Johnson gets Cook early as Australia seizes the initiative in Adelaide
Australia’s dream run in this Ashes series continued on day two of the second Test at Adelaide, soaring to a declaration at 570 for 9 on the back of twin centuries from Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin. A brutal 55 from 54 balls by Ryan Harris iced the innings, with even the usually timid Nathan Lyon smiting a six over midwicket as Australia galloped toward its close. Australia then made the best possible start with the ball, as Mitchell Johnson shattered Alistair Cook’s stumps for 3 with serious pace.
It was the start of a torrid 21 overs for England, endured barely by Michael Carberry and Joe Root, the new No.3 batsman. Thus two of England’s least experienced Test players were asked to keep Johnson at bay through a final hour when he regularly topped 150 kilometres an hour.
The profligate Johnson of the past was forgotten, with edges past the stumps and bouncers past the head. As stumps approached, Root was struck painfully in the chest by a vicious short ball, then from the final ball of the day Carberry was spared an lbw dismissal by umpire Marais Erasmus that would have been overturned had Australia been game to review. Carberry had played well to that point for 20 runs, with England to plan tomorrow’s ascent from a base of 35 for 1.
Australia had started its own morning at 273 for 5, with a match still very much in the balance. But Haddin and Clarke were full of confidence, Haddin playing firm shots against Stuart Broad from the first over, then Clarke skipping down to his first ball to attack Monty Panesar. That ball was mistimed, soaring high over cover to drop behind the infield. But in Panesar’s next over, Clarke repeated the shot and nailed it to the long-on fence, and from there the batsmen took complete control.
England could only rue Carberry’s fumbled catch before stumps on the opening day, when Haddin had only 5 runs to his name. The 300 came up in the seventh over of the day, with boundaries and singles worked steadily from Broad, James Anderson and particularly Panesar. Graeme Swann was brought on to stem the run rate but the move backfired, as Haddin lifted him for sixes in consecutive overs, before pasting Ben Stokes twice through the off side for eight further runs.
Nine overs from lunch, having moved to 51, England should have had Haddin again, but this time Stokes had overstepped in delivering a ball that took the edge and was caught behind. The wicketkeeper gladly returned for a heated discussion with Stokes at over’s end.
By that point Clarke had reached 98, adroitly working the bowling around while Haddin attacked, and two overs later he had a century in consecutive innings this series, and his third in consecutive matches at the Adelaide Oval. He took up the attack after lunch, lacing the session with boundaries before Haddin clobbered Swann and Panesar for another couple of sixes.
Having seen the score move on to 457, England finally had some relief when Clarke lobbed a leading edge to Anderson at midwicket to belatedly give Stokes his first Test wicket. On 148, Clarke had been on track to be the first batsman to score three consecutive double hundreds at the same venue.
But any hope the torment would end with Clarke’s wicket, or even Mitchell Johnson holing out for 5, was misplaced. Haddin took his 86 through to 118, his second century at a ground where he now averages 121 from five matches. Harris followed up a couple of exploratory boundaries with back-to-back sixes from Swann.
Even when Haddin nicked Broad through to Matt Prior, Harris surged to his second Test half-century, while Lyon swept Panesar for four and Swann for six with a strike as clean as any his teammates had essayed.
Finally, with 158 overs bowled and 600 runs in their sights, Clarke called his last pair of batsmen in, leaving England with the demoralising feeling of not even being able to bowl the opposition out. Just how deep that demoralisation runs will become evident when England’s batsmen face up again tomorrow.