Australia 263 (Watson 62, Anderson 5-80) vs
England 116-2 (Strauss 64no)
Third Test, Edgbaston, day two: stumps
By Peter Exley
England’s bowlers returned to form with a bang today, and England went on to close the day within 147 runs of Australia with eight second wickets in hand at Edgbaston.
Andrew Strauss surprisingly chose Onions to bowl the first over of the day, but he repaid his captain’s faith in him in the best way possible. He took two wickets with the first two balls of the day to give England the best possible start that they could have hoped for. First to go was Shane Watson, trapped plumb in front and he was immediately followed by Michael Hussey, who shouldered arms to a delivery that seamed back to hit the top of his off stump. Onions wasn’t able to claim his hat trick, but continued to bowl superbly throughout the morning session.
Next batsmen to go was Ricky Ponting, but before he was dismissed, he managed to become the highest Australian run scorer in Test cricket, overtaking Alan Border’s long standing mark. However, he didn’t stick around to further his new record as Onions surprised him with a sharp bouncer that flew off his glove high to Matt Prior behind the stumps.
Michael Clarke was looking in all sorts of problems against Onions, and he was lucky to escape an LBW shout from the Durham seamer which replays showed would have clattered into middle stump. He was also dropped by the normally dependable Flintoff at slip, but James Anderson then got amongst the wickets when a slightly dubious LBW decision from umpire Rudi Koertzen meant that he was on his way for 29.
The wickets continued to tumble as both Marcus North and Mitchell Johnson succumbed to brilliant swing bowling from Anderson in successive deliveries. North slashed at an out swinger and was caught brilliantly by a diving Prior and Johnson didn’t pick the inswinger and was LBW playing no shot. For the second time in the innings, an England bowler was denied a hat trick, however debutant Graham Manou, who was trying to see his side to lunch, was bowled by Anderson soon after from the last ball of the session to leave his team in trouble at 203 for eight.
England continued to pile on the pressure on the Australians bowling them out for just 263. There was a frustrating partnership between Nathan Hauritz and Ben Hilfenhaus after Peter Siddle edged behind to Prior to give Anderson his fifth wicket, with Ravi Bopara dropping a simple catch from Hilfenhaus to add insult to injury. However, Graham Onions continued his good form and removed the last man Hilfenhaus for 20 to finish with four wickets.
In reply, England suffered the early loss of Alastair Cook who pushed at a delivery from Peter Siddle to be caught behind by Graham Manou. Ravi Bopara and Andrew Strauss then played a number of good looking strokes to go to the tea interval at 56 for one with Strauss on 33 not out and Bopara unbeaten on 23.
Bopara didn’t stick around for long after tea, as he played onto his stumps from Ben Hilfenhaus from just his second ball after the break. Once again, he looked good for his 23, but gave his wicket away, a trend that is becoming all too regular for Bopara.
Strauss was joined at the crease by Ian Bell, returning to the team after Kevin Pietersen’s injury. Bell played a number of good strokes including a lofted six off Nathan Hauritz, but was lucky to still be not out when bad light stopped play after surviving what seemed a plumb LBW shout from Mitchell Johnson.
But he survived to see out the day with his captain who notched up his fifty in the final session. It was well and truly England’s day and they finished day two on 116 for two, in a very strong position.
© Cricket World 2009
Get the latest from Cricket World® with Facebook, twitter and YouTube and keep up with the action with the latest cricket TV highlights and interviews.