|Scorecard:||Australia v England|
|Event:||England in Australia 2013/14|
DateLine: 3rd January 2014
By Andy Jalil at The SCG
In association with ETIHAD AIRWAYS
Sydney – With the series long gone and the Ashes safely back in Australia’s possession – after defeats in three successive series – England’s first priority was to avoid a whitewash which they suffered twice at the hands of Australia, in 1920-21 and 2006-07. There was a new look about England in this fifth Test with three debutants in the side while Australia have remained unchanged throughout the series.
Having won the toss for the first time in five Tests and having been given a fine start by the bowlers it seemed at first that things might well go in England’s favour at last until a 128-run sixth wicket stand between Steve Smith and Brad Haddin brought about an excellent recovery and not for the first time in the series. Smith’s unblemished innings of 115 in a little over four hours eventually saw his side to 326. It left England to negotiate six overs from which they had 8 for the loss of Michael Carberry for naught.
The fall of Australia wickets began with Stuart Broad moving a ball away from David Warner in the sixth over and hitting the off stump. The left-hander had looked well set in reaching 16 as by then he had taken three boundaries in Broad’s previous over, all beautifully struck. The first and the third were driven confidently to mid-off and between those he cut upishly but powerfully to point.
Ten overs later Australia lost the second wicket on 51. Chris Rogers, after his innings of 61 and 116 in the previous Test had got to 11 when he played-on to Ben Stokes. In attempting to pull, he got a bottom edge and the ball went between his legs to dislodge the bails. England completed a very satisfactory morning’s work striking two major blows in the quarter of an hour before lunch.
Stokes, in his sixth over, found a thick edge off Michael Clarke’s bat with the Australia captain playing from the crease and giving a regulation catch to second slip. Stokes had taken two for 24 in 5.3 overs. And with two balls remaining before the break James Anderson ended Shane Watson’s 59-ball innings of 43. Watson had seemed to be in similar fine form as in his previous unbeaten innings of 83 in Melbourne but he fell to a ball that came in sharply to trap him plumb in front of the stumps.
If 94 for four was a poor score at lunch, it got worse ten minutes after resumption with George Bailey giving a juggling catch to Alastair Cook at first slip and Broad had two wickets for 31. But Australia then revived the innings in a battling stand between Smith, a centurion of the third Test and Haddin who had fine innings of 55 and 65 in the two previous Tests. During the partnership Smith brought up 1000 Test runs when he reached 31.
At tea Australia were 201 for five and the hundred of the stand had come from 144 balls. Smith was 48 not out and Haddin was unbeaten on 59, including ten fours, having reached his fifth half century of the series from 70 balls. On reaching 50 he struck two fours, both pulled off Anderson. It was an aggressive innings and came at a time when Australia needed to take control after being sent in to bat in cloudy conditions and losing early wickets.
England got the breakthrough a quarter of an hour into the final session with Haddin, on 75 from 90 balls, edging Stokes to give Cook his second catch at first slip and a third wicket to the bowler for 75. 52 of Haddin’s runs had come from boundaries. Mitchell Johnson helped Smith to add 44 before attempting a big hit off Scott Borthwick and being held at long-on for 17 while Smith had moved on to 86. He got into the 90s running three off a Borthwick full toss and three again to mid-on off Broad.
He then went down the pitch to lift the leg spinner for six over mid-on to get to 99 before smacking a full toss for four for his second century of the series from 142 balls. Stokes claimed the next two wickets on the total of 325. Ryan Harris went for 22 after a 55-run stand and Peter Siddle was held behind first ball. Finally, having run out of partners Smith, in attempting to hit out was held at mid-on to give Stokes six for 99 in a brilliant effort.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2013 Andy Jalil)