|Ground:||Sophia Gardens, Cardiff|
|Scorecard:||England v Australia|
|Player:||MM Ali, MA Starc, CJL Rogers, MJ Clarke, SR Watson|
|Event:||Australia in England and Ireland 2015|
DateLine: 9th July 2015
By Andy Jalil at Sophia Gardens
In association with INVESTEC
England take firm grip on first Ashes Test
Cardiff – Despite Chris Rogers’ excellent innings of 95, Australia batsman have struggled against the England attack and by stumps on the second day reached 254 for 5, trailing by 166 runs. The day belonged to England with Moeen Ali boosting their total with an excellent innings of 77 earlier in the day and claiming two of the five wickets that have fallen.
Just under half-an-hour into the second session England struck with the first wicket. David Warner who had not looked very comfortable particularly against James Anderson eventually fell to him as he edged a catch to first slip where Alastair Cook took it well falling to his right. Shortly after that he was hit in the groin area – to the amusement of his team-mates –as he mis-fielded and after some attention to him on the field he left for the dressing room for a short period.
Rogers, who had flicked two fours, first off Anderson to mid-wicket and then off Stuart Broad to long-leg to reach 28 shortly before Warner was out, moved on to 49 after running two off Ali and then two again two balls later in the off spinner’s second over and the first after lunch to bring up his 12th Test half-century and the sixth against England. He also joined a group of four batsmen who had scored seven consecutive fifties. They were: Everton Weekes, Andy Flower, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Kumar Sangakkara.
Upon reaching 50 from 74 balls, Rogers promptly cut Ali for four and soon took his score to 69 when Steve Smith, on 33, came down the pitch to Ali for a drive to the leg side but seemed to change his mind with Ali dropping the ball a bit short. Smith could only jab a catch to short mid-on and Australia were 129 for two, adding a further 16 going into tea. After the break, a top-edged six over long-leg off Broad took Rogers to 81.
With England’s substantial total on his mind Michael Clarke batted steadily while Rogers picked up the runs. His last scoring shot was a four over the wicketkeeper from a rising ball which he had intended to play over the slips. It took him to 95 after which he edged behind a drive off Mark Wood. In his three hours at the crease he faced 133 balls hitting eleven fours and a six and Adam Voges playing in his first Ashes Test joined Clarke.
The Australia captain took his score to 38 with an elegant drive to the extra cover boundary off Ali who in his next over accounted for Clarke’s wicket. Having batted for nearly an hour-and-a-half Clarke decided to get after Ali’s bowling and advanced down the pitch to drive but was only able to give a return catch.
Voges and Shane Watson were understandably watchful with their side still 223 runs behind at that stage. They were content with singles and twos mainly but their stand of 51 was broken with Voges, on 31, miscuing a drive to short cover.
Resuming their innings on the second morning on 343 for seven, England added 52 with Moeen Ali, 26 overnight, bringing up his third Test half century from 69 balls before Stuart Broad, attempting a slog/sweep, fell for 18. Nathan Lyon had replaced Mitchell Starc and Broad, in attempting a slog/sweep to the first ball, got a thin bottom edge for a catch behind.
Starc changed ends and added the next two wickets that fell to the three he had on the first day to eventually finish with five for 114, his third five-wicket haul in a Test innings. Moeen continued to play fine strokes and drove Starc beautifully for four to extra cover and to get to 60 and then a lofted drive to long-off, off Lyon, saw him to 74.
On 77 from 88 balls, he edged to slip as he attempted a drive and 50 of those runs had come from boundaries. The innings was wrapped up on 430 with James Anderson going down the pitch to slash at Starc and missing the ball. It gave Australia eight overs to bat before lunch which was taken on 26 without loss.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2015 Andy Jalil)