|Scorecard:||England v Australia|
|Event:||Australia in British Isles 2013|
DateLine: 21st July 2013
By Andy Jalil at Lord's.
In association with INVESTEC.
London – It is not beyond the bounds of fantasy to suggest that in all probability the outcome of the Ashes series has been decided as early as the second Test which saw Australia go down by an overwhelming margin of 347 runs in four days. To have been set a target as massive as 583 would be daunting to any side but for this Australia team which is regarded as one of the weakest to tour England, it would have virtually put an end to their chances of achieving it.
Their response to the set task began about half-an-hour into the morning’s play and within the next hour they meekly surrendered their first three wickets for just 36. After James Anderson had pinned Shane Watson plumb in front of the stumps for 20, Graeme Swann was brought on for the tenth over and he struck with his fifth ball. Chris Rogers did not play the ball expecting the spin to miss the stumps but it was an arm ball which went on to bowl him.
Phil Hughes too was deceived by a ball that did not spin much and was rapped on the pads. His review was unsuccessful and Swann had taken 2 for 2 in 17 balls. That was followed by the only fighting stand that Australia could muster. Usman Khawaja and Michael Clarke battled hard and it seemed briefly that if the batsmen to follow could also show similar defiance the match could well go into the fifth day.
But the fourth wicket partnership was ended just two short of a hundred when Clarke’s leg glance was held at leg slip for 51, his 27th Test half century. A run later occasional spinner Joe Root struck again with the wicket of Khawaja who edged his forward prod to second slip for 54 having battled for nearly three hours. It was his second Test fifty.
With Clarke’s wicket which fell on 134, Australia went on to lose six for 58 until the last pair, James Pattinson and Ryan Harris forced the extra half hour in a fighting stand. But with three balls remaining for the end of the day’s play Pattinson was trapped lbw for 35 by Swann after hanging on for two hours of sheer defiance, facing 91 balls.
An equally determined knock of 16 not out came from Ryan Harris who held on for over an hour. Swann finished with four for 78 for a match haul of nine for 122 and Root was the man of the match for his marvelous batting.
Earlier, it was of little surprise that there was no overnight declaration from England despite a massive overall lead of 566 as there were still two days of the second Test remaining and 22-year-old Root at the crease with a monumental second Test century with every chance of converting it into a memorable double. As it turned out, it wasn’t to be and after four overs and one ball on the fourth morning, when England had resumed on 333 for five, the declaration came on 349 for seven at the fall of Root’s wicket for 180.
Having added just two to his overnight score of 178, Root mistimed a scoop shot intended to go towards fine leg but was edged to third man off Ryan Harris. The bowler, in his previous over, had also dismissed Jonny Bairstow who, having added 9 to his overnight score, top edged an intended square hit behind the stumps.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2013 Andy Jalil)