England had one of their great days against Australia at the start of the Second Test. They produced a dramatic opening to the match to reduce their opponents to two for three and by dint of gritty perseverance and adhering to their meticulously planned strategy curtailed their first innings at 245 shortly before the close.
It was about 300 fewer runs than Australia would have either wanted or expected on a characteristically alluring batting pitch on which the sun beat down. Temperatures reached 104F out in the middle and there was no question that England would have been disappointed to lose the toss.
But they did exactly what was required at the start of an innings. Jimmy Anderson, pitching it up and swinging it late, produced a wonderful example of new ball bowling. It was, however, a run out from the fourth ball of the day that set the dramatic events in motion. It went to square leg and Watson called his partner, Simon Katich, for a daft single.
The fielder, Jonathan Trott gathered and set himself carefully to throw at the one stump at which had to aim. Katich was about by a yard. This brought in Ponting and Anderson produced a pearler of a full length, late outswinger which Ponting, pushing hard at it, edged behind where Graeme Swann took a smart catch going to his left.
In Anderson’s next over, Michael Clarke, again looking distinctly out of sorts, nicked another late moving ball to second slip where Swann again obliged. There was a recovery of sorts until just after lunch when Anderson struck again to remove Watson.
Mike Hussey, playing exceptionally well and always looking for what runs were on offer, put on 60 with Marcus North before the latter played a poor shot at Steve Finn and edge behind. Could Hussey and Brad Haddin repeat their heroics of Brisbane?
No they could not as the hard working Swann bowled a lovely, off break which took Hussey’s bat on 93. Next ball, Swann removed Ryan Harris leg before, a review requested by the batsman upholding the umpire’s decision. Xavier Doherty was run out failing to respond quickly enough to Haddin’s call for a single and being run out thanks to shuttle involving Andrew Strauss, Alastair Cook and Matt Prior.
Anderson took his fourth wicket when Peter Siddle clipped to mid-wicket but was denied a fifth when Haddin was the last man out, hooking to Stuart Broad to long leg. England had an over to face. It was resoundingly their day.