December 18, 2013
Third Test, Perth
Australia 385 & 369-6 dec Beat England 251 & 352 by 150 runs.
Once again Australia played the better cricket in Perth to storm into a 3-0 lead and returned the ashes down under.
Michael Clarke kept his side the same while Alastair Cook made one change to his team with Tim Bresnan coming in for Monty Panesar. This game signified both captains 100th appearances in test cricket. Both being tremendous role models for their countries, It was a special landmark that funny enough landed on the same day. I’m sure Clarke would have enjoyed it slightly more though.
After Michael Clarke won the toss he decided very quickly to bat in very hot conditions in Perth. The wicket was a typical WACA wicket with plenty of pace and bounce and the outfield lightning fast. Good toss to win it would seem.
England had a lot to prove after the first two test matches and they started brightly picking up the quick wickets of Chris Rogers with some fantastic fielding from James Anderson and the same man getting Shane Watson caught by Graeme Swann at second slip. Michael Clarke fell cheaply off Graeme Swann 1st over but David Warner continued his fine form on his way to 60. The momentum swung back to England as the Aussies were reduced to 143-5. That was as far as it went. Steve Smith (111) and Brad Haddin (55) fought back strongly with a 124 run partnership. After few important partnerships by the tail Australia reached 385.
England’s innings started well with Cook (70) getting his highest score of the series so far and Michael Carberry (43) bowled by Ryan Harris with a lucky drag on. The England batters struggled once again on what seemed a flat wicket. Kevin Pietersen played Mitchell Johnson with ease and no sooner did his spell finish his old adversary Peter Siddle came on and claimed KP for the 10th time in ashes cricket. Mitchell Johnson trapped Stuart Broad on the foot with a 90mph Yorker which caused some distress for the English bowler who was rushed off to hospital for an X-ray. England scratched around to be eventually bowled out for 251 with Siddle (3-36) and Harris (3-48) being the pick of the bowlers.
With a lead of 134 Australia came out for the 2nd inning on Day 3 and really took the game to England. David Warner in typical fashion was on the attack and without the uses of Broad England really had no answer to the bombardment they received. Warner & Rogers were both let off early on with a miss stumping and catch. With Rogers (54) gone the lack of urgency never left the Australian batters as Warner (112) & Watson (103) both reached magnificent centuries. George Bailey joined in smashed one over for 28 which was the joint highest in Test cricket. Australia eventually reached 369-dec were well and truly in the box seat to take the ashes and England were on the ropes.The pitch by Day 4 was full of gigantic cracks, as in Sky sports were losing broadcasters limbs in them. All of this would be in the back of the minds of the English batters.
They needed a mammoth 503 for victory with 5 sessions left in the match. Ryan Harris first ball of the England inning resulted in the lost of Captain Cook. It looked like it would be wrapped up very quickly. Shane Watson trapped Carberry in front for 31. Johnson was licking his lips to get in on the act and when thrown the ball he got rid of Joe Root pretty sharpish. Kevin Pietersen chipped in with another 45 before searching for his half century with a six and was caught on the boundary of the bowling of Nathan Lyon (3-70). That brought to the wicket Ben Stokes who together with Ian Bell quickly settled in for the evening session on Day 4. Just when they looked good Ian Bell was caught behind off Peter Siddle after having being given not out by the umpire but the decision was reviewed by Australia. He was judged to have edge the ball behind on snicko to depart for 60.
On day 5 England were left chasing 254 to win with five wickets in hand. Could Stokes and Prior restore some pride? Ben Stokes 120 certainly did he reached his maiden test century in just his second test match. England reached lunch with just the loss of Prior to that man Johnson (4-78) again. England soon lost Stokes straight after lunch and that lead to a collapse that saw the ashes wrapped up for Australia. ‘THE URN RETURNS’ flashed all over the big screens at the WACA.
Also they will have to be careful not to lose 5-0. Surely it’s time to experiment for England in the following two tests?
The Scoop 17/12/13