A DISCIPLINED England attack shrugged off the challenge of a bland Adelaide Oval wicket to limit Australia to 273-5 and leave the second Ashes Test delicately poised after the opening day on Thursday. Trailing 1-0 in the five-Test series, England could do little about the coin-toss, but will rue some poor fielding late in the day, with three dropped catches letting Australia off the hook.
The third, a regulation chance spilled by two-Test opener Michael Carberry at backward point, spared Brad Haddin in the third-last over and the wicketkeeper survived to stumps on seven not out with Australia captain Michael Clarke on 48.
“I think it’s a fairly even day,” spinner Graeme Swann, who took a sharp catch at backward square leg to remove George Bailey on 53, told reporters. “Having lost the toss at Adelaide you always fear the worst as a bowler but I think five wickets in a day is a pretty good return. Obviously six or seven would have been a lot better. We missed a couple of half-chances that we’ll rue but if we turn up in the morning and take a couple of quick wickets, it could all quickly be forgotten.”
Blessed to bat first on a gentle Adelaide Oval wicket, Australia failed to cash in with four of their five batsmen throwing away their wickets after making promising starts. In the final hour’s play, Bailey was the third to score a half-century, his maiden in his second Test, but will regret flashing at a Stuart Broad delivery that ended up in a leaping Swann’s sure hands.
Like Chris Rogers (72) and Shane Watson (51) before him, the one-day specialist Bailey was on top of the England bowlers and had carted recalled spinner Monty Panesar for two sixes over his head and Broad for a third over the square boundary.
The England selectors’ decision to pick a second spinner was validated as Swann and Panesar gleaned some encouraging turn from a flat deck that offered little for seamers Broad and James Anderson. Captain Alastair Cook may rue the loss of a second straight toss with the wicket likely to break up later in the match, however.
HE would certainly have bemoaned the dropped catches that would have seen both Clarke and Bailey trudge back to the dressing room and expose Australia’s tail. Panesar spilled a knee-high chance off his own bowling in the seventh over after lunch, granting