By Shrikant Shankar
Dec 8, 2013
Australia struck twice in the afternoon session on Day Four of the second Ashes 2013-14 Test at the Adelaide Oval to step closer to another win in the series. England entered tea at 143 for four losing the wickets of Kevin Pietersen (53) and Ian Bell (6) in the process. They still need 388 runs, but more importantly Australia only need six wickets to win.
Joe Root is batting on 66 and Ben Stokes is on zero.
The session began with England at 65 for two. Root and Pietersen got to their 50-run partnership quickly after the break. The milestone came in 114 balls. It was slow going, but it was what England needed at the time. They had to get their batsmen to spend more time in the middle, especially if they wanted to achieve anything in the series.
Pietersen came down the track and hit a full delivery from Lyon for a four towards long-off. Root displayed his strokeplay as played a square drive off Lyon for two runs. Mitchell Johnson decided to come in from round the wicket to Root, but he seemed undeterred.
Lyon started bowling some loose deliveries and Root got two fours off him. The first pierced the off side field through cover. The second was a pull through mid-wicket. Smith was brought into the attack and bowled a juicy full-toss and Pietersen smacked that over long-on for a six.
Root clipped a length delivery from Johnson towards deep mid-wicket for two runs to get to his half-century. Johnson bowled a lot of short deliveries at Root and followed it up by a one-way verbal jousting contest. Watson, all the way from the slip cordon, also had a few words. But Root’s response was to just smile back.
Pietersen was in the mood and whacked a long hop from Steven Smith over wide long-on for a big six. A few deliveries later, he hit another six and this was over long-off. With that Pietersen brought up his half-century as well.
After Smith came in for a pounding from Pietersen, Clarke replaced him with Watson. That brought about a change as Watson and Peter Siddle bowled three overs consecutively. The pressure of not scoring led to Pietersen inside-edging a length delivery from Siddle onto the bail.
The partnership between Root and Pietersen was worth 111 runs for the third wicket. Bell came in at No 5. After both Bell and Root got a four each, Australia struck again. Bell hit a low full-toss from Smith to Johnson at wide mid-on. He dived to his right to take a good catch. Stokes was the new man in. Tea was soon called and Australia came closer to another win.
Australia 570 for 9 decl. (Chris Rogers 72, Michael Clarke 148, Brad Haddin 118; Stuart Broad 3 for 98) and 132 for 3 decl. (David Warner 83*; James Anderson 2 for 19) lead England 172 (Michael Carberry 60, Ian Bell 72*; Mitchell Johnson 7 for 40) and 143 for 4 (Joe Root 66*, Kevin Pietersen 53; Peter Siddle 2 for 20) by 388 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)
Also on cricketcountry.com