Day two of the 5th Ashes Test in Sydney brought another reason to celebrate for Australia as England were skittled out for 155 in reply to the hosts' 326.
The tourists needed something miraculous to avoid a humiliating 5-0 defeat and looked to be off to a promising start when they reduced Australia to 91-4, but once again the Baggy Green rallied and clawed back to 140-4 by the close of play.
|AN Cook*||lbw b Harris||7||19||1||0|
|MA Carberry||c Lyon b Johnson||0||9||0||0|
|JM Anderson||c Clarke b Johnson||7||24||1||0|
|IR Bell||c †Haddin b Siddle||2||32||0||0|
|KP Pietersen||c Watson b Harris||3||9||0||0|
|GS Ballance||c †Haddin b Lyon||18||51||2||0|
|BA Stokes||b Siddle||47||101||4||0|
|JM Bairstow†||c Bailey b Siddle||18||50||1||0|
|SG Borthwick||c Smith b Harris||1||17||0||0|
|SCJ Broad||not out||30||22||4||1|
|WB Rankin||b Johnson||13||22||2||0|
|Extras||(lb 1, w 5, nb 3)||9|
|Total||(all out; 58.5 overs)||155|
In familiar style, England's top order batsmen failed to come to terms with the Australian attack. Wickets were split evenly between the fast bowlers, with spinner Nathan Lyon also chipping in by dismissing Gary Ballance.
Including nightwatchman James Anderson—sent in at No. 3 after Carberry's dismissal the previous evening—none of England's top five batsmen got into double figures.
Brilliant bowling from Australia... Pace, Full length and movement... No Comment on England's Batting... Don't want to swear... #Ashes.— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 4, 2014
While it can be said that the pitch offered more for the bowlers than in previous matches in the series, there wasn't any extravagant movement to be found. It was a case of doing the simple things correctly, which Australia seemed to understand much more than England.
The home side bowled accurately and patiently, exploiting the seam movement and ensuring that the batsmen had to work for their runs.
When Alastair Cook attempted to pad up to Ryan Harris and was given out leg before wicket, the signs were all too ominous.
Harris, in particular, bowled a textbook length, drawing the batsmen forward and allowing the ball to do the rest. Ian Bell was dropped at slip by Shane Watson but could only manage two runs before falling to Peter Siddle.
There are reports that David Collier (ECB CEO) says Flower will be remaining in his post as England coach— Jonathan Agnew (@Aggerscricket) January 4, 2014
Kevin Pieterson played another rash shot, leaning into a booming drive off the bowling of Harris but only finding Watson again, who held on this time.
Again it was left to Ben Stokes, who has been the lone bright spot of the tour, and he gave the England fans a little to cheer about. Stokes fell three short of a half century, while Stuart Broad put on 30 in a 10th-wicket stand with Boyd Rankin.
If it wasn't for that, the day could have been even worse for England.
|CJL Rogers||not out||73||89||9||0|
|DA Warner||lbw b Anderson||16||20||3||0|
|SR Watson||c †Bairstow b Anderson||9||9||2||0|
|MJ Clarke*||c †Bairstow b Broad||6||18||1||0|
|SPD Smith||c Cook b Stokes||7||12||1||0|
|GJ Bailey||not out||20||32||2||0|
|Total||(4 wickets; 30 overs)||140|
Seemingly inspired by their opponents' display in the field, England's bowling improved in the second innings.
Anderson bowled a probing length and picked up the important wickets of Watson and David Warner. The Burnley Express has been his country's best bowler for so long but has been relatively quiet in this series. Because of this, England have struggled to take 10 wickets.
When Broad removed Michael Clarke for six and Steve Smith fell to Stokes for seven, there was a passage of play when the tourists looked confident and threatening. The ball moved around and the bowlers' length was much better.
In the first innings, England bowled far too short and were summarily dispatched to the boundary. This time, they stuck with a good length and played the conditions the way they would at home. Unsurprisingly, it drew results.
However, any hopes of getting a foothold in the game were quickly dashed by Chris Rogers, who finished the day unbeaten on 73.
The visitors are now 311 runs behind, with six wickets still to take. Australia have all the time in the world to build on their lead, put the game out of reach and complete an utterly dominant 5-0 series victory.