Puberty for 'Pup'
Two years ago, Michael Clarke won the Allan Border medal
on the back of a string of splendid performances, including becoming the first Australian to score a test century on debut
(in India) and at home
. He then went through a form slump, got a fair bit of advice
and was dropped for a couple of series
Today, he made his third test century
, one that has more or less ensured that the Adelaide test
is heading towards a draw. England are 97 runs ahead and have 9 wickets in hand. Unless they score something like 200 runs in the first session, I can't see them declaring, given Australia have the batting ability to score at 4 runs an over over two sessions and since England've not shown the bowling ability to take wickets at a rapid rate.
That said, the first two innings were far
too similar to that freak game
. Both teams making 500+ totals, two contrasting players (one making 200, other making a huge 100) from the opposition making Australia's leg-spinner look like a club bowler. But the difference has been in the scoring rate. In 2003/04, Australia scored at 4.38 and 3.5 runs an over while India scored at 3.3 and 3.2 runs an over. In the on-going game, the scoring rates are markedly slower - England 3.28 while Australia scored at 3.11!
The pitches so far have been very strange though - very easy for batting. It's almost as though the curators are ensuring that Australia don't get into trouble if England's bowlers (Harmison
avg. 273, Anderson 140, Giles
avg. 108, Flintoff avg. 38 and Hoggard avg. 28) get it right. But if that is indeed the tactic, it does nothing to help Australia's bowlers (Lee avg. 100, Warne avg. 67, McGrath avg. 32 and Clark avg. 16)
NB: The title is purely to avoid the clichéd references to 'coming of age' and thus grab your attention.
Labels: ashes, ashes 2006, australia, clarke, england