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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
indybest 9 best steam generator irons
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering