Written by Staff Writer
09 Dec, 2013 | 5:38 pm
Michael Clarke’s Australians finished off England in eleven overs on Monday to win the second test by 218 runs and take a 2-0 series lead into Perth, where they are aiming to regain the Ashes with a third straight win.
England had been behind the game at Adelaide since dropping three catches late on day one to let Australia off the hook after taking three quick wickets. Australia recovered to make 570-9 declared, then Mitchell Johnson took 7-40 with some fearsome short-pitch bowling to skittle England for 172.
Australia cruised to 132-3 in its second innings before Clarke declared again, 10 minutes before play on day four, and setting England an improbable 531 to win.
“It is not a surprise we have had this success,” Australia captain Clarke said. “We have got a very good team that are at the top of our game at the moment, so I am extremely pleased.”
Resuming on 247-6 Monday, England was bowled out for 312. Joe Root (87) and Kevin Pietersen (53) prolonged the innings with a 111-run third-wicket stand on day four, and Matt Prior (69) batted defiantly until he was out hooking Peter Siddle (4-57) in the fifth day’s rain-delayed session.
“On the first day we had an opportunity, we let a few catches go and they made us pay for that,” England captain Alastair Cook said. “The main difference was Australia took their chances well. It’s been a tough five days.”
Mitchell Johnson was voted player of the match for the second test in succession. He now has 17 wickets for the series and is primed for the third test at the WACA, where he revels in the extra pace and bounce and has his career-best figures.
“When Mitch bowls the way he did in that first innings, that makes life easier for all the bowlers,” Clarke said. ” I thought the whole bowling attack did another fantastic job in this test match, so the other guys deserve a lot of credit as well.”
Australia needed four wickets on the last day to complete the win at the Adelaide Oval, but early morning rain and the forecast for a storm caused some nerves.
After the start of play by was delayed 10 minutes, Stuart Broad pulled a six from Siddle on the fourth ball of the morning to drag England past 250.
But he was out trying the same trick to the next ball, pulling Siddle to Nathan Lyon at backward square leg to end a 45-run stand with Prior as England slipped to 255-7.
Prior passed his half century and stroked boundaries in a 38-run eighth-wicket partnership until Graeme Swann (6) edged Ryan Harris to Michael Clarke at second slip.
After failing to post more than 180 in its first three innings of the series, Prior’s cover drive off Siddle took England past 300 in the ninth over of the morning. But he was out next ball hooking Siddle to Harris. On the up side for Prior, his half century ended a run of three poor innings in which he tallied just four runs.
Monty Panesar was the last man out, sparking celebrations in Australia. England has won the last three Ashes series, including a 3-0 win at home in August. Now they’re possibly only a test away from losing the urn to an Australian team that hadn’t won a test in 11 months until its victory in Brisbane in the first test last month.
“What we can’t do is feel sorry for ourselves,” Cook said. “We’re 2-0 down, but that doesn’t mean we can’t win (the series).”
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