|Ground:||Kennington Oval, Kennington|
|Scorecard:||England v Australia|
|Player:||AN Cook, MA Starc, MR Marsh, PM Siddle, SPD Smith|
|Event:||Australia in England and Ireland 2015|
Australia in complete command as England collapse
London Englands spectacular batting collapse in the last session of play on the second day, has placed Australia in total control of the fifth Test. The tourists batting led by Steve Smith finally came good as they hit 481, their highest total of the series after the second Test at Lords. England, in their response, which began shortly before tea struggled from the start of their innings surrendering eight wickets for 92 to end the day on 107 for eight inside 35 overs and trailing by 374 runs.
They will start the third day needing 175 to avoid the follow-on and with the bowlers fresh at the start of the day, the two remaining wickets are unlikely to last long. It is also very likely that the Test will end on the third day as the two previous ones have done except the results then were in Englands favour.
There was a total lack of application in the England batting and after the top order batsmen departed the middle order showed little sign of resistance. England lost both opening batsmen in 12.2 overs with 46 on the scoreboard. Alastair Cook went for 22 and Adam Lyth for 19 leaving the middle order with a major task of reviving the innings. But that wasnt to happen.
Peter Siddle, who had accounted for Lyths wicket with his second ball of the series, clipped Ian Bells off bail and four runs later Joe Root was held behind with the faintest touch off Mitchell Marsh. He was given not out but Australia succeeded in their appeal reducing England to 64 for four. Jonny Bairstow pulled a bouncer from Mitchell Johnson into the hands of deep backward square leg and a run later, on 84, Jos Buttler was bowled between bat and pad by Nathan Lyon.
Marshs inspired spell continued with England on 92 when both Ben Stokes, on 15, and Stuart Broad without scoring, were dismissed giving Marsh 3 for 4 in 14 balls. It left Moeen AIi and Mark Wood with 8 each to see out the miserable day for the home side.
Earlier, resuming on the overnight score of 287 for three, Smith and Adam Voges batted for an hour, taking their stand to 146 before Voges, having reached his second Test half century, fell lbw to Stokes. It was an excellent in-swinger which pinned the batsman right in front but he asked for a review of the umpires decision and not surprisingly it went against him. His 76 runs had come from 130 balls but more importantly he had helped to revive Australias innings after it had faltered on the previous day with three wickets falling for 76 runs.
Smith meanwhile had taken his overnight score of 78 watchfully to 92 by Voges dismissal and had continued to hold the innings together showing the batting form that had him No1 in world rankings until two Tests ago when Joe Root pushed him out of that spot.
Smith kept picking up runs to bring up his 11th Test century from 197 balls but meanwhile lost Marsh for three and Australia were 343 for five. Marsh, who was back in the team after losing his place in the previous Test to his brother Sean, was held at second slip, a good overhead catch by Bell, off a rising ball outside off stump which he should have left.
The tourists innings suffered a collapse with Voges wicket, losing four for 44. Moeen Ali removed both Peter Nevill and Johnson in the last over before lunch which was taken on 376 for seven. With the fall of wickets just before lunch, the morning session had gone much in Englands favour as Australia lost four wickets for 89 in 26.2 overs. Nevill was held off the bottom edge as he tried to sweep and on that same score of 376, two balls later, Johnson was beaten and bowled as he went forward defensively to an off spin.
After the break, Mitchell Starc joined Smith and the partnership prospered with 91 runs being added quite rapidly from 94 balls. Smith, on reaching 100 went down the pitch to lift Ali for a straight six which took their stand to 50 and Smith followed that with a four. The fast-scoring stand was ended with Smith dragging a ball from Steve Fin on to his stumps on 143 from 252 balls which included 17 fours and two sixes. His innings had spanned six-and-a-half-hours and provided the strength that Australia required to compile a large total.
The next over after Smiths dismissal accounted for Starcs wicket, his 58 was his second Test half century. The umpire had turned down the lbw appeal but England asked for a review and that was successful. The ninth wicket had fallen on 475 and six runs later Finn wound up the innings claiming his third wicket for 90.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2015 Andy Jalil)