The day that changed the game…

06 Dec 2010 by Vinay Anand in Ashes Series 2010-11

After a dull draw at Brisbane, the pressure on both England and Australia intensified as a win becomes a must at Adelaide to gain bragging rights for the remainder of the Ashes. Brisbane ultimately saw the psychological advantage go in England’s way as they scored a huge 517/1 in the second innings to achieve a draw, after a first innings deficit of 235 runs. On the other hand, Australia for the first time perhaps in a home series was under the pump because of a poor second innings bowling performance from all the bowlers and also Ricky Ponting’s captaincy is under scrutiny. The hype built on Adelaide seemed to be greater than that of Brisbane, as Andrew Strauss and Ricky Ponting walked out for the toss as 30,000 fans at the Adelaide Oval were rallying behind their teams. Ponting won the toss and elected to bat on another batting-friendly surface.
However, right from the first over, Australia succumbed to the pressure built on them. Simon Katich was run out of the fourth ball of the Australian innings in a horrible mix-up with Shane Watson. And worse he didn’t face a single ball. And then Ponting couldn’t have asked for a worse innings on his 150th Test. He was out first ball, edging an outswinging delivery to a waiting Graeme Swann at second slip. James Anderson and England were on a roll. England’s morning even got better when the Australian vice-captain, Michael Clarke was out in a similar fashion as Ponting for a mere score of 2 as Australia was reduced to 2/3 in 2.1 overs. Yet, Shane Watson was at the other end even as Michael Hussey walked into the crease.
Watson was unfazed by a bad start as he went on to score a dominant half-century which included 7 fours and a huge six of Swann. However, he proved to Anderson’s third wicket as his dismissal meant that Australia were reduced to 96/4. The next batsman was Marcus North, who many felt is surviving in the team due to his bowling than batting, and should not be playing. North was finding his touch until Graeme Swann dismissed him for 26. It was Brad Haddin who was the next man in, and he and Hussey needed to once again save Australia, just like how they did at the Gabba.
Hussey kept fighting even as wickets were falling. He was certainly back in the business with a well-deserved 93 after the superb 195 in the previous Test. It seemed like he was going to bail Australia out of a precarious situation yet again, until Swann, the world’s No.2 Test bowler made Hussey lose his concentration as he drove a fullish ball spinning outside off-stump to second slip to Collingwood, who doesn’t miss many catches. Swann struck again as Ryan Harris was given out lbw first ball controversially. It was 207/7, when Xavier Doherty joined Haddin at the crease. Brad Haddin proved his mettle yet again with a half-century. Despite this innings, England were able to bowl out Australia for 245 as Australia’s lower order didn’t trouble the scorers much. James Anderson was the star with 4 wickets in the end, and Swann got 2 wickets as well which is good considering that he had a bad game at Brisbane. Steven Finn and Stuart Broad got a wicket each. At the end of the day, England ended at 1/0 after 1 over with Strauss walking off the pitch as a happier man than his counterpart, Ricky Ponting who has a fair amount of contemplating to do if he has to ensure an Australian fightback on the second days play.

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