Archive for December, 2014

Third Ashes Test Perth

Days 1 to 3

The third Ashes Test in Perth is an all action affair. The first three days have seen 35 wickets fall and 845 runs scored, most of them by the Australians.

As with the second Ashes Test in Adelaide, day one seemed to go very much England‘s way. Australia‘s first four wickets fell for only 36 runs, with Clarke scoring only 4 and Ponting barely breaking into double figures. But once again Mike Hussey stepped up to steady the ship. His score of 61 was only bettered by his West Australian team mate Mitchell Johnson, coming back after being dropped for the Adelaide test.  Haddin chipped in with a rapid 53 and Siddle made 35 to give the Australian total of 268 an air of respectability. Strauss and Cook finished the final session scoring 29 runs with out loss.

Day two belonged to the comeback kid, Mitchell Johnson. After his 62 with the bat, Alastair Cookwas his first victim, caught on 32 by Australian man of the series so far, Mike HusseyTrott and Pietersen were both quickly dismissed, trapped LBW by JohnsonPietersen went for a duck, after previously telling Johnson he wanted to be his best mate and could he get his phone number. Ryan Harris picked up the vital wickets of Strauss and Bell, who both made half centuries. But Johnsonfinished with 6 wickets for only 38 runs. England were all out for 187, eighty one runs behind the Australian first innings score.

Australia batted for the entire late afternoon session. Once again the top order proved fragile. Hughes was caught by Collingwood off an edge from Finn for 12. Ponting went the same way, but he was caught by Prior for only one. Clarke managed 20 before cutting a ball onto his stumps from Tremlett. The exception was Shane Watson, who managed 50 off of 100 balls, ably supported, of course, by none other than Mike Hussey, who also finished the day not out on 24. Australia ended the day on 119 for 3.

Watson and Hussey resumed on the third day, adding 58 runs to their overnight  score, before Watson was dismissed, again in the nervous nineties, for 95. Hussey once again carried the innings, scoring his twelfth test century. He was the last man out on 116. Smith hung around to add 36 but no one else made double figures. Australia were all out for 309 giving England a target 391. Much was said about the South Africans making 414 in the fourth innings at the WACA a few years ago. Hussey and Watson had proved that it was a wicket that runs could be scored on and with more than 2 days remaining England were in with a chance. But the smart money would be on Australia to level the series.

Strauss and Cook put on only 23  before Cook was trapped LBW by Harris for 13. Strauss was soon caught by Ponting off a Johnson ball for only 15. Pietersen scored only 3 but Trott put on 31 before being caught by Haddin off of a ball parried by PontingPonting damaged his hand in the attempted catch and left the field. England sent in Anderson as the night watchmen, but this was unsuccessful, as it was  Collingwood who was dismissed off the last ball of the day, caught by Smithfrom a Harris delivery. This left England with 310 runs to get for victory with only 5 wickets remaining.

Australia should mop up the innings on the fourth day, to leave things all square going into Melbourne on Boxing Day.

Second Ashes Test Round Up

England win in Adelaide

Things wound up in Adelaide with an emphatic win to England in the second Ashes Test. A magnificent innings from Kevin Pietersen saw him score a huge double century and he was ably backed by Alastair Cook who got a big century for the second test in succession. Trott and Bell both broke the 50 mark and Australia never looked like dismissing EnglandAndrew Strauss went cheaply on day 2 to an edge from Doug “the rug” Bollinger. But he was the only Englishman who did. Every other batsmen spent long periods at the crease, but scored quickly. England amassed the huge total of 620 for 5 declared, 375 runs ahead of the Australians first innings score.

The best Australia could hope for was to hold out for a draw, with the help of the wet weather in AdelaideSimon Katich bravely opened the innings, despite a painful Achilles injury that will keep him out of the rest of the series. He managed 43 before being dismissed by SwannRicky Pontingfailed again, caught by Collingwood off of a turner from Swann, for only 9 runs. Clarke overcame a difficult start to make 80 and hopefully has batted himself back into some sort of form. He was caught by Cook off a ball from Kevin Pietersen, of all people, who finished with bowling figures of 3 overs 1 for 10 to add to his 227 runs with the bat. Watson and Hussey both made half centuries, but no one else seriously troubled the scorer. Australia totaled 304 all out in the second innings to give Englandthe win by an innings and 71 runs.

The Perth test starts on the 16th December, so the players have over a weeks rest. There will be enforced changes with Katich out for Australia and Broad has returned home to England for treatment on an abdominal injury. But what else will Australia do? I suspect Phil Hughes will come in for Katich and that could go either way. In his limited test career of 7 matches he has scored two centuries and two 50′s, but he struggled against England in the last Ashes series and was dropped. I don’t expect any other changes to the batting. North will probably be retained on his home ground. So Australia really need him and the skipper to step up from their current slumps and for Clarke to continue his recovery.

But it is the bowling that is the major problem. Although the speedsters looked dangerous at times in Adelaide, five wickets in two days is never going to win a test match. I don’t know if there will be any changes to the bowling, but confidence is very low, as can be seen by good fielders dropping their chances and they are not coming along too often. I doubt that there will be any rain in Perth, so a result is almost assured, probably the same one, unless some dramatic changes take place. See you at the WACA ground Thursday next week.

Adelaide – Second Ashes Test

Day 1 – 3rd December 2010

The first day of the Second Ashes Test was another tough day at the office for the Australianbatsmen. Amazingly three wickets were down within 15 minutes, on what should have been a batsmen’s wicket. Katich was run out without facing a single ball. Both Katich and Watson seemed indecisive over a dangerous run and Trott struck with a direct hit. Ricky Ponting was then dismissed off of the first ball he faced, caught by Swann off the bowling of AndersonClarke was dismissed for two by the same pairing.

Mike HusseyAustralia‘s saviour from the First Test, came to the crease. He and Watson managed to take the score to 93 at lunch, without further loss. But Watson was dismissed almost straight after lunch for the addition of only 3 runs, caught by Pietersen, once again off of Anderson‘s bowling. Hussey was joined by his Western Australian team mate Marcus North and the two of them batted well together adding 60 runs. North seemed to be seeing the ball well, but still edged a ball to Priorfor Finn‘s first wicket of the match. Haddin, the last of Australia’s recognised batsmen, came to the crease and together with Hussey, added another 50 runs, before Hussey was caught by  Collingwoodoff of the spinner Swann, seven runs short of his 13th Test century.

As expected the Australian tail did not wag. Haddin hung around to be the last man dismissed for 56. But Harris, Doherty, Siddle and Bolinger managed only 9 runs between them. Australia were all out for 245. Anderson was the pick of the English bowlers, picking up 4 for 51 off of 19 overs. Swann claimed two wickets and Broad and Finn one a piece.

England had to face one over before the close of play, which they negotiated without a problem, for the addition of a single leg bye.

On this performance there will be more calls for changes in the Australian line up. It should be Ponting and Clarke that are looked at, but you can bet your life it will be Marcus North the press call for to be dropped.

Things are not looking great for Australia. This attack does not look strong to me and unless the batsmen can seriously turn things around in the second innings, this could be their first loss of the series.

First Ashes Test Day Four

England took command of the first session of day four, managing to get through the session without loss and raising the overall run rate to just under three an over, after yesterdays very slow start. Australia only had one genuine chance of a wicket, when Strauss was dropped by the normallay safe hands of Mitchell Johnson. Both Strauss and Cook made half centuries, finishing the morning on 79 and 51 at 135 for none.

After lunch things continued England‘s way with centuries for both Strauss and CookStraussmanaged 10 more runs before being stumped by Haddin off the bowling of  Marcus North. But that was the only wicket of the day, with Cook remaining unbeaten on 132. He was joined by Trott on the dismissal of Strauss and he was still there on 54 when play closed early due to bad light, with England on 309 for 1 for a lead of 88.

With only one day remaining a draw now looks the most likely result. Which could be bad news for Australia as this is how the last Ashes series started in Cardiff last year. Australia dominated that match only to be held to a draw.

First Ashes Test Brisbane 2010

The first two days of the first Ashes test of 2010 saw honours fairly even, with a slight edge to Australia. On the first day good innings from CookPietersen and Bell were quickly overshadowed by Peter Siddle on his 26th birthday. Siddle finished with figures of 6 for 54 off of 16 overs, which was of course crowned by his hat trick of Cook, Prior and BroadSiddle‘s bowling can not be praised highly enough, with the debutant Xavier Doherty the only other bowler picking up more than one wicket. Doherty bowled well in his first test match, deservedly picking up the wickets of England‘s highest scorer Ian Bell and number 10 Jimmy AndersonAustralia safely saw off the day’s final overs finishng with 25 for no wickets.

Day two saw Watson and Katich both make good starts scoring 36 and 50 respectively, but Pontingand Clarke went cheaply, scoring only 10 and 9. But cometh the hour cometh the man. Mike Husseymarched to the crease under a huge cloud created by eastern states commentators and critics calling for him to be dropped. He came in with Australia starting to flounder on 3 for 100, then Clarke and North went quite quickly, to leave them on 5 for 143, still 117 behind England‘s first innings score. Hussey and Haddin saw off the rest of the days bowling, finishing the day on 81 and 22 not out with the score on 220 for 5.

Day three saw the partnership consolidate and get through a tough period of bowling from England. They then started to make hay, with both players scoring centuries and Australia taking a grip on the contest. They batted well into the third session of the day, with Haddin eventualy being dismissed for 136 after bringing up his century with a 6 straight down the field. Hussey fell agonisingly short of a double century, but with his highest test score of 195. He batted for eight and a quarter hours, scoring 26 fours and a six, so hopefully that will silence his critics for the rest of the series. The debutant Doherty scored a useful 16 being the last man dismissed by Finn, the pick of the England bowlers who finished with 6 for 125 off 33.4 overs. Australia were all out for 481 leading England by 221.

Strauss was almost dismissed off the first ball of England‘s second innings, leaving a rising ball from HilfenhausAleem Dar gave him not out. Australia appealed the decision and he was proved correct with the ball going over the wicket. England finished the day without loss, but did not score many runs, in what now appears to be a battle to save the match, ending with 19 for none.

Australia Lose first ODI of the season

Sri Lanka 243-9 (44.2 ovs) beat Australia 239-8 (50 ovs) by one wicket

Australia managed to snatch a defeat from the jaws of a victory in the first one day international of this cricket season, at the MCGAustralia made 239-8 batting first. There were some disappointments but Haddin made 49 and Mike Hussey restored some respect to the score, making 71 not out. Hussey took to the field at 85 for 2 in the 17th over and batted through to the close. But he never had any partner that accompanied him for very long. He said at the close of the innings that he thought it was a below par score.

The Sri Lanka innings started well for Australia with Tharanga and Dilshan being dismissed in single figures. Sangakakkara and Jayawardene put on 54 for the third wicket before a collapse that left Sri Lanka reeling on 107 for 8. Spinner Xavier Doherty took 4 wickets on his debut, but then the wheels fell off. Angelo Mathews and Malinga created a new 9th wicket record for Sri Lankascoring 132 runs. Malinga was only dismissed when the scores were even.

Much is being said about Australia forgetting how to win and things are looking grim for the upcoming Ashes series. We know that the days of the Invincibles are over, where someone would always stand up when the chips were down. Australia no longer has those exceptionally talented players throughout the team. But they are still a solid side and hopefully will show their pride when they face the old enemy. But it is going to be a tough uphill battle on current form.

The answer to Australia’s problems is not to drop Mike Hussey as has been suggested in some quarters. This is mainly due to him being from WA. If he was from the Eastern States nothing much would be said of his recent form. But as he is West Australian his position in the team is always under threat, according to the Eastern States press. Fortunately I believe that he has more support with the selectors and certainly from the Captain. Hussey is always likely to pull out a match saving innings like he did today. Well it would have saved the match, if the bowlers could have managed the last two wickets for anything less than 133 runs, sounds more than achievable to me.

Ricky Ponting missed the match due to a family bereavement, but will be available for the Sydneygame on Friday. He has not played a ODI since the series against England finished in July. Let’s hope he can bring a change of fortunes, one is urgently required.

Commonwealth Games Wind Up

Australia tops the Medal table

So the Commonwealth Games is all over for another 4 years. Australia led the event across the board, ending up clear leaders of the medal table by a country mile. In the final days Australia won both the Men’s and Women’s Hockey Finals, but New Zealand took some comfort in beating Australia in the finals of the Rugby 7s and Netball.

One of the lesser lights of Commonwealth sport, Singapore, almost made a clean sweep of Table Tennis, picking up 6 of the 7 Golds available. Losing only the Men’s doubles final to India.

Kenya did the double in the Marathon, picking up gold in both the Men’s and Women’s events. Confirming their domination of distance running, picking up the vast majority of medals from 800 metres to the Marathon. How long will it be before we see Kenya winning the sprint events too?

India succeeded in pipping England at the post for second place in the medals table. They picked up their 38th Gold medal of the games in Badminton, where England lost 3 finals to pick up silver. England only needed to pick up one more Gold to beat India into second place, because of their superior number of Silver medals.

On Wednesday night at the Boxing finals Indian fans were cheering any fighter that was up against an Englishman, hoping to secure that second place.

It would be a very good week to be an Indian sports fan I would imagine, having beaten Australia in the second test at Bangalore on Wednesday to secure the series 2-0. Sachin Tendulkar picking up a double century in the first and 53 not out in the second innings. He of course hit the winning runs too. Australia are really going to have to put some work in before the Ashes series if they do not want to be humbled on home soil. The first Ashes test begins on 24th November

By Max Power

India v Australia Second Test, Bangalore, day two

Australia 478 v India 128-2

The second day of the second test was most notable for Marcus North scoring his 5th test century and hopefully relieving some of the pressure on him to retain his position. North finished on 128hitting 17 fours and a six. Ricky Ponting (77) and Tim Payne (59) had also chipped in with half centuries in Australia‘s total of 478. The best of the Indian bowlers was spinner Harbhajan Singh, who took North’s wicket and finished with figures of 4-148.

Marcus North hits his highest test score and 5th test century

Sachin Tendulkar also achieved a landmark in being the first player to score 14,000 test runs. He needed only 27 runs to reach the target and finished the day on 44 not out, having hit 6 fours. Tendulkar came in after Sehawag was caught by Mitchell Johnson after scoring a rapid 30 off of 28 balls and Dravid was dismissed for a solitary run. Being caught at third slip by Marcus North off an edge from Mitchell JohnsonTendulkar and Vijay then batted until the close of play, scoring an unbeaten 90 in India‘s total of 128 for 2.

Sachin Tendulkar passed the milestone of 14,000 test runs in his unbeaten partnership with Vijay

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