With a sizable lead ( set to grow ) and in complete control, it is hard to see England losing the Ashes 2010 from here even as Australia are set to bury their heads in the sand for the first time in over two decades at home.
Jonathan Trott’s century further lifted England’s chances of retaining the Ashes urn at the Melbourne Cricket Ground itself at stumps on the second day in the fourth Test of the Ashes. After Australia were shot out for their worst total in the Ashes in a long time, they are now probably going to fare more ignominy as the Ashes hold has all but slipped away.
Australia’s top score was a bare twenty and that too from Michael Clarke as Australia were dismissed for only ninety-eight in the first innings on the first day itself as England wrung in the chances and capitalized on their opportunities. England swapped the fatigued Steven Finn for Tim Bresnan while James Anderson and Chris Tremlett continued to steam in with self assured and purpose that yielded immense success for England on the first day of the Test itself.
Anderson and Tremlett picked up four wickets apiece in a crushing spell of fast bowling that would have set Australia back, particularly after doing a similar routine on England in the third Test in Perth to level the series. But Australia did not have the fightback of Hussey this time as the England bowlers kept a tight leash on things, bowl tight and deadly and trapping the Australians at the crease.
The bowling rewards were complemented by the tremendous opening partnership for England that yielded 159 runs that had the writing pretty much on the wall on what Australia needed to do in order to come back into the Test. However, if Australia are hoping to respond better batting second, the challenge has also increased tremendously after Trott scored yet another century on this tour that is set to haunt Australia.
Andrew Strauss could only manage a half century, sixty-nine runs to be precise, while Alastair Cook came close to a century on eighty-two runs. However, Trott did not let go of the opportunity, punctuated by a strong unbeaten 158 run partnership with Matt Prior after a promising ninety-two run dalliance with Kevin Pietersen who pocketed a half century himself before Peter Siddle picked up his third wicket of the innings.
The fact that Ricky Ponting‘s Australian captaincy was about to go up in ashes was not lost in him as he led a furious protest against the umpires against the Umpire Decision Review System ( UDRS) upheld the decision of the umpires on the field to give Pietersen not out earlier.
Trott’s partnership with Prior pulled England further away from Australia, leaving none in doubt that this Test match would be a major uphill, history making one if Australia were going to overcome. At stumps it was beginning to look less likely with England batting on 444 for five, with a lead that will make Australia sullen about their chances of regaining the Ashes urn from England.