Australia go fishing while England make hay

It is technically summer in Australia, but by the end of play on Day 1 at Melbourne the dropping temperatures and chill wind sweeping the mostly empty stands can only have added to the abject misery of the few Australian fans who remained.

More reminiscent of Grace Road in early April, England made the most of a green wicket early on and overcast conditions to plunge the opposition into a slough of despond from which they never managed to escape.

Bresnan came in for Finn, as predicted, and Australia stuck with their Perth line-up – perhaps a selection predicated on winning the toss, as Ricky Ponting admitted he too would have bowled had the coin come down in his favour.

James Anderson was the pick of England’s bowlers, despite watching Shane Watson being reprieved twice off his bowling early on, dropped by Collingwood in the slips in only his first over, and then again by Pietersen at gully.

Chris Tremlett’s snaring of Watson came as karmic redress for the opener’s continued and undeserved presence at the crease, but Anderson really deserved more than the 4 wickets he ended up with.

Tremlett again continues to show his worth, removing Ponting when the Australian captain had only 10 runs to his name – another low Ponting can ill afford while his captaincy, as well as his performance as a batsman, are under such intense and damning scrutiny.

Bresnan chipped in with the wickets of Hughes and danger man Haddin, and Australia’s entire innings lasted only 42.5 overs.

Mike Hussey, Australia’s shining star in this series, went in the last over before lunch, and with him, you felt, all hope of reaching a total approaching respectability rather than the dismal 98 they ended up with.

All ten wickets came off edges caught behind the wicket; poor judgement in fishing at deliveries that should have been left alone will no doubt make batting coach Justin Langer wonder just what in the hell his charges were doing.

Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook toyed with Australia’s bowling until stumps, making the most of the bright sun that broke through the cloud cover and a pitch that will only get flatter as this match goes on.

Anderson led England's attack

Anderson led England's attack

It is days like these that win or lose Ashes series. England may well be able to point to today as the one that saw them tighten their grip on the urn.

One Response to “Australia go fishing while England make hay”

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