Aus wobble to 134/4 on rainy Day 1

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Published: Monday, January 3, 2011, 14:10 [IST]
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Aus wobble to 134/4 on rainy Day 1

On Day 1 of the fifth and final Ashes Test of England's tour of Australia 2010-11, the hosts won the toss and opted to bat first. It looked like the Aussies were intent on quelling the mistakes of their previous few encounters by getting off to a positive start. But after a 55-run opening stand, they slipped to 134/4 at stumps as English pace bowler Tim Bresnan led the English charge with 2 wickets.

After a quiet first three overs, Australian opener Philip Hughes struck the first boundary, courtesy a confident drive past mid-on. Hughes and his partner Shane Watson took their time to settle in, not pushing for too many runs early on. But in the 13th over, Hughes cut loose to heave Bresnan away for two fours, one, a cover drive, and the other, a square cut. Australia had moved to 28/0 in 13 overs.

Hughes then took Australia to the 50-run mark with a boundary of off-spinner Graeme Swann in the 21st over. Watson in the meantime was playing very cautiously. 5 runs and 8 over later, English speedster Chris Tremlett, got the opening breakthrough when he had Hughes caught by Paul Collingwood at third slip. Hughes' patient innings had come to an end for 31 and Australia were 55/1 at lunch.

Debutant Usman Khawaja , who was filling in for an injured Ponting, began his innings in confident fashion, pulling Tremlett for a mid-wicket boundary in the first over after the break. Watson, then got into the act, clipping James Anderson away for a boundary in the same region. Khawaja replied to that shot in the next over, with another four off Tremlett, this time, through square leg. Then Watson sliced Anderson over the slip cordon for another four and Australia had climbed to 79/1 in 33 overs.

In the next 6 overs, Watson struck another couple of boundaries and Khawaj pitched in with one, before the former took three runs of Collingwood as Australia moved past 100. In the dramatic 44th over, Watson got Tim Bresnan away for a mid-wicket four, but just two balls later succumbed to the paceman when he edged a delivery straight to English captain Andrew Strauss in the slips.

With Khawaj settling in nicely on 26 and Aussie captain Michael Clarke on 4, the rains came and forced the players into tea. Australia were looking strong at 111/2 at the end of 48 overs. But it seemed the break had taken something away from the batsmen's concentration, for in the 51st over Bresnan had Clarke caught by Anderson at gully, for 4. Australia had fallen to 113 for 3.

Khawaja biffed a couple more powerful boundaries before in the last over of the day, Swann foxed him. The batsman lobbed up the ball to square leg where Jonathan Trott took an easy catch. Australia had slumped to 134/4 as England clawed their way back into the match. Now, Hussey, who is not out on 12 and Haddin, presently on 0, will have to consolidate well as the rest of the order too would have to contribute heavily if their side is to post a challenging total.


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