Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Australia has clinched a dramatic win in the second 2006-07 Ashes Test match in Adelaide. In a massive swing of dominance and control, England forfeited a huge advantage on the fifth and final day after controlling the Test for the first four.
England won the toss and batted first on the Adelaide Oval wicket. After losing a couple of early wickets, they recovered to amass 6-551 dec. spanning the opening two days. Paul Collingwood scored a patient 206, whilst teammate Kevin Pietersen built an innings of 158 in a much more brief fashion.
In response, Australia began their first innings poorly, losing Matthew Hayden before the close of play on day 2. On the morning of day 3, Justin Langer and Damien Martyn also fell cheaply. However, a captain’s effort by Ricky Ponting (142) and support by Michael Clarke (124), as well as cameos by Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne, helped the Aussies to just shy of England’s massive total. Matthew Hoggard was the shining light for the visitors, taking 7-109.
England resumed the fifth day at 1-59, and the match looked headed for a draw. However, with some magic from Shane Warne, Australia managed to roll England for just 129 in the last over before tea, setting up a thrilling final session run chase. Warne took 4-49, and was backed up well by Glenn McGrath, who took 2-15.
Requiring 168 to win off 35 overs, Australia came out firing, scoring quickly before losing both Hayden and Justin Langer early. Ricky Ponting was joined by Michael Hussey, who was promoted to number four, and built a steady partnership before Ponting was dismissed for 49. Damien Martyn then fell cheaply, and Hussey was joined by Michael Clarke to complete the chase. The pair batted through to the total was reached, with Hussey scoring 61 not out. Australia reached the target with 19 balls to spare, at 6:45pm local time.
No team had lost after declaring on as high a total batting first as England did in more than 125 years of Tests. As a Nine Network commentator described it, “Australia has just won the most extraordinary Test match; however, it was [a Test] that England should never have lost”. Prior to the start of play, bookmakers had a draw paying $1.02.
Australia now go into the third test at the WACA ground in Perth, Western Australia knowing one more win will reclaim the Ashes urn which they lost for the first time in over a decade in England during 2005.