Anderson limits Australia to 245
England defied conditions and expectations to bowl Australia out for just 245 on the first day of the second Ashes Test.
Faced with a flat pitch, clear blue skies and temperatures comfortably in excess of 30 degrees Celsius, England made light of losing the toss to mount the most sensational of starts at the Adelaide Oval.
Two wickets fell in the opening over, including Ricky Ponting first ball, and another to the first delivery of the third as Australia slumped to a scarcely believable two for three.
Although Mike Hussey shared partly restorative stands with Shane Watson, Marcus North and Brad Haddin on his way to 93, Graeme Swann struck twice in two balls to herald a lower-order collapse that saw the last five wickets tumble for 38 runs.
Swann bowled 29 overs for his 2-70 and Stuart Broad completed the job by removing Haddin for 56, but Anderson deserves the greatest credit for a masterful display of swing bowling in conditions weighted firmly in favour of the batsmen.
His rewards for a fine new-ball spell were the wickets of Ponting and Michael Clarke, and he demonstrated great perseverance to remove Watson for 51 en route to hugely impressive figures of 4-51 from 19 never less than threatening overs.
England’s excellence was mirrored in the field, where two run-outs helped undermine an Australia innings featuring seven single-figure scores.
To cap an excellent day’s work, Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook successfully negotiated the one over possible in reply as England closed on one without loss.
Just as England made a dreadful start by losing Strauss to the third ball of the first Test, so Australia suffered similar early misery here.
Quite why Simon Katich was so reluctant to answer Watson’s call for a single just in front of square on the leg side remains a mystery. Not that it bothered Jonathan Trott, who took aim before hitting the base of the one full stump he had to aim at, at the striker’s end. Katich, who did not face a ball, was not even in the frame
England’s joy turned to euphoria when Ponting, playing his 150th Test, was drawn forward by the next delivery, an Anderson outswinger. He edged to Swann’s left at second slip, sparking delirious celebrations on the pitch and amongst the sizeable contingent of England fans.
Australia’s plight deepened as the woefully out-of-form Clarke, having played and missed twice at Broad, paid the price for a lack of foot movement and provided Swann with a much more straightforward chance, again off the potent Anderson.
The game was but 13 balls old and Australia, hoping to make best use of a pacy yet true surface - albeit one with a fair covering of grass - were reeling like at no point in living memory.
There were moments of alarm as Watson and Hussey rallied: the former survived England’s review against an unsuccessful lbw shout from Anderson, who then put down a sharp chance by his left boot in his follow-through to reprieve Hussey on three.
That would have left Australia 12 for four, but Watson - latching on to anything marginally overpitched - and Hussey, who drove with style, set about repairing the damage in noticeably aggressive fashion during a fourth-wicket partnership of 94.
Watson drilled Swann over wide long-on into the new Western Grandstand shortly before bringing up an 82-ball half-century also containing seven fours, but he perished for 51 shortly after lunch when, chasing Anderson, he sliced a drive to Kevin Pietersen at backward point.
North accompanied the resourceful Hussey to 50, which spanned 95 deliveries, and both left-handers continued to bat with assurance until North, on 26, attempted to cut a delivery from Steven Finn which was too close to him and edged behind.
The Hussey-Haddin alliance, worth 307 at the Gabba last week, yielded 51 today, which, though valuable, failed to wrest the initiative from a disciplined and outwardly aggressive England side.
Two wickets in as many balls from Swann ended any remaining hopes of a sizeable first-innings total.
Hussey, who used his feet so well to the off-spinner, perished when he stayed in his crease, edging a drive to Paul Collingwood at slip, and Ryan Harris - recalled to the side at the expense of Ben Hilfenhaus - was lbw playing back. The suggestion of inside edge was not sufficient to persuade TV umpire Billy Doctrove to overturn the decision on review.
Smart work from a diving Strauss at midwicket, a flicked throw and a relay from Cook at short-leg saw Xavier Doherty run out following a mix-up with Haddin, who top-edged a hook at Broad to fine-leg after Anderson had Peter Siddle taken at midwicket by Cook.
That Strauss and Cook received a few choice words from Ponting after England survived one over with the bat said much about where the psychological advantage lies.