England’s dismal record at the Gabba has continued on this tour courtesy of a 381 run whooping at the hands of the Australians in the first test match.This is England’s sixth heaviest defeat in test matches and has given the home side a major psychological advantage going into the second test match in Adelaide starting in 10 days time.
Another major blow was announced this morning when key batsman Jonathon Trott was sent home with a stress related illness. It’s news that England could have dearly done without they will dearly be hoping history doesn’t repeat itself. The last time an England batsman pulled out of the tour down under with this illness England were drubbed 5-0 in the 2006/07 series, with key opening batsman Marcus Trescothick the victim during that series.
Australia didn’t have this test match all their own way, things could have been very different on the first morning when they were 132-6 and had England capitalised on this the test match would have had a seismic shift in momentum. Sadly for England messers Johnson and Haddin were absolutely brilliant, for Johnson his 64 was the perfect platform for his excellent bowling performance and Australia were indebted to Haddin for his 94 in his 50th test match.
The efforts from Johnson and Haddin allowed Australia to reach 295 in their first innings which was well below par but more than enough for England in the end. The England innings started very well with Cook and Carberry in particular looking untroubled by the combination of Johnson and Ryan Harris and moved to 0-28 in the 10th over.
An excellent delivery from Harris to remove the England captain changed all that though, with a ball that shaped into Cook but just held its line and all Cook could do was hit it to Haddin. This brought Trott to the crease and his frenetic innings was a huge talking point, he was bullied by Johnson with a short ball early on in his innings and in shuffling to the offside to combat Johnson Trott only succeeded in nicking behind to Haddin.
Pietersen went in his 100th test flicking the ball to Bailey on the on side for 18, Carberry departed to a ball from around the wicket nicking behind to Watson from Johnson for a well played 40. Ian Bell edged to the close in fielder Smith off the bowling of Lyon for 5. This brought Prior to the wicket and he did exactly the same as Bell and departed for a first ball duck.
Root drove a wide ball from Johnson straight to Smith at third slip to make the score 91-7, Swann departed with the score still on 91 hitting the ball onto his pad and straight to David Warner at the all too familiar field placing of short leg for 0, although replays showed it was a massive no ball.
Only Broad provided any sort of resistance with a well played 32 off 44 perishing to a Siddle and Rogers combination, through that session England lost 6 wickets for only 9 runs, an incredible statistic and one that was started by man of the match Mitchell Johnson and Nathan Lyon’s contribution was immense as well with the wickets of Bell and Prior in successive deliveries.
The third day was a totally dominant display from Australia with both Clarke and Warner registering excellent centuries, with Haddin (53), Johnson (39*) and Bailey (34) adding to England’s woes to compile 400 with a mammoth lead of 560. If England were going to chase this down they were going to have to make history.
Carberry can count himself very unlucky playing a perfect backward defensive shot and the ball unfortunately hit his stumps for 0. This brought Trott to the crease and unfortunately for England Johnson beat him again with another short fast delivery that Trott clipped to Lyon.
Captain Cook survived the rest of day three and with Kevin Pietersen opened up on day four, again the wicket didn’t look to be doing a huge amount and both batsmen got starts. Pietersen got to drinks but the first ball after decided to hook a short ball from Johnson straight down the sub (Sabburg’s) throat for 26. This brought Bell to the crease who combated the threat of Johnson well, ducking and weaving the barrage of short balls and was out trying to evade a short ball from Siddle for 32.
Joe Root came out and looked solid and was not out at the end for his 26*, Cook was at the other end having compiled 65 in a magnificent effort facing 195 balls and the second ball after the break Lyon tempted Cook into cutting a ball which he edged to Haddin. Prior came in and got out in exactly the same fashion as the first innings for 4 this time though. Broad (4), Swann (0) provided little resistance, Tremlett batted admirably for 41 balls and scoring 7 runs and by the time Anderson came out to bat his 2 runs did little to change the result.
The Australians had a magnificent test match, only Steve Smith and Chris Rogers failed to contribute to the win. Warner, Clarke and Johnson were exceptional and all contenders for man of the match, although given his outstanding contributions with bat and ball, scoring 103 runs and taking 9 wickets in the match Mitchell Johnson was the worthy winner. It’s likely they will go into this test match unchanged however there is a possibility of calling up James Faulkner in place of either George Bailey or Lyon but Clarke appears to be a staunch supporter of Lyon.
For England its back to square one already, yet another slow start in a test series away from home however they will draw on past experiences such as the recent and historic series win in India. The next test match in Adelaide is a must win for England and its been a happy hunting ground in recent series particularly three years ago.
There are quite a few selection headaches for England to deal with, who will come in for Jonathon Trott? Will Root or Bell go up to number three? Will Balance, Bairstow or even Stokes come in to bat at number six? Will they change Tremlett for Rankin or Finn? If Bresnan is fit do you throw him straight into the next test match?
I personally think it will be very difficult for England to come back from this defeat, not only the manner of it but also the selection headaches that face them. They have had a very settled side for a long period of time and to now be facing the rest of the series without one of their key batsman in Trott and to have as many question marks over the inexperience of the batting and the slow pace of the seamers England have plenty of problems to address in the next ten days.
My team for the next match would be:
Cook (C), Carberry, Bell, Pietersen, Root, Ballance, Prior, Bresnan, Broad, Swann, Anderson