England efficiency delights Strauss
Captain Andrew Strauss saluted a “clinical” England performance after they inflicted a crushing defeat on Australia in Adelaide.
Having dismissed the hosts for 245 in the first innings and then romping to 620 for five declared in reply, England swept through the middle and lower order today, claiming the six wickets they required an hour before lunch.
In bowling Australia out for 304, thanks largely to Graeme Swann’s 5-91, England wrapped up an innings-and-71-run win, the first of such magnitude over the old enemy since 1986.
England lead the best-of-five series 1-0 heading into the third Test in Perth, which starts on December 16.
“We were pretty clinical in everything we did this game,” Strauss said. “Bowling them out for 245 on the first day was an outstanding effort, and then we didn’t let them back into the game.
“A lot of boxes were ticked in this game and we’re pretty happy with our performance.
“We’re always conscious that if you start patting yourself on the back too much in cricket it comes back to haunt you, but we’re going to enjoy tonight - we deserved the victory - but that Perth Test match is even more important now.”
Despite losing the toss, Strauss saw his side reduce Australia to two for three on the first morning, thanks to Jonathan Trott’s run-out of Simon Katich and two wickets for James Anderson.
That England never let Australia recover from a position of such peril was central to their success, he claimed.
“To take three wickets in the first two overs, you’re right ahead of the game from the off - and takes a lot of dragging back from the opposition to get themselves back into out,” Strauss added.
“Trotty’s run-out and Jimmy’s awayswing bowling was the catalyst for everything that followed.
“When you’re confident things start happening for you as a matter of course. You don’t have to force the issue too much.”
Kevin Pietersen’s 227 was the cornerstone of England’s only innings with the bat, and Strauss felt it was a performance that had been coming after Pietersen’s poor run of form.
“He’s been threatening to play like that for a while, certainly all through the warm-up games,” said Strauss.
“There just looked to be a bit of a swagger about him and he was seeing the ball well and early.
“It’s great for us, because when he is on song he dominates bowling attacks, and not many players can do that. It’s very hard for opposition captains.”
England’s comprehensive triumph not only means Australia must win two of the remaining three Tests to stand any chance of regaining the Ashes, but also helped banish the memory of defeat at the Adelaide Oval on the last tour Down Under.
Almost four years ago to the day England contrived to lose a game from a position of some comfort, having declared on 551 for six in the first innings. They were bowled out for 129 second time around before Australia chased 168 for victory.
“You’re always thinking back to what happened four years ago and could Australia find a way of getting themselves back in the game,” admitted Strauss. “It was a long time ago, and not a lot of this team were involved in it, thankfully.
“We’ve seen the replays on screens enough over the last couple of weeks. To put that to bed is a good thing for us.
“In Brisbane we showed we could compete. To win a Test match out here gives us even more confidence.”