By Rob Barnett
Ryan Harris, the outstanding bowler at the MCG on Boxing Day, believes Australia shaded the first day of the Melbourne Ashes Test.
The experienced seamer returned outstanding figures of 20-8-32-2 as England were limited to 226 for six after being put in.
Kevin Pietersen’s unbeaten 67 provided the tourists’ chief resistance as the rest of the top seven could not turn double-figure scores into a half-century.
That was chiefly due to the bowlers overcoming an indifferent start to limit scoring opportunities in front of a world-record cricket crowd of 91,092 at the MCG.
“We didn’t start off as well as we’d have liked. If you win the toss and bowl you want to make sure you’re firing from both ends and we didn’t do that,” Harris admitted.
“But once again we pulled it back and I think six for 220 at the end of the day, with three chances down as well, it’s a pretty good day I think.”
Once Australia had gauged the best line and length to bowl on a true surface, they profited with fairly regular wickets.
“I thought we bowled really well to be honest, after that first hour, hour and a half, I thought we bowled really well and they found it really hard to score,” Harris added.
“They were probably being watchful, but again we didn’t give them bad balls for them to hit and to release the pressure. That was our goal, to bowl lots of dots, and we did that and in the end we got some wickets from it.”
Harris revealed that Michael Clarke was uncertain what to do at the toss, although the bowler got his wish.
“It was difficult. I think Michael wanted to lose this one. He didn’t know what to do. When he left for the toss he was batting,” Harris joked.
“(Australia coach) Darren (Lehmann) and a couple of other blokes were out there (earlier) and had a chat, and there was a bit of moisture in it.
“I was hoping to bowl to be honest. When I saw the conditions, the conditions were a bit like Brisbane with a bit of humidity around, a bit sticky, so I was keen to bowl and he thought the same.”