|Scorecard:||Australia v England|
|Event:||England in Australia 2013/14|
DateLine: 4th January 2014
By Andy Jalil at The SCG
In association with ETIHAD AIRWAYS
Sydney Ė Chris Rogers, with an excellent unbeaten innings of 73 took Australia to an overall lead of 311, which is likely to be extended enough on the third day, to put the fifth Test beyond England. By the end of the second dayís play Australia were 140 for four and while those four wickets fell in rapid succession, Rogers provided considerable stability, holding the innings together over his two-and-a-half hours at the crease.
With a comfortable first innings lead of 171, Australia lost early wickets the second time around. David Warner, who didnít have a big-scoring game in the previous Test with scores of 9 and 25, this time too went no further than 16 in each innings. He was out lbw in the seventh over and 20 runs later Australia lost the second wicket on 47 with Shane Watson falling for nine.
James Anderson claimed both wickets, the second with the help of Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps who dived in front of first slip to hold a fine one-handed catch. The dismissal would have particularly pleased Anderson as his previous ball, of full length, was disdainfully smacked to mid-wicket for four.
With the return of Stuart Broad for a second spell, England claimed the third wicket. Michael Clarke reached for a slightly wider ball and gave a thin edge behind the stumps and then Australia were reduced to 91 for four with Steve Smith held for just 7 after his wonderful century in the first innings.
Rogers meanwhile kept picking up runs. As the fifty of the innings came up, he drove Rankin to the long-off boundary before a beautiful cover drive for four, off Broad, took him to 49. He turned the next ball for a single to mid-wicket for his fourth half-century of the series. With lovely stroke-play he went on to take three fours in an over which cost Ben Stokes 15 runs and saw Australia to a lead of 300 runs overall at that stage.
Earlier, it had been a dramatic start to the second dayís play with the second ball claiming the England captainís wicket. Resuming on the overnight score of 8 for one, Alastair Cook completely misjudged the ball from Ryan Harris and was trapped plumb in front of the stumps, shouldering arms. To add to the drama, Ian Bell edged the next ball, his first, to first slip where Shane Watson failed to hold on to a straightforward catch.
Just six runs had been added when the nightwatchman Anderson, after enduring a short but torrid time with vicious bouncers from Mitchell Johnson, hung out his bat to edge a catch to second slip, giving the bowler his 33rd wicket of the series. The England batting debacle did not end there. Three runs later Kevin Pietersen, on 3, became Harrisísecond victim as he played from the crease and edged to first slip where this time Watson made no mistake.
The first bowling change brought Australia another wicket. Peter Siddle, in his second over, had Bell held behind the stumps. He, too, had played without any foot movement and England had lost half their batsmen with only 23 on the scoreboard. This had been by far their poorest batting performance in a miserable series with the batsmen offering little resistance in the face of some fine aggressive bowling.
One of three Test debutants Gary Ballance, along with Ben Stokes, managed to take the score to 61 at lunch without further loss. But one run into the second session, Nathan Lyon had Ballance edge behind. Lyon had spun the ball away from the left-hander and got good bounce as well. Englandís highest stand of the innings came for the seventh wicket between Stokes and Bairstow who added 49 before Siddle was brought back and he had Bairstow push a catch to mid-on.
Stokes showed again his potential to be a leading all-rounder, he top-scored with 47 following his six wickets on the previous day. He was out playing no stroke to a ball which went straight on to hit the off stump. After Harris had dismissed Scott Borthwick, caught at third slip, England needed two runs to avoid the follow-on. But the last wicket stand of 30 between Broad and debutant Boyd Rankin took England to 155 leaving Broad unbeaten on 30. Harris, Johnson and Siddle finished with three wickets each.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2014 Andy Jalil)