Bad light halts England's charge
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter
DateLine: 17th July 2009
It was England all the way in the second Ashes Test at Lords as Australia’s proud record of not losing a match at the hallowed venue stands threatened. England with the help of Anderson crossed the 400 run mark which at one stage looked improbable and then struck with the ball at the crucial intervals to reduce Australia to 158 for 8 when bad light stopped the play for the day.
Earlier in the day, England got off to a horror start losing centurion skipper Andrew Strauss without adding anything on the board as he left one from Hilfenhaus, which bent back enough to clip the unguarded off stump. Australia then added two more wickets pretty quickly. But James Anderson did not let his side down as he alongside a resolute Graham Onions made sure England pass the 400 hurdle with ease. Anderson scored 29 off 25 balls with five hits to the fence while Onions scored 17 off 29 with two boundaries.
Anderson then added to his CV for the match a couple of wickets that of Philip Hughes and Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting before lunch to push the tourists firmly on the back foot. While Philip Hughes was guilty of exuberance, Ponting looked to have been done in by a debatable decision by Rudi Koertzen. Ponting was not happy with the decision having been ruled out to a James Anderson delivery he missed by a considerable margin. He played across a slanting Anderson delivery, and the ball took his pad before lobbing to Andrew Strauss at first slip. Koertzen, officiating in his 100th Test, asked the third umpire, Nigel Llong, whether or not the ball had carried to Strauss, and subsequently ruled him out for two.
Simon Katich and Michael Hussey safely then negotiated the final five overs to lunch. Both teams were presented before Her Majesty the Queen during the lunch break. Post lunch the game was interrupted twice by rains. The players returned after the first interruption of 30 minutes only for three and a half overs as the pitch and the atmosphere had both started to look ominous for the tourist batting. Hussey and Katich though survived the brief spell of play. The pair added 93 for the third wicket as the England bowlers lost plot. The bowlers were guilty of either pitching it too short and wide of the off stump and this allowed the pair to settle down. Hussey took his time as he was not in the best of nicks and once he found his feet he began to essay some wonderful shots as he lit up Lords.
The vintage Hussey was there to be seen as he began to drive, cut and pull confidently. Katich was initially happy to let the deliveries fly harmlessly past the off stump, but once he gauged the pace and bounce of the pitch, the shuffling reappeared as he moved towards the ball to punch it through covers to collect his runs. When the bowlers bowled to his pads he was happy to accept the offerings as he flicked and drove the bowlers to distraction. The pair took the control of the innings as tea approached. When the teams returned after the tea break, both the batsmen began to look out for singles to signal their intent that they were looking to step up the run rate. The pair put on 93 for the third wick at a fair clip and it was looking ominous for the English team.
Just when the English shoulders were dropping, Onions who had so far looked insipid bowled a bouncer which Katich pulled to fine leg. Broad who was stationed there ran about 10 to 12 yards and sensing the ball dipping on his gave the dive to pluck the ball just inches off the ground to provide some inspiration to his team mates. Hussey meanwhile did not let this distract his as he crossed his half century. It was a gutsy and authoritative half century and just when he was looking for more a momentary lapse in concentration cost him his wicket. Flintoff who was used in short bursts by Strauss was getting into a very good rhythm bowled a ball at 95 mph, which Hussey thought would sail past his off stump, but to his horror, held its line and kissed the top of off stump to send him back to the pavilion. In the very next over Clarke whipped an innocuous delivery from Anderson into the waiting hands of Cook at midwicket to make it 111 for 5. Haddin tried to counterattack but to no avail. North was cleaned up by a charged Anderson and Broad joined in the fun by removing Johnson and Haddin via well directed short pitched deliveries.