By Shrikant Shankar
Dec 27, 2013
A spirited comeback from England caused Australia to lose nine wickets in their first innings of the fourth Ashes 2013-14 Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on December 27, 2013. At stumps on Day Two Australia are at 164 for nine, trailing England by 91 runs.
Brad Haddin is batting on 43. James Anderson and Stuart Broad have taken three wickets-each. England were bowled out for 255 in their first innings early on Day Two. Mitchell Johnson took five wickets. Kevin Pietersen top-scored with 71 for England.
Australia began the post-tea session at 96 for three. Anderson bowled the first ball after tea wide and full to Chris Rogers, who flayed it away towards the covers for a four. Broad bowled a full delivery outside off-stump and Rogers dabbed it away for two runs towards covers.
The England bowlers then began bowling way wide of off-stump to Steven Smith and limited his scoring opportunities. He is a better batsman on the leg-side and they wanted him to force a shot on the off-side. The one time Broad bowled in line with the stumps, Smith pulled it away for a four towards deep backward square-leg.
Broad then bowled an in-swinging delivery and Smith left it. The ball hit him on the pads and the England players appealed for a LBW. The umpire said not out and England decided not to review it. Replays showed that the ball would have gone over the stumps and wasn’t in line as well.
The England bowlers tested the patience of the Australian batsmen by bowling outside the line of off-stump. England’s tactics forced Rogers to go across to the off side and flick one towards mid-wicket for a single.
Smith then played one towards deep backward square-leg and went for a single. He collided with Bresnan, who was in his follow-through, and knocked the burly bowler over. England’s patience was finally rewarded as Smith (19) edged a cut shot to a length delivery from Broad straight to Ian Bell at second slip.
Bresnan struck soon as he bowled a fuller delivery outside off-stump and Rogers, rather uncharacteristically tried to hit the leather out of it. He completely mishit it and Kevin Pietersen took a good catch running to his right at mid-off.
Haddin was the next batsman in and he got off the mark straight away with two runs down the ground. Haddin then could not keep his cover drive on the ground off a Ben Stokes’s delivery as the ball took a thick edge off the bat and flew to the left of Michael Carberry at point. The ball raced away for a four.
After that Haddin really came into his stride and smashed almost everything. Stokes bowled a bouncer and Haddin swatted that away for a four towards wide long-on.
In the meantime, Anderson got George Bailey out for a 19-ball duck. He pitched the ball on a back of a length outside off-stump and Bailey played a cut shot without moving his feet and he edged it to Jonny Bairstow behind the wickets.
The umpire actually said not out at first and Alastair Cook immediately asked for the review. The replays showed no major deflection and the Hot Spot also did not show any mark on the bat. But the real-time Snicko showed a faint edge and eventually Bailey was given out.
Stokes bowled a length delivery and Haddin smashed that for a six over long-on. Stokes then bowled a bit straight and Haddin clipped it away for three runs through mid-wicket. Johnson got off the mark with two runs towards long-leg as Stokes bowled a back of a length delivery.
Anderson bowled one wide on the off side and Haddin cut it away for a four behind point. Anderson bowled a full delivery and Haddin hit it over mid-off for another four. Next ball, Anderson strayed onto the hips and Haddin flicked it away for a four towards fine-leg.
England got a chance to dismiss Johnson as he hit a full delivery from Bresnan to Anderson at short cover. But Anderson dropped it. Cook kept a highly spread-out field for Haddin. He then missed a straight one from Monty Panesar and the England players appealed.
The umpire immediately raised his finger, but Haddin asked for the review. Hawk Eye showed that the ball would have just missed the leg-stump and the decision was overturned.
Johnson then pulled a short delivery from Bresnan to Anderson at mid-wicket and this time he took the catch. Ryan Harris was the new batsman in and he gets off the mark with a cut shot off Panesar that took the edge of the bat and went wide of first slip and for a four.
Broad then bowled a short delivery at Harris and he only managed to hit it to Joe Root at short-leg, who took a good catch. Peter Siddle was the new batsman in. In the last over of the day, Siddle scooped a length delivery from Broad to Bresnan at short cover.
The umpires called for stumps on Day Two. Australia trailed England by 91 runs.
England 255 (Alastair Cook 27, Michael Carberry 38, Kevin Pietersen 71; Mitchell Johnson 5 for 63, Ryan Harris 2 for 47) lead Australia 164 for 9 (Chris Rogers 61, Brad Haddin 43*; Stuart Broad 3 for 30, James Anderson 3 for 50) by 91 runs.
(Shrikant Shankar is a writer/reporter at CricketCountry.com. Previously he has done audio commentary for various matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20 for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)
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