has yet scored a run in the series.

Soft centres?

In the Sunday Times this weekend, Martin Johnson suggested that the Australian cricket team’s toothlessness could be down to the “namby-pamby nanny state” that the country has become. We’re not sure about that – witness Simon Katich’s bravery yesterday – but Australia certainly folded today with barely a whimper. The writing was on the wall as soon as Steve Finn forced Michael Hussey to miscue an attempted pull straight to James Anderson at mid-off. Anderson, who had been poor in the innings thus far, then got Brad Haddin and Harris in successive balls. When Marcus North was adjudged leg before after a review to Swann two balls later it was all over for Australia.

Like father, like son?

Not this time. In the build-up to the series a number of pundits (including us) suggested that Stuart Broad could emulate his father Chris – who hit three hundreds in the 1986/87 series – by playing a starring role in a successful jaunt down under. But the worst fears were confirmed as Broad Junior was ruled out of the rest of the tour with the stomach injury he suffered bowling on the fourth day. Only two matches ago, Broad was scoring 169 at Lord’s – talk about the highs and lows of Test Cricket.

Commentator’s Curse?

Finn had just taken Hussey’s wicket and the Sky Commentary team were heaping the praise with Shane Warne enthusing about how well Finn had bowled in Adelaide. So what happened next? Finn bowled a delivery straight out of the Mitchell Johnson school of bowling – it started wide and wentwider as it went miles past North’s leg stump and down to the boundary. Definitely a case of commentator’s curse as Warne opined himself.

Player of the day

Graeme Swann was asked to produce the goods and he didn’t disappoint with his 10th five wicket haul in Test cricket.

Zero of the day

It’s hard to look past Marcus North, who is now likely to leave the last chance saloon with a one way ticket to the obscurity of domestic cricket.

Prospects for Perth

Australia look in disarray and will need every one of the nine days before the Perth test starts to get their house in order. There will be more changes – Katich, who is out of the series now with his achilles, is one. North looks vulnerable as does Doherty and Doug Bollinger hardly covered himself in glory. England will be on a high and other than a shootout between Tremlett, Shahzad and Bresnan for Broad’s place, will head to Perth via Melbourne with none of the worries etched on Ricky Ponting’s brow.

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