Strauss steers dominant England
by CricketArchive Staff Reporter

Scorecard:England v Australia
Player:RT Ponting, MJ Clarke, G Onions, JM Anderson, AJ Strauss
Event:Australia in British Isles 2009

DateLine: 31st July 2009


After a pretty disappointed first day, the English were looking forward to something special from their bowlers when the match started in time on the second day at Edgbaston. Their bowlers hardly disappointed as both James Anderson and Graham Onions exposed the weakness of Australian batting in front of quality seam bowling. First Onions and then Anderson made sure Australia have no respite as they folded the tourists for a paltry 263, considering the Aussies were sitting pretty at 126 for one at the end of the first day.


Then led by Andrew Strauss, the English ended Day Two at a stronge position of 116 for the loss of two wickets. At stumps Andrew Strauss was batting on a brilliant 64 and giving him company was comeback man Ian Bell on 26.


Earlier in the day, the game started to change dramatically from the first over itself as Graham Onions struck twice sending back last night half-centurian Shane Watson and Mike Hussey off consecutive deliveries.


Australian fans also had their solitary celebration moment of the morning a little later when Ricky Ponting usurped Allan Border as Australia's leading Test run-scorer, but the morning well and truly wanted to belong to English bowlers Graham Onions and James Anderson. Ponting fell to Onions trying to pull one as the ball just got a little higher than he anticipated it would.


Then Anderson took over and his spell of 4 for 11 from 7.5 overs ripped open the Aussie middle and lower order. The right-armer also found himself on a hat-trick with the wickets of Marcus North and Mitchell Johnson off consecutive deliveries on the stroke of lunch.


During all this while the only man who was looking like saving Australia from another batting collapse was Michael Clarke. Not only was he batting confidently, he was also blessed with decisions going his way. The vice-captain got a reprieve when he was ruled not out to an exceptionally close Onions lbw shout on 18, and he was dropped off the same bowler by Andrew Flintoff at second slip shortly after. But luck does not always stays with one, it changes Clarke's also did and he was out when Rudi Koertzen adjudged him leg-before to an Anderson delivery that appeared to be slipping down the leg-side.


This commenced a superb sequence of swing bowling for Anderson. He had been looking for aerial movement and the same had eluded him at Cardiff and Lord's. This time though he seemed to have found it and aided by his favourite weapon Anderson crashed through the wickets of North and Johnson in consecutive deliveries, and rounded out the session by bowling Graham Manou.


Post lunch, the tail which has made its habit to wag in the Ashes wagged again. First Peter Siddle and Nathan Hauritz added 26 runs before a fantastic delivery, swinging in, and then straightening got Siddle to edge one behind to hand Anderson his much needed fifer. Then after adding 34 runs with Hauritz, Ben Hilfenhaus (20) fell victim to Graham Onions when another of the attempted drives landed safely in the hands of the gully fielder.


Then Australia, as expected and predicted, opened the bowling with Hilfenhaus and Siddle. This prompted a large section of the crowd of one of the stands erupt with shouts of "Super Mitchell Johnson". The irony of these shouts need not be explained. The move though paid quick dividend as Siddle broke through in his first over. Manou took his first Test catch as Cook drove a fuller ball outside off, straight into Manou's gloves.


When Johnson was finally brought to bowl in the 14th over, he was again greeted by a rousing reception. His wayward bowling did not help either, as each one of those were mocked at. The youngster it must be said was facing two expressions from two kinds of people, one mocking, the other expectant. This surely weighed heavy on him as his first three overs went for 13 and this included a boundary to both Ravi Bopara and Andrew Strauss.


Then Bopara also fell (23) after a good 58 run stand with skipper Strauss as his technical weakness was exposed by Hilfenhaus. He went to the backfoot and his bat came down diagonally only to get a thick inside edge onto his stumps.


Bopara's downfall brought Ian Bell on the crease who was making his way back in the side. What he was looking forward to was a few bad deliveries to get his eye in and Siddle and company gave him ample to settle down. He was thrown in full tosses and even before the Aussies could have started troubling him, the right-hander was batting on 15 aided by a boundary and a huge six off the bowling of Nathan Hauritz.


Strauss on the other end continued his brilliant run. There was nothing which even came closer to getting him out. His straight drives and cover drives were delight for the eyes. His raised his fifty of a cover driven boundary off Hilfenhaus and then followed it up with another glorious straight drive.


Then there was this moment which could have changed Johnson's luck. Not bothered by the crowd's negative reception the left-armer produced a brilliant indipper which Bell missed, and it looked plumb in front. Rudi Koertzen though had other ideas. Bell survived, and Johnson in dejection threw a wide one which Bell gleefully drove for a boundary. Koertzen continued to have a horror series as Johnson would have rued his luck one more time. He would have surely thought what better could he have done under so much pressure.


A little later the umpires offered light to the batsman and as it happens in most cases, the batsmen on the crease accepted it and walked off.


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