Australia batter England in third test
December 19th 2010 20:34
In the third test of this winter's Ashes Series down under, Australia managed to wrestle some momentum back from England, after winning the match by 267 runs. The tourists had been dominant in the latter stages of the first test, and the whole of the second. It was beginning to seem that the urn coming home with Strauss and his boys, was inevitable. Not so inevitable anymore..
Day one went to plan for England, bowling out the hosts for 268. Mike Hussey was imperious with the bat once again, making 61, while Haddin and Mitchell Johnson also made half centuries. Chris Tremlett, in the side in place of the injured Broad, took three wickets on his Ashes debut.
Day two required the tourists to bat well, and build a lead. But Mitchell Johnson had other ideas. Having always under achieved against England, a devastating spell from the left armed seamer, turned the match, and maybe the series, on its head. He took four wickets for seven runs, getting rid of Cook, Trott, Pietersen and Collingwood. This reduced England to 98-5.
The in form Ian Bell helped bring England's score closer to their opponents, but his half century was in vein. Johnson finished with figures of 6-38, the best bowling figures of the series so far, from any player of either side. The tourists were 187 all out, 81 runs behind the Aussies.
Only two Australian batsmen turned up in the second innings, but that was all that was needed for them to build a match winning lead. Shane Watson scored 95, just missing out on a first century of the series. But Mike Hussey was yet again, at his best, scoring a fantastic 116. Chris Tremlett managed to take a first ever test five-for, as the Aussies were out for 309, setting England 391 to win.
England buckled on day three, disappointing crumbling in what was a massive run chase. The wicket of Paul Collingwood with the final ball of the day, left the away side 81-6, staring down the barrel of defeat. It took Australia just 50 minutes to wrap up victory on day four, England collapsing to 123 all out.
The series is now level at 1-1, with two tests to play. The next test starts on Boxing Day, in Melbourne. England will have to look at their side, with changes not being ruled out by skipper Andrew Strauss. Collingwood has scored just 62 runs in four innings this series, and could lose his place to either Eoin Morgan, or an extra bowler. Steven Finn may also lose his place.
But I don't think there should be such a knee jerk reaction. England started well on day one, but Mitchell Johnson has to be given credit for his bowling display, as does Ryan Harris. They took nine wickets each in the test match. I still feel England are the stronger side, and expect them to at least draw the series. From a neutral perspective, the series is now fantastically poised, going into the fourth test.
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