Nottingham: In twenty one minutes of insanity, Australia shot themselves in the foot, yet again, with poor shot selection and worse execution as they watched England wrap their hands firmly around the Ashes urn.
A disappointed Australian skipper Michael Clarke walks back after being dismissed for 13 in the second innings at Trent Bridge yesterday. He was out for 10 in the first innings. Pic/Getty Images
It was as if we were watching action replay of Australian batting from Day 1 here at Nottingham, or Day 1 at Edgbaston last week or the second innings there or... you get the drift. It was like the DVD of a bad movie that's stuck on infinite repeat.
England piled on the pain during the morning session of Day 2 with runs flowing all around the ground unabatedly even as Mitchell Starc provided some smiles for the weary tourists with his best Test figures of 6 for 111, Australia were a long way behind in the game after being bundled out for 60 runs in the first innings. Australian batsmen had an almost impossible deficit of 331 runs to make England bat again in the match.
In the first innings, the English bowlers induced 9 edges and all of those opportunities were taken their slip cordon. In the second innings, England played the role of gracious hosts as they dropped couple of straight forward chances and provided another reprieve through Mark Wood overstepping the bowling crease, and yet, Australia could not capitalize on the offerings as they reverted to form and what followed was another batting collapse.
David Warner and Chris Rogers denied England any opening for as long as they could, through a combination of luck, poor catching and decent batting. It cannot be said that they were ever completely comfortable; conditions and the opposition were such. In a searing over before lunch, the star of Day 1 Stuart Broad ripped past Warner's outside edge four times.
The habits that brought the Aussie downfall in the first go – hard hands, extravagant shots, unsure footwork and lack of patience – were all still there. Rogers who received a life through Wood's no ball, poked at an away swinging delivery as Australian openers had fairly sprinted to 113.
Warner was dropped twice – on 10 and 42 – by Alastair Cook and Ian Bell off Broad and Ben Stokes, respectively but he wouldn't last past 64. He played the same half-hearted semi-pull that brought his downfall in Edgbaston here. Twice he survived as the top edges eluded the fielders but he wasn't so lucky third time.
The most maddening of this passage of play was that these came about with the scheduled Tea break less than 25 minutes. Australia went from 113 for no loss to 136 for 4 in the space of 23 deliveries and 21 minutes. Experienced international batsmen, battling for survival in the match and in the series, seemed to be clueless of the match situation. Shane Warne, the former Aussie great, castigated the lack of match awareness by the experienced top order.
Shaun Marsh produced a copy of his many dismissals before this – a tame prod to slip - that have contributed to him fired out for a duck in 25% of his Test innings. Steve Smith, the top ranked Test batsman in the world, while attempting a wild slash found the short point fielder that was brought in just few balls ago particularly for that shot. That Smith tried it after three quick wickets had gone down boggles the mind.
The saddest moment would come after play resumed when skipper Michael Clarke – who defended his dismissal from yesterday with "live by the sword, die by the sword" - drove loosely away from his body. Cook at first slip bobbled the catch, a brief moment of hope for Clarke, only to be quashed by Ian Bell who completed the formality on rebound. Australia had slid to 174/5, a marked improvement from their first dig admittedly, but it was just a case of the same old, same old. Insanity.
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