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  • The Ashes

Siddle and Harris give Australia 2-0 lead

The Report by David Hopps at Adelaide Oval
December 9, 2013
Peter Siddle finished with 4 for 57 in the second innings © AFP
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Australia 9 for 570 dec (Clarke 148, Haddin 118, Broad 3-98) and 3 for 132 dec (Warner 83*) beat England 172 (Bell 72*, Carberry 60, Johnson 7-40) and 312 (Root 87, Prior 69, Siddle 4-57, Harris 3-54) by 218 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Australia took a 2-0 lead in the Ashes series, with three to play as they inflicted a 218-run defeat on England in the Adelaide Test to follow up their overwhelming 381-run win in the opening match in Brisbane.

It took Australia only 11.4 overs to remove England's last four wickets for the addition of a further 65 runs after light morning rain, which delayed the start by 10 minutes, cleared and the Test was completed with floodlights piercing the gloom.

England's one consolation was a return to form for Matt Prior, albeit in insignificant circumstances. Prior, 31 not out overnight, was ninth out for 69 from 110 balls, the first time he had passed 50 in 17 attempts, a sequence stretching back to his match-saving century against New Zealand in Auckland in March. It will probably be enough to protect his place in Perth.

Prior pulled with gusto, but the shot also proved his downfall as he deposited Peter Siddle into the hands of Ryan Harris at deep square. It was a bountiful morning for Siddle and Harris, who had toiled away impressively on the fourth day, but who did not have to extend themselves unduly to round things up with two wickets apiece on the final morning.

Siddle and Harris took seven wickets between them. That should not alter the salient fact: Mitchell Johnson might not be the only reason for the shift in power, but he has been the overriding reason.

Australia, after seven defeats in nine, have now won two Tests on the bounce; England, unbeaten in 13 before this series, have been heavily beaten in both. Under the coaching influence of Darren Lehmann, Australia are playing positive cricket, fielding tigerishly and their bowling plans are working. England look weary and disorientated, a team which has so far failed to challenge the notion that it is in decline.

No England team has ever come back from 2-0 down to win a series in Australia, the one thing in England's favour being that they only need to draw the series to retain the Ashes.

But England will be particularly unsettled by the fact that they have lost so heavily in Adelaide where a dry pitch of comfortable pace bore a similarity to surfaces on which they have achieved many recent victories and offered arguably their best opportunity of the series.

Adelaide's first drop-in pitch displayed the ground's traditional characteristics, offering more spin as the match progressed, and will have delighted the curator Damien Hough.

Alastair Cook said three times at the post-match ceremony that England need to "look at ourselves". It will be the mantra ahead of Perth. He said: "We had a few opportunities on that first day to put pressure on that first day and we missed them. Mitchell Johnson has bowled well and quickly and we have to look at ourselves, our techniques and our shot selection."

Michael Clarke, Australia's captain, admitted that he had been unsettled when he drew back the curtains to see rain falling. He said: "The last thing we wanted was rain today - and I guess not enforcing the follow-on made me a little more nervous. I thought our bowlers could do with a rest and come out fresh in the second innings.

"We have to be realistic: that is only our second Test win in [11] months and that is not good enough if we want to be the No 1 Test side in the world - and that is our goal."

Johnson, man of the match after his first-innings 7 for 40, can now look forward to what is routinely viewed as his banker: the WACA. He said: "I'm really excited about being back in this team." He confirmed the mo stays on for the rest of the series.

Once the skies cleared so quickly, England's cause was hopeless: 304 runs short of victory with only four wickets remaining. They played as if they knew it.

Quite what Stuart Broad was up to, only he knew. Five balls into the day, he became the third England batsman to perish to the hook shot. Siddle fired in two short balls in his first over of the day. The first, a lackadaisical affair, was pulled by Broad for six. The next ball was quicker and shoulder height and Broad hooked it into the hands of Nathan Lyon at deep square.

Harris, delayed until first change, was also presented with a wicket in his first over as Graeme Swann dangled his bat at a wide one, which moved away slightly, and presented a comfortable catch to second slip. His second wicket of the morning, Panesar driving feebly to short extra, completed the job.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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