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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: December 17, 2010 @ 3:05 am

    Third Test – Day 2

    Emmet Riordan

    We’ve already had possibly the key moment of the second day as the Aussie slip cordon stand like the statues on Easter Island as Andrew Strauss edged through on 16. Shane Watson moved too late believing Brad Haddin was about to snap it up.

    Sums up Australia’s series really and Strauss had made them pay by moving on to 42 not out, with Alastair Cook on 27 and England 69 without loss.

    The Aussie papers have been really sticking it to their side, with the selectors coming in for special mention on the back of thre local West Australian this morning with the likes of Greg Chappell and David Boon having fried eggs superimposed on their faces.

    With time on my side this morning I decided to follow the crowds and walk down from Hay St. Sorry if you’re sitting at home in the freezing cold, moving closer to the TV to try and catch some of the rays, but it’s one of the great walks to any sporting venue.

    Past the office girls in their summer dresses grabbing a skinny latte to the early drinkers at the Carlton Hotel and through the beautiful little park beside the WACA, it knocks Jones’ Road for six to be honest.

    Well, well. Just as it looked like the English openers were well set Mitchell Johnson makes the breakthrough to see Cook off for 32, with Mike Hussey taking a good low catch at gully.

    Big wicket, that’s just the third time he’s been out in the series and he’s already got 482 runs to his name.

    Johnson has struck two more huge blows now with the South Africn duo of Jonathan Trott, for four,  and Kevin Pietersen for a duck in four deliveries and the chants of AUSSIE, AUSSIE, AUSSIE go up for the first time in this Test.  England now 82 for 3.

    Now it’s game on for sure as Ryan Harris returns from the Swan River End to claim the wicket of Strauss for 52. England 94 for 4 and Ian Bell will need a big knock here. Paul Collingwood at the other end.

    And there goes Collingwood, as Johnson makes it  four for seven this morning, with five wickets for 23 runs in the last 10 overs. The Aussie corporate day underneath the pressbox is in full swing and it’s just past midday. the poor youngsters can’t ferry the grog in quick enough as they drink to each falling wicket. Great atmosphere here, great cricket.

    And remember there’s no Stuart Broad for England, so a longer tail and Bell and Prior really have to surive the 20 minutes to lunch at the very least.

    And Johnson takes a well deserved break with figures of 9-3-20-4 this morning to put his side back in the game and the series. Peter Siddle takes over.

    And that’s lunch as local hero Mitch Johnson becomes a national hero to put Australia back in this match nad maybe back in this series. A brilliant spell from the erratic left-armer, who really steamed in with menace and a decent radar. England have it all to do in this afternnon with the in-form Bell and Prior the key men. But can anthing stop Johnson in this sort of form. 

    Lunch Day 2: England 119-5 (A Strauss 52, A Cook 32; M Johnson 4-24) trail  Australia 268 by 149 runs. 

    Just to mention the lunch here in Perth has been something else. Today’s offering, which comes in a black box,  included fillet steak that was easily cut through by the plastic cutlery, two salads (one couscous type thingey is still in the box), a mini cheeseboard with walnuts and fruit and a slice of chocalate sponge. All its short of is a chilled pinot grigio to wash it down but you can’t be picky I suppose.

    Afternoon session

    Just a little post-lunch nap there but not a huge amount going on. England have added 44 runs for the loss of Matt Prior for 12, with a fired-up Peter Siddle forcing an error out of the wicketkeeper, who played on for 12.

    Bell, though, looks in imperious form with the bat and is 35 not out at drinks, with England moving on to 163 for six, trailing now by 105 runs.

    The one thing is that Johnson has only just returned to the Aussie attack after a long break so it should be an interesting session up to tea.

    Quite surreal to hear the Barmy Army trumpeter playing Danny Boy, brings me back home for a minute. Just a minute though and it’s back to the 28C here in East Perth.

    And Bell has just brought up his 50 with a cracking square cut, his sixth boundary of what is looking the key knock for England.

    And the mesmeric Johnson has wrapped up England in jig time to claim six for 38 as they are bowled out for  187. a deficit of 81. Honourable mention must go to Ryan Harris, whse aggression was rewarded with figures of 3 for 59, but this Test match is fast becoming the Mitchell Johnson show. And what a show it is.

    Now the Australian top order must fire to pile up a big advantage. But the English bowlers still have plenty to help them in this second-day pitch. They’ve taken an early tea here so it should be an intriguing final session.    

    Tea Day 2: England 187 (I Bell 53, A Strauss 52, A Cook 32; M Johnson 6-38, R Harris 3-59) trail  Australia 268 by 81 runs. 

    I had to abandon my spot in the pressbox for a while as the sun comes right behind the white tarpaulin tent and turns it into a sauna. I sought refuge in a corporate marquee with air conditioning and a free bar, although I didn’t partake (mainly becaude I didn’t have any vouchers).

    Anyhow big Steve Finn has made the vital breakthroughs in Australia’s second innings, having Phillip Hughes caught by Paul Collingwood and skipper Ricky Ponting after he referred a gloved behind decision and got the call when hotspot showed it made contact.

    Australia are 56 for two at present, a lead of 137 runs. 

    After an enterprising 20 off 18 balls, Michael Clarke has played on to Chris Tremlett and it’s 64 for three.

    And that’s the final drinks session of an extended final session and Australia on 69 for three, a lead of exactly 150, with Shane Watson unbeaten on 35.

    The Freemantle Doctor has finally arrived to cool players and those outside the ropes down. Still high 20s though and the seagulls are in for their evening worm on the outfield.

    With U2 in town for two dates, you’ll forgive me in saying that Australia and Mitchell Johnson enjoyed what was another  Beautiful Day here at the Waca as Australia closed on 199 for three, a lead of exactly 200.

    They went into it looking down the barrel of England retaining the Ashes with two Tests to spare and now look likely to level the series and set up a brilliant Boxing Day (I know St Stephen’s Day, but it doesn’t work in this instance)  Test at the MCG.

    Shane Watson looks set for a big one, while Mike Hussey, well he likes to hang around for a long time as we’ve seen in this series so far. At stumps they had added  55 runs.

    England will have not given up hope of chasing a decent target as it still looks a belter of a track here, but they really need their bowlers to deliver in the first session tomorrow.       

    Stumps Day 2: England 187 (I Bell 53, A Strauss 52, A Cook 32; M Johnson 6-38, R Harris 3-59) trail  Australia 268 & 119-3 (S Watson 61no, M Hussey 24no; S Finn 2-48  by 200 runs. 


    • Jim Murray says:

      Excellent summary, Emmet,

      Greetings from Melbourne. I saw Prior getting his ton against Victoria last week. When early Brit. wkts fell, I thought it was set up for Eoin Morgan to seize the golden opportunity chasing 311 and was really looking forward to rest of the day. Sadly, of the 10 balls he faced, he wafted at about half of them – may have been under instructions to push it along immediately. BTW admission was $5, about E3.50!

      Re tests, i find myself breaking the habit of a lifetime and cheering for the Brits. Another confession: I’m warming to KP, probably after he admitted to Michael Atherton a few months ago that he was short on confidence.

      Isn’t 5-day cricket luverly?

      Jim Murray (Leinster CC)

    • Don’t say I didn’t warn you.I am reminded of those parody apologies in Private Eye. In the past we may have given the impression that we felt the English cricket team had escaped its tendency towards fragility and unreliability. We now realise that…

      Enjoying the reports, Emmet.

    • I always grudgingly support the English, Jim, but I can’t get with you on KP. He’s always very exciting to watch. I still think, however, that he comes across as unforgivably arrogant. At least with somebody like Boycott, you were aware that — amid all the sour, Yorkshire spite — you were dealing with a great cricket brain. I don’t get that sense from Pietersen.

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