Ashes 2013-14: Bowlers go short to let Aussies off the hook again

Australia 326-6

The Waca

Australia’s batting remains brittle. It is susceptible to bouts of stupidity, carelessness and technical failure and at least three of the upper order are probably in the selectors’ firing line.

If and when it improves, England will be in real trouble. At 143 for 5 on the opening day of the third Test yesterday, Australia were up the creek for the third time in the series, and the Ashes, if not on their way home again at that precise point, had been halted in transit on their inexorable journey the other way.

For the third time in the series the creek gave way to a much more comfortable environment. For the third time in the series, England’s bowlers could not finish off the job. Australia recovered again, this time to 326 for 6.

The Ashes Podcast: Stephen Brenkley and Tom Collomosse review day one of the Third Test in Perth. Listen below...

There were good reasons for this. It was oppressively hot, draining strength and energy by the perspiration load; the pitch was fast but true; England’s bowlers went for far too much short stuff, carried away by the pace and bounce; Brad Haddin arrived ready to play to the hilt again; Steve Smith turned up for the first time; Mitchell Johnson – well you can guess; and Australia got lucky.

Haddin made a substantial contribution yet again, his 55 following 94 in Brisbane and 118 in Adelaide. In those terms it was a relative failure but as part of a sixth-wicket partnership of 124 with Smith, who made his team’s fifth century of the series, it came at exactly the right time for Australia and the wrong time for England.

In its typically stubborn, hate-all-Poms-to-the-day-I-die kind of way, Haddin’s presence in the series has been as influential if not as spectacular as Johnson’s. He helped to salvage them from the perils of 132 for 6 at Brisbane, took them into sunlit uplands of 570 from the uncertainties of 257 for 5 at Adelaide and was not about to be denied yesterday.

Actually, he was about to be denied but Haddin, as he acknowledged only last week, is travelling around Australia at present with Lady Luck on one arm and Madam Fortune on the other. Before he settled to his task yesterday he top-edged a hook, gloved marginally short of the slip cordon, twice saw balls roll dangerously near the stumps after hitting his body and managed narrowly to clear mid-off.

England bowler Tim Bresnan struggled on his return to the side in the Third Ashes Test England bowler Tim Bresnan struggled on his return to the side in the Third Ashes Test

He let these narrow escapes affect his intentions not a jot and clubbed in his usual fashion, driving on the off, slogging to the leg side. England must have felt that life was not fair and that, although they have not played well, the gods are conspiring against them.

Smith needed some runs. He made 138 not out at The Oval in the last Test of the home summer but has been badly out of nick recently. A fidget at the crease, he touches the peak of his helmet and the tops of his pads as if he was tapping out a secret code.

He played seamlessly yesterday. His drives were crisp, his footwork dainty. Smith is one of those batsmen who manages to look so disorganised – maybe it’s the tapping – that he could not possibly be a Test player. But Australia like him and are being proved correct in their assessment of him.

By the end of the day, England wilted. Johnson came in when a Haddin miscued pull at last fell to hand. His much-publicised moustache – the local paper has printed a cutout version for fans to stick on – is giving him an increasingly sinister look like, say, Lee Van Cleef’s Angel Eyes in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The good news is that Clint Eastwood eventually finished off Van Cleef in the movie.

England might try to claim that they were unfortunate that top edges evaded fielders or that, as in Michael Carberry’s case, he was too dozy in the sun to run in from the boundary quickly enough. But they failed to bring batsmen forward when they might have been persuaded to edge to the slip cordon. That is how wickets tend to fall here at the Waca.

Early in the sweltering day they mixed up their lengths more judiciously as Australia came hard at them. The tourists were given what might have been interpreted as lift-off in the series when Jimmy Anderson effected a stunning run-out in the match’s second over. Chris Rogers, one of those playing for his place, dashed for a quick single but Anderson calmly moved to his left from mid-on, switched the ball to his right hand and dead-eye-dicked at the stumps.

England celebrate the wicket of Haddin but not before he had made 55 England celebrate the wicket of Haddin but not before he had made 55

It all went well for the tourists after that. Shane Watson, under growing pressure, edged a full-length ball that lifted to slip (that should have told Stuart Broad, the bowler, something). When Graeme Swann took two wickets –Michael Clarke driving to mid-on and the ever-belligerent and dangerous David Warner cutting to point – England must have felt that this was a definite shift. Off-spinners do not take wickets on the first day at Perth.

Broad then bounced out George Bailey, the third of the top six in selection trouble. Bailey left the first two bouncers and then made a hopeless hash of hooking the third down Kevin Pietersen’s throat.

And so England thought this was the way to go. They were patently wrong but they failed to address it. Australia buzzed along and the last session and a half belonged to them.

Anderson was more intelligent than some of his colleagues but he was wicketless again. Anderson’s form is beginning to be a concern. Since his outstanding performance in the first Ashes Test last summer when he took 10 wickets he has taken 17 more at an average above 40 and at a wicket every 100 balls. That sort of form does not bring home the Ashes.

News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll as Agnes Brown in the 2014 Mrs Brown's Boys Christmas special
tvCould Mrs Brown's Boys have taken lead for second year?
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
news
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez missed a penalty before scoring the opening goal with a header at the back post
footballLive! Sanchez makes up for penalty miss to put Arsenal ahead
Arts and Entertainment
Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Tim Burton's Big Eyes
film reviewThis is Tim Burton’s most intimate and subtle film for a decade
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Jack O'Connell stars as Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's Unbroken
film review... even if Jack O'Connell is excellent
Arts and Entertainment
Madonna is not in Twitter's good books after describing her album leak as 'artistic rape and terrorism'
music14 more 'Rebel Heart' tracks leaked including Pharrell Williams collaboration
Sport
Rooney celebrates with striker-partner Radamel Falcao after the pair combine to put United ahead
footballManchester United vs Newcastle match report
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all