Aus in dire straits at lunch on Day 1

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Published: Thursday, December 16, 2010, 11:18 [IST]
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Aus in dire straits at lunch on Day 1

On the eve of the third Test against England, Australia coach Tim Nielsen waxed positive with the bawdy opinion that Australia could effect a turnaround in the ongoing Ashes series. But a different story was playing out in the first session of the Test at Perth. The England speedsters inflicted a great amount of damage on the Australian first innings, reducing the hosts to 36/4 in 16 overs before Michael Hussey and Steven Smith staged a slight recovery to take their side to 65/4 at lunch.

In just the second over of the day, rookie fast bowler Chris Tremlett clean bowled new-comer batsmen Philip Hughes, for just 2. Australia were 2/1 in 2 overs. One-down batsman Ricky Ponting counter-attacked by smacking Tremlett for two fours in the fourth over, but Anderson ended Ponting's belligerence when in the next over, he came back from being hit for a four to square leg to get the Aussie captain caught superbly by Paul Collingwood at third slip. Ponting was on his way for 12 and Australia were in spot of bother at 17/2.

Tremlett picked up his second wicket just a couple of overs later when he had Michael Clarke caught behind for 4 to as ball that bounced a little. Clarke had to walk back to the shed for 4 and Australia were in deeper trouble at 28/3. The new batsman Michael Hussey and surviving opener Shane Watson tried to steady the innings, but the England pacers were on a roll. In the 17th over, Steven Finn trapped Watson plumb in front for 13 and Australia had slumped to 36/4.

Apparently possessing a degree in crisis management, Michael Hussey hit back, striking Finn for two consecutive boundaries in the same over, one between cover and mid-off and one, splitting gully and the slip-cordon. In the 23rd over, Hussey again got stuck into Finn, hitting him for a huge six through a genuine top edge and then a four past mid off. Australia had moved past the 50 mark and a recovery was on the cards when the hosts pulled up for lunch at 65/4 at the completion of 26 overs.


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