Yesterday after Australia bundled out England for 136 and had a lead of 151 runs, the ghosts of Cape Town must have made their visit to Clarke’s mind. In that Test, they had a lead of 188 runs and were bundled out for 47. That pitch and attack were very different from what they have now at hand. So, the sight of Warner smashing a full delivery past covers off Anderson might have been reassuring for the captain.
While Rogers was intent on grinding down the attack, Warner showed that he learnt his lessons from first innings well. He showed more initiative in taking singles and doubles when the boundaries weren’t on offer because of the well spread out field.
So, when Anderson attacked the pads of consecutive balls in the first over of the day, it seemed that Australia might be in for a tough day. The feeling was accentuated when Broad claimed Rogers off the first ball he bowled today. Rogers was disappointed because he moved back early and was in a position to cut, but somehow contrived to get himself dismissed.
Watson was defensive from the outset and in the initial period of play Warner didn’t get much of the strike. When Watson pulled Tremlett for a boundary, it did seem that he would start off from where he left in the final Test in England. The next short ball that Tremlett bowled; Watson top-edged and was dismissed.
At 75/2, Australia seemed to be in a spot of bother. It was a no brainer after the first innings’ dismissal that Broad would be on as soon as Clarke came to the crease. He bowled a couple of short balls and Clarke made his intentions clear when he pulled both of them. The first went to deep midwicket and the second pull was played behind the square.
After that point, Clarke was surprised by a short ball only once. He seemed to be buzzing with confidence today, so much so that after playing a drive off a wide ball, he shrieked ‘yeahhhhhhhhhhh’ in appreciation of the shot he played.
One of the best aspect of this partnership was the way they both handled Swann. Because they moved their feet well to his bowling, he was forced to alter the length of his deliveries, which the batsmen were quick to pounce upon.
Another thing impressive about these batsmen was the way they ran. Warner got a sum total of 37 runs from 2’s and 3’s. Clarke too totalled the same. In the entire innings, Clarke was troubled by Swann in the 43rd over. Warner credited his footwork for the runs he got today. He said he was concrete footed against spin early in the year and did some work on the foot movement through the year. He was glad that it paid off.
Warner reached his century first and looked to attack once he crossed the milestone. He lofted Broad straight back over his head for a six and fell in the same over. Bailey was initially quiet against the pace bowlers and exploded when Swann and Root bowled in tandem. Clarke reached his century and fell to Swann while trying to up the rate.
Haddin and Johnson continued from the first innings but in an attacking mode. Haddin, in particular, looked to attack every single ball that he faced. Johnson was subjected to a short ball barrage by the fast bowlers. He withstood that and attacked them when they erred in line and length. He was also brutal against the spinners.
At 75/2, when it looked like the familiar old tale for Australia, they managed to turn it around. The growth of Warner as a batsman augurs well for them not just for this series but also for the upcoming series’
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