Ashes 2013-14: Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin make England pay for their drops

England have forced their way out of many difficult positions in recent series, but they must now be wondering if the Ashes are slipping from their grasp

Take almost 300 runs from Australia’s total and England would be as happy as a wallaby in the bush. Instead there was only misery as the second Test unfolded, a tale of missed catches and what might have been writ large.

Australia scored 570 for 9 declared in their first innings, their highest in the Ashes at Adelaide since 1921, 21 Test matches ago. Make that 284 runs, however, and it takes on a different hue. As the game wore on, so did those spurned opportunities.

The tourists’ recognition of the fact was displayed in their growing tetchiness, not only with their opponents but with each other. At one point in the proceedings the umpires were forced to intervene to calm everyone down, doubtless reminding them that only the Ashes were at stake.

The day ended with Mitchell Johnson bowling like the wind, which is rapidly, as it were, becoming the leitmotif of the series. He removed the England captain, Alastair Cook, with a ripsnorter of a ball which whistled past a forlorn bat like an express train hurling through a station at which it is not stopping.

It had seemed a different game when the home side were batting. Both Michael Clarke, put down on 30, and Brad Haddin, dropped on five, went on to make hundreds yesterday. Clarke was dazzling, Haddin was merciless, England were impotent. Set those additional scores alongside the 43 allowed to George Bailey, reprieved on 10, and it adds up to 286 extra runs. There were more sixes in Australia’s innings – 12 – than in any played previously in all Ashes series.

Some dropped catches are more costly than others. There is a well-worn tale of the Durham wicketkeeper, Chris Scott, who put down a straightforward chance at Edgbaston in 1994 when the batsman was on 18 and turned to his slips saying: “I bet he goes and gets a hundred now.” Brian Lara eventually called it a day when he had reached 501 not out.

England missed Clarke again on 91 yesterday when he offered an extremely difficult chance to backward short leg. It was at a decent height, it was travelling, the score was still not out of control by then. But the real damage had been done earlier.

Perhaps these lapses, finely balanced though they are, were indicative of a change in the tide. Well though England played in the summer, cleverly as they ensured they won the key moments and therefore three of the matches, Australia were never that far behind.

The big scenes in the last five days of this series have all been stolen by Australia and if England have fluffed their lines the feeling has grown that this is because they were being upstaged. The first session on the second day was a significant case in point.

The players and crowd spent a minute in silence for Nelson Mandela before the start, which was impeccably observed. After it, Australia came out slugging, England wilted under the broadside. How different it might have been. Clarke drove hard at the first ball he received, from Monty Panesar, but his eye was not in yet and it looped up from a leading edge, just clearing the infield.

The two runs that resulted took Clarke to 50 and he made only one more mistake until he was out. When it might have gone right for England it went wrong. Haddin could have been run out when Clarke called him for a quick single but Michael Carberry, culprit the night before when he dropped the same batsman, found himself moving one way when he wanted to throw the other.

The tough Clarke chance followed, but then Haddin edged Ben Stokes behind to give the young man his first Test wicket. The batsman was well on the way to the pavilion when it was suggested he stop walking. Stokes, comfortably England’s quickest bowler, had bowled a no-ball.

At the end of the over there was an altercation between bowler and batsman. Perhaps the latter was expressing his sympathy and understanding to the former. Perhaps not. Stuart Broad, as he tends to do, became involved if only to ensure that the whole of Australia stays on his case, and umpire Marais Erasmus, a cheerful but burly soul, walked down the pitch and suggested they get on with it.

Haddin took a heavy toll, slog sweeping Graeme Swann at will over midwicket. Clarke was more measured but equally busy in a frantic opening session which brought four runs an over. His 100 was his 26th in Tests and his third against England in the last five matches.

Eventually Clarke became Stokes’ first Test wicket, chipping to mid-on. It was but a brief respite for England. The spinners were still bowling the bulk of the overs and Australia climbed into them as though it were a Twenty20 match.

Haddin finished with five sixes to add to Bailey’s three on the first day, Ryan Harris clubbed two in his rampant, unbeaten 55 and when Nathan Lyon, the No 11, took the total to a dozen by heaving Swann into the Sir Don Bradman Stand, Clarke, as captain, decided he had seen enough.

It was imperative that England hung around but Johnson was in menacing mood. By his second over he had delivered the six fastest balls of the day and then he removed Cook. When Johnson was bowling it looked a different game.

The Decision Review System had its usual quirky time. England may have felt hard done by when the third umpire went no further with one review when he felt that ball hit bat before pad.

Human error in the form of players was involved in the last ball of the day. England had gone four overs without scoring before Joe Root took a suicidal single with a ball left. Carberry, who would have been run out had the throw hit, had a ball to face. It swerved into his pads at pace. The umpire rejected the appeal, the Aussies decided not to review as Carberry headed for the pavilion. Replays showed it was hitting leg.

 

Get Adobe Flash player
Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing