By Abhijit Banare
Dec 13, 2013
England are trailing by 205 runs as they finished Day Two on 180 for four in the third Ashes 2013-14 Test at Perth. Much of England’s hardwork early on was undone after their key batsmen Alastair Cook (72) and Kevin Pietersen (19) were dismissed for poor shots.
Before tea, England were jolted by the wickets of Michael Carberry and Joe Root few overs before tea. Root’s dismissal became a matter of conversation after he was given out despite Decision Review System (DRS) giving no conclusive evidence of the edge. Post tea, Cook and Pietersen put their head down and waited patiently to score. Pietersen in fact had to wait for 15 balls before he got off the mark. It was an uncharacteristic innings from the explosive player. He was further tied down by Mitchell Johnson with a few bouncers. But the visitors weren’t concerned as long as their two most experienced batsmen were at the crease. As the game slowed down, the Australian fans got behind Johnson to shake up the concentration of the batsmen.
However, Nathan Lyon finally managed to break through the resistance with the wicket of Cook. The England skipper went for a casual cut shot and hit it straight to David Warner at point. The wicket seemed to have pumped up everyone around and the aggression of the Aussie bowlers warmed up the atmosphere. Pietersen who was struggling to score got a thick edge which flew past gully for a boundary. The four got Pietersen past the 8,000-run mark. He is the fifth England batsman to achieve the feat. The right-hander then threw his wicket away to a needless mistimed pull shot off Peter Siddle which was flying above Johnson who held on to it brilliantly. Pietersen scored a 59-ball 19.
His wicket further fueled the pacers as it brought two new batsmen Ian Bell and Ben Stokes to the crease. England certainly wasted an advantage after the openers put on a solid 85-run stand. Bell and Stokes adopted a defensive approach and toned down the aggression of the pacers. At the same time even the their own total progressed at a snail’s pace. Johnson failed to get any wickets but he made his presence felt with some disciplined bowling and the brilliant catch of Johnson. Despite the soaring temperatures, Johnson bowled at a scorching pace of around 145 kmph.
Though England held some advantage during the first two sessions, they failed to push the pressure back on to the Australians. The visitors started the day positively sending back overnight batsmen Johnson (39) and Smith (111). The last-wicket pair of Lyon and Siddle struck some runs to extend the innings till 385 which is well above the average first innings score at Perth.
England will be under enormous pressure to come close . But they will have to blame themselves as three of the four wickets they lost was due to carelessness from the batsmen.
Australia 385 (David Warner 60, Steve Smith 111, Brad Haddin 55; Stuart Broad 3 for 100, James Anderson 2 for 60) lead England 180 for 4 (Alastair Cook 72, Michael Carberry 43; Ryan Harris 1 for 26) by 205 runs.
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)
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