The Ashes: Peter Siddle leads the charge at The Oval

Andrew Flintoff ignited neither his own farewell nor England’s middle order in his final Test, joining colleagues in throwing away their wickets as Australia forcefully took ascendancy on day one at The Oval on the back of four wickets by Peter Siddle.However, spin is set to play the decisive role in this fifth and deciding Ashes match with the pitch already deteriorating to a point where it resembles a day-four strip, breaking up and losing turf with each bowler’s follow-through.Australia retained their four-man pace attack for the game and do not have a specialist tweaker. Click here for the full scorecardWhile debutant Jonathan Trott proved he is made of stern stuff with 41, England were guilty of gifting their scalps to Australia, rather than losing them to outstanding deliveries to reach 8-307 at stumps.This was Australia’s day, no doubt, but concern will remain of Graeme Swann’s potential impact on their batsmen. The English off spinner hardly injects fear with his efforts thus far this series – six wickets for 409 runs at the horrendous average of 68.16 – but on this deck it is he, and not Flintoff, for whom the stage is set.”If your job in the side is bowling spin, you couldn’t ask for better conditions,” Shane Warne salivated from the commentary box.”What a time to make a name for yourself and put your hand up.”Siddle (4-63 from 18.3 overs) has become the leading wicket-taker of the series with 20 and dismissed Swann with the final ball of the day, caught behind for 18.Every English dismissal except Trott’s came as a result of batting carelessness, prodding too often at wide or probing balls that reached delighted fielders.Trott was run out superbly by a fast-reacting Simon Katich at short leg in one of the finest plays of the series, while Stuart Broad (26 not out) was lucky to see the day out after two near misses off his bat just defeated the clutches of wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.Trott jumped forward to a Marcus North delivery that was edged to Katich, who rose and threw down the stumps in a seamless motion as the batsman dived in too late.England’s top scorer Ian Bell, with 72, clipped a Siddle delivery onto his off-stump immediately after tea, giving the Victorian his third wicket.Bell had survived a spirited first spell from Mitchell Johnson, who frightened him so with short deliveries that the batsman – who will age to look like Richard Branson – fended them like a virgin, with eyes closed. Yet he steered the ball without control to safe areas and then proceeded to score deceiving quickly.Johnson (2-69) was costly but bowled a wicked last spell by taking 2-8 in 18 balls including the prized catch of Flintoff, who slashed at a wider ball but gloved it to Haddin to score seven uninspiring runs.Despite the half-centuries by Bell and England captain Andrew Strauss – who had earlier won his fourth toss of the series on a darkly overcast morning in London – the home side failed to take full advantage.The billiard table outfield offered countless boundaries and patience was rewarded but England showed none, losing wickets each time they threatened to produce a meaningful partnership.Paul Collingwood (24) had opened the door for Trott by whipping his bat at a wide delivery from Siddle, edging the ball to gully Michael Hussey. His weakness for wide deliveries was exposed again.Trott took 12 balls to get off the mark as Australia crowded his bat and searched him with bouncers, but received a rousing ovation when he flicked Marcus North for two runs.He showed poise and commendable temperament in his 81-ball innings, far exceeding the best score from predecessor Ravi Bopara in the previous four Tests.Ponting had earlier taken an offensive stance when questioned about Trott, as the two teams approached the match locked at 1-1 – the first time since 1966 the fifth Test is being played to break that deadlock.”I think there’ll be huge pressure on him to tell the truth,’’ Ponting said.”It’s always hard making your debut in a Test match against Australia, let alone being in such a big game, as this one is. We’ve had the chance over the last few days to have a good look at how he plays, we spoke to a few of the Australian guys in the county circuit as well about how he plays and we’ve got some footage from one-day and Twenty20 stuff he’s played earlier this season.”There’s no doubt that middle order, the three they’ve got there in Bell, Trott and Collingwood, will be under some sort of pressure at different times in this game.” smh南京夜网.au
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