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England seizes Ashes initiative
Nick Mulvenney
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 08 - 12 - 2010

ADELAIDE: England completed a ruthless humiliation of Australia with its biggest Ashes victory in 24 years Tuesday, routing its host by an innings and 71 runs to take a firm grip on the five-Test series.
The tourists skittled Australia's last six batsmen for 66 runs on a sunny Adelaide morning and were already celebrating the second Test triumph in the dressing room when the huge rainstorm that the locals had been praying for finally broke.
It was England's first Test victory on Australian soil since the 2002-03 tour and a first series lead in Australia since 1986-87 - the last time the side returned home with the urn.
England has clearly lost the fear of playing Australians in Australia but the mantra of this touring party is “no complacency” and skipper Andrews Strauss was barely off the pitch before he was warning against it.
“We need to enjoy this and savor it, because it was a special victory for us,” he said. “But we need to make sure that we don't take our foot off the pedal because we know Australia are going to come back at us hard and if we give them any way back into the series, they'll take it. We've got to be prepared for a scrap in these last three test matches.”
Every part of the England machine functioned smoothly.
The bowlers dismissed Australia out for 245 on a flat track on the first day, the batsmen accumulated 620-5 declared to capitalize on that, and spinner Graeme Swann mopped up on the last day.
Australia has nine days to get its act together before the third Test starts in Perth on Dec. 16 but looks bereft of options, particularly in the bowling unit after its overhauled attack managed just five wickets in Adelaide.
Ricky Ponting, facing the prospect of becoming the first Australia captain to lose three Ashes series, was reduced to simply exhorting his players to up their game. “It's pretty simple, we need to win two of the next three games if we want to win the Ashes but we've got to play a bit better than we have the last Test match and a half,” he said. “They've outbatted us, outbowled us, and outfielded us this entire game ... We're going to have to be at our very best if we're going to work our way back into this series.”
Australia had resumed on 238 for four, having lost the key wicket of Michael Clarke to part-time spinner Kevin Pietersen on the last ball of day four.
With Clarke, his team's best player of spin, back in the pavilion, the Australians were always going to struggle on a fifth-day pitch providing turn for Swann.
Any hopes of a gritty fight back to salvage a draw were extinguished quickly when Mike Hussey, who had been the pick of Australia's batsmen in the series to date, attempted a rash pull shot off the bowling of England quick Steve Finn.
Anderson took the easiest of catches at mid-on to remove Hussey for 52, then struck with his own bowling, dispensing with Brad Haddin courtesy of an outside edge for 12.
Anderson then trapped Ryan Harris lbw for his second golden duck of the match on the next ball, though he was denied a hat trick when Xavier Doherty fended off a short-pitched delivery on the first ball of his next over.
In between, Swann had accounted for the out-of-form Marcus North with a plumb lbw, although he was forced to call for the TV umpire after his appeal was refused, to give England three wickets in four deliveries.
The spinner then delivered the coup de grace, clinching a comprehensive victory by bowling both Doherty for five and Peter Siddle for six to finish with five for 91 and the Australians all out for 304.
The final dismissal prompted wild celebrations on the pitch as the players rushed to embrace as England's “Barmy Army” of cricket fans roared with delight. Pietersen was awarded man of the match honors, mainly for his career-best innings of 227.
England suffered a blow before play commenced with the news that fast bowler Stuart Broad had been ruled out of the rest of the series with a torn abdominal muscle.
Australian batsman Simon Katich is also likely out for the series with an Achilles injury. “It's a big loss for us, no doubt,” said Ponting. “He's an experienced player and a great character to have around the team.”


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