The players took the field on day two with the skies grey and overcast and honours probably just about even after day one. It was going to be a crucial first hour for both sides as England looked to push their score of 336 up to beyond 400, and the Australians looking to take early wickets and wrap up the tail as quickly as possible.
It wasn’t long before the first wicket fell, Stuart Broad dismissed bowled Johnston behind his legs as he stepped across his stumps in the fourth over of the morning, although not before he had added 15 runs to his overnight score of 4. This brought Graeme Swann to the crease to join night watchman Jimmy Anderson who had already begun to play his shots. It didn’t take Swann long to join the party and both batsmen looked to be positive and chanced their arms, this positive batting forcing Ricky Ponting to turn to his off spinner Hauritz as early as the ninth over.
In his first over Swann brought up the 400 with an audacious reverse sweep off the last ball much to the delight of the England balcony. The 50 partnership followed soon afterwards from just 33 balls. Hauritz picked up the wicket of Anderson in his third over when the batsman advanced down the pitch for the second time in the over but offered a simple chance to Hussey at mid on. Excellent stuff from Anderson who did exactly what a nightwatchman should do the next morning and push for quick runs rather than block up an end. 26 for Anderson adding 68 for the 9th wicket with Swann, This brought Monty to the crease for a brief cameo, falling to Hauritz for just 4 making him the only batsman in the innings not to hit double figures. Swann stranded on 47 not out and England 435 all out having added 99 runs this morning in just under 27 overs.
This left the Australian openers a tricky 8 over period to negotiate before lunch, which they did successfully, reaching 39 without loss. There was no playing for the lunch bell from Phillip Hughes as he cut loose from the off, hitting 4 fours on his way to 28 not out from 36 balls and Katich survived on 6 not out. Definitely England’s session, a quick wicket would have been the icing on the cake but they will have been perfectly happy over lunchtime with their mornings work
Flintoff took the first over after the break and immediately found his rhythm testing Hughes with fast, short deliveries hitting 90 mph. Flintoff put down a tough chance from Katich off his own bowling in his second over but got his man in his fourth over when a clearly ruffled Hughes managed to get the thinnest of edges behind to Prior. Gone for 36 from 54 balls with Australia at 60 for 1 when the captain came to the crease. Ponting and Katich continued ticking along at a decent rate, the hundred coming up in the 27th over courtesy of a back foot drive through point from Ponting who a few over later went onto become only the fourth player in history to pass 11,000 Test Match runs. More steady stuff from Katich and Ponting saw Australia safely through to Tea without the loss of a further wicket, Katich reaching his fifty in the process, 53 from123 balls with his skipper 44 not out.
103 runs in the afternoon session, fast aggressive bowling from Flintoff, 1 wicket, 11,000 Test runs for Ponting and a 50 for Simon Katich so plenty to keep the crowd entertained. Honours probably even again going into the final session.
More of the same was to come after tea, as the evening session belonged to the Australians with Katich (104*) scoring his first ton against England and Ponting (100*) leading from the front brought up an imperious 38th Test century. Australia go into day 3 well set on 249 for 1 looking to build a substantial lead that just may cause a few gitters in the England camp come their second innings. On a day that started so brightly for England, the pendulum has certainly started to swing in Australia’s direction.
Bring on Day 3!
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