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Aussies wrest initiative
The Ashes 2013-14: Aussies Wrest Initiative, Australia Vs England. It was a magnificent comeback by Australians. They dominated the second day proceedings with the bowlers shattering the hopes of England's famed batting line up to end the day at a comfortable position if the first Ashes Test here on Friday.
Melbourne: It was a magnificent comeback by Australians. They dominated the second day proceedings with the bowlers shattering the hopes of England's famed batting line up to end the day at a comfortable position if the first Ashes Test here on Friday.
After scalping six wickets while conceding a mere nine runs on a day of dramatic developments, Australian bowlers dismissed the tourists for 136. With 65 for no loss, they ended the day with an overall lead of 214 runs. Oft-pilloried pacemen Mitchell Johnson led the way with four for 61 as Australia, bowled out for 295 in the first hour of the day, took a firm grip on the Gabba contest.
The revitalised left-arm paceman got plenty of bounce out of the Brisbane track with his slingshot action and plenty of support from fellow paceman Ryan Harris (3-28) as well as spinner Nathan Lyon (2-17). Stuart Broad, who finished with figures of six for 81 with the ball, fought a rearguard action with a spirited 32 and was the last England batsman to fall, caught in the deep by Chris Rogers off Peter Siddle.
It marked a remarkable turnaround after England had skittled Australia's top order to take charge on day one.
Despite the cheap losses of captain Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott before lunch, England looked to be making steady progress towards a reasonable score at 82-2 midway through the second session.
The departure of Kevin Pietersen for 18, when he swatted the ball off his pads to George Bailey at midwicket to give Harris his second wicket, was a sign of the carnage to come. Emboldened by the dismissal of one of England's most dangerous batsmen, Johnson and his fellow bowlers ran rampant to leave the tourists facing an uphill task just to save the Test let alone secure a first victory in Brisbane since 1986.
Opener Michael Carberry, who had crafted a careful 40 on his Ashes debut in his second Test, was next to head back to the pavilion when Johnson had him caught by Shane Watson at second slip. Ian Bell, who scored three centuries in England's 3-0 triumph on home soil earlier this year, followed quickly afterwards for five when Steve Smith snatched the ball out of the air at short leg.
It was Smith's conviction that Matt Prior had hit the following ball before it landed in his hands that led to Australia successfully appealing to the TV umpire and sent the wicketkeeper back to the dressing room with a golden duck. That put Lyon on a hat-trick and, although Broad safely watched the delivery sail past his off stump, Joe Root (2) and Graeme Swann (0) soon became Johnson's third and fourth victims.
The Gabba was in ferment, England's Barmy Army silent, as Johnson, the object of so much derision from English fans, celebrated what was a match-changing, and could turn out to be a match-winning, intervention. After tea, Broad and Tremlett ushered England past the follow-on but the latter was well caught by Lyon after another successful short ball from Siddle to bring out the last England batsmen.
Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin had been run out for 94 to end Australia's innings but his catches accounted for the wickets of Cook and Trott to give him 200 career dismissals.