England 102 (Cook 30, Siddle 5-21) v
Australia 196-4 (Ponting 79, Broad 2-29)
Fourth Test, Headingley, day one: stumps
By Peter Exley
Australia enjoyed a successful opening day of the fourth Ashes Test at Headingley, taking a lead of 94 into day two.
It was a frantic start to the Headingley as chaos reigned before the day’s play and continued into the morning session.
England were forced to have a taste of the future in life without Andrew Flintoff as his persistent knee injury ruled him out of the game. There were further injury scares for England as Matt Prior was struck down by a back spasm in the warm up game of football. Rumours of potential replacements; Paul Collingwood taking the gloves and the outside prospect of Bruce French filling in behind the stumps until a replacement was found, were flying around the ground, however, luckily for England, Prior was announced fit to play.
Australia’s match day preparations were not without their issues either. There was the selection dilemmas of which bowlers to play in this game. Brett Lee had hinted that he may make a come back to the side, however Australia decided against risking the fast bowler, instead dispensing with off spinner Nathan Hauritz instead favouring the seam of Stuart Clark. Brad Haddin also returned to the side after a broken finger kept him out of the Edgbaston Test.
England’s chaotic start continued as Andrew Strauss, who perhaps should have been given out from the first ball of the match, slashed at a wide delivery from Peter Siddle and was caught one handed by Marcus North in the slips. England’s early morning misery did not cease as Ravi Bopara and Ian Bell were quick to follow the captain back to the pavilion, dismissed by Ben Hilfenhaus and Mitchell Johnson respectively.
The collapse to not stop there, Collingwood was next to go, presenting a regulation edge to Ricky Ponting at second slip from the bowling of Stuart Clark. Alastair Cook was the only batsmen that had shown any signs of resistance in the morning session, but his innings was ended when he edged to Michael Clarke at slip for 30.
There was just enough time for Clark to claim his third wicket of the day as Stuart Broad clipped a full, swinging delivery to Simon Katich who was positioned at deep short leg to leave England reeling at 72 for six at lunch.
It wasn’t long after the lunch interval that England were bowled out by Australia. Peter Siddle claimed his second five wicket haul of his career in taking the remaining four wickets to bowl England out for a paltry 102.
A roar from the English crowd welcomed them on to the pitch, perhaps sensing that the players would need a lift if they were to lift England to something special, and it worked to a certain extent with Steve Harmison’s extra bounce proving effective as Simon Katich fended a rising delivery to leg gully to be dismissed for naught. Captain Ponting came to the crease and immediately hitting a flurry of boundaries as Australia sped along at nearly eight an over for periods of the session. Shane Watson also scored quickly to reach tea on 24 not out with Ponting unbeaten on 39, their team 69 for one.
After tea, Australia looked ominously like they were going to take the game way out of reach of England with Ricky Ponting and Shane Watson both hitting their half centuries. However, England struck back and Watson was trapped the very next ball after his milestone by Graham Onions. Ponting was soon to follow for 79, LBW to Stuart Broad.
England had perhaps finally realized that the way forward on this Headingly pitch was to pitch the ball full, and Broad produced another swinging delivery to trap Michael Hussey for 10.
Michael Clarke and Marcus North looked to be cruising to the end of the day with no problems, except when Clarke may have gloved a fearsome Steve Harmison bouncer to Matt Prior behind the stumps. England were bemused as to why Asad Rauf did not give him out, but he survived to take Australia to 196 for four at the end of the day.
© Cricket World 2009