“He bowls to the left, he bowls to the right, Mitchell Johnson destroys English alright..” was reverberating around social media after once again, the mercurical fast bowler tore through England like a chain saw to put Australia 2-0 up and on the precipice of an Ashes victory.
In this blockbuster ten match Ashes series, the toss of the coin has usually given a fair indication of where the result. In the winter series, Australia’s two best results (two draws) came from winning the toss. Once again in front of a newly renovated Adelaide oval, Michael Clarke won the toss and duly elected to bat on a sedate pitch.
Australia gave their best impression of a Sydney train with the stop start nature of the innings highlighted by David Warner who blasted his way to 29 runs off 36 balls before getting out to a daft shot. Several Australian batsmen followed his example as Bailey, Rogers and Watson threw away good starts.
Outside of these efforts, Michael Clarke glided effortlessly like a cloud on his way to a second consecutive century in this series leading once again from the front and forcing writers to consult their thesauruses for new adjectives to describe his performance. Brad Haddin chipped in with a good vice captain’s knock to help Australia post an imposing 9/570 declared.
The South Australian RTA did their best work in producing the road used in Adelaide but England must have been thinking it was Brisbane again, as they collapsed under the weight of Mitchell Johnson’s mustache (and his bowling). This effort was more impressive than his demonic spell in Brisbane as the pitch wasn’t conducive to fast bowling but he was producing balls regularly around 145-150km/h.
The Aussie captain had a choice to make after the English were rolled by 172 with a deficit of 398 runs. Michael Clarke decided to give his bowlers a rest while piling on the misery for the tourists who were dreaming of a white Christmas back home. The message was simple, look for quick runs to put the English out of the match and be forced to play for the draw. David Warner heeded the call despite the rain, making an unbeaten 83 before Michael Clarke declared on the morning of day four.
England had two days to save the contest and their morale before heading to Perth but by the end of day four, they were hanging precariously over a second straight loss to the Australians. They started brightly after the regulation Johnson dismissal of Cook who is quickly becoming the largest bunny in a herd of them for Mitchell.
Besides Cook, most of the English batsmen showed some grit in putting together an innings, three batsmen past the half century and as a team, England made over 200! Depsite this resistance they still were dismissed by a combination of daft shots (Ian Bell), falling into a predictable trap (Carberry and Pietersen) and just tight bowling by the Australians.
They extended the game into the fifth day which was a win in itself but on the scoreboard, England were beaten once again – this time by 218 runs with the daunting prospect of the WACA pitch looming large in the third test. Australia have already named an unchanged team once again while England are contemplating dropping a spinner to play of their tall quicks (Bresnan, Finn and Rankin).