Adelaide day 5: England succumb in under an hour

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England’s resistance didn’t last long on day 5 at Adelaide. Less than an hour in fact. Their fans back home settling in for an unlikely great escape got a good 6 or 7 hours sleep before work on Monday morning.

Unfortunately for England, the tone was set in the very first over of the day when Stuart Broad fell for the oldest trick in the book. With two men out on the hook, Stuart Broad proceeded to smash Peter Siddle into the stand as a statement of intent. On the very next ball, Siddle bowled that little bit shorter and quicker and Broad took on the hook once more. This time he top edged straight into the watchful hands of Nathan Lyon.

Whilst Broad shouldn’t shoulder the responsibility of scoring big runs for England in the series, his dismissal was emblematic of England’s Ashes thus far.

England’s crappy shot selection

Australia put men out deep on the leg side, England compulsively hook and pull in the air and get out repeatedly in this manner.

Australia put two mid-wickets in place to counter an England strength. England aren’t deterred and clip in the air through mid-wicket to get out. And out again.

Australia encourage Nathan Lyon to attack on a very straight line with a strong leg side field. England persist on fending in the air to one of sometimes three catchers.

If there was one man who showed the way for England in this Test, it would have to be Joe Root. Having played a dreadful sweep to his old grade cricket teammate Nathan Lyon in the first innings, Root duly shelved the stroke and set about batting time making 87 the second time around.

Like Root, the rest of the English batsman need to shelve the “carry on regardless” approach to batting and knuckle down and make runs.

A word on Mitchell Johnson

Gideon Haigh described Mitchell Johnson as the “uncommon denominator” in this series. He obviously didn’t play in England, and he also brings a pace and aggression that is unlike any other bowler on display. Athers pitched in explaining how a firing Johnson seems to make players around him grow a couple of inches in stature.

Johnson now has two man of the match awards from two Tests thanks to his first innings 7-40 blowing Alastair Cook and England’s middle and lower order away. He wins a Man of the Match award every 7.5 Tests. That’s the best ratio of any Australian to have won more than 2 awards in their careers.

Michael Clarke’s bold prediction that Mitchell Johnson will be man of the series now looks odds on.

What next in Perth?

No English side has ever come back from being 2-0 down in an Ashes series.  Australia have named an unchanged squad of 12 players in Perth. England meanwhile are in deep shit with only three days to cobble together a side capable of winning the third Test.

Tim Bresnan, if fit, surely needs to come back in. Ben Stokes should start being England’s quickest bowler in Adelaide. Panesar out-bowled Swann (albeit not with great figures) but is a passenger in the field. And none of the the giant quicks have made a case to be included.

England scored 300 for the first time in the series in the second innings at Adelaide. If they are to avoid further humiliation, they will need to bat even longer.


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