The Boxing Day Test
OK this report is a little late, as I was slacking off over the Christmas and New Year period. But at the request of some of my English readers, here’s a report on the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. I will be adding a report on the current test in Sydney very soon.
After Australia‘s spectacular comeback in Perth, things could not have gone worse for them on Boxing Day at the MCG. Australia broke all sorts of records in Melbourne, but the wrong sorts of records. They were bowled out for only 98, that’s the whole team. England came into bat on the first day and surpassed the Australia score without loss by the close of play. That had never happened before. England did have the best of the conditions, it was ripe for bowling during Australia‘s innings, cloudy and overcast and the ball was swinging. But that is no excuse with Australia‘s batsmen wafting at balls that should have been left and just about all of them caught behind from edges. After some rain the cloud cleared and England batted through to the close, amassing 157 without loss, with Strauss on 64 and Cook on 80. Tremlett was the best of the English bowlers, taking 4 wickets for 26 off of 11.5 overs. Anderson also picked up 4 wickets with Bresnan collecting the other 2.
Day two did not get any better for Australia. Although Strauss and Cook went early, finishing on 69 and 83 respectively. Trott made a big unbeaten century (168) batting into the third day. Pietersen made 51 and Prior 85. England were finally dismissed on the third day for 513, four hundred and fifteen runs ahead on the first innings. Siddle picked up 6 wickets for 75 but all of the other bowlers could show very few wickets for very many runs.
Australia batted a little better in the second innings with Watson and Haddin making 50′s. But Ponting and Clarke‘s runs of bad form continued and Hussey‘s role as the Australian talisman came to an abrupt end, picking up an 8 and a duck. Australia were bowled out for 258 to lose the match by an innings and 157 runs. England retained the Ashes on Australian soil for the first time since the late 80′s
Australians will demand a better performance in Sydney to save the series. Obviously changes will be made.