On the fourth day of the final Ashes 2010/2011 test match at the SCG, the match took the turn that has happened twice before this Australian summer, as England batted well to post a monster first innings total of 644 before bowling out 7 Australian batsmen.
Australia finished the day on 213 for 7 second innings wickets.
Added to their 280 all out from the first innings, that puts Australia still 151 short of England’s eventual 644 all out first innings total, with only 3 wickets in hand on day five at the SCG.
England are very close to winning their third Ashes 2010/2011 test match by an innings, which will see them win this series 3-1 to add to the Ashes retention they have already secured.
Already in a commanding position at the start of the day, Matt Prior (118) and Tim Bresnan (35) heaped on runs, and quickly, to make an impressive eighth wicket stand of 102, which effectively put England out of sight, before Graeme Swann (36) and Chris Tremlett (12) added their own quick-fire cameos to put some polish on the total and send the result beyond doubt.
Australia headed into bat with a clear objective: bat for two days.
Unfortunately for the hosts, the pitch, which seemed to be in good shape for batting, was not to blame when Shane Watson (38) found himself run out following a mixup. Kevin Pietersen was the fielder, who did not need to think too quickly to throw to wicketkeeper Prior who took off the bails.
Another wicket fell before tea. Philip Hughes (13) edged Bresnan to Matt Prior only 6 runs after Watson had departed. He’s failed to get any rhythm in this innings, indeed, his batting form has deserted him all series, so it was perhaps no surprise that Australia were reduced to 52 for 2 wickets.
But it was after tea that England really did the damage, as the ball began to reverse swing against Australia’s nervy batsmen.
Anderson got Khawaja (21), caught Prior, with a ball that swung and nipped away, with the score on 117 for 3. The same combination then took stand-in captain, Michael Clarke (41) just seven runs later, this time with a ball that held its line to the right hander, and was duly edged.
37 runs later, when Mike Hussey (12) misjudged an attempted cut shot from Bresnan straight to Pietersen at gulley, the writing appeared to be on the wall: an impression confirmed soon after when Chris Tremlett took two wickets in two balls.
Brad Haddin (30), along with Hussey, is perhaps the only Australian batsman to come out of this series with much credit, so it is no surprise that England celebrated hard when his wicket fell from the bowling of Tremlett, with the score on 171 for 6. Haddin had nicked a ball, which moved a little, to Matt Prior.
One ball later, Mitchell Johnson was walking, too, as Tremlett clean bowled the Aussie all-rounder for a golden duck.
English skipper Andrew Strauss took the extra half hour in order to seek a result and finish the series here, but Smith (24 not out) and Siddle (17 not out) dug deep to keep their wickets intact and live on to fight one last day.
England have 151 runs with which to remove the Australian tail, in order to secure a 3-1 Ashes victory without batting a second innings for the third time this series.
The Ashes 2010/2011 and this Sydney test match appear to be all over, bar the shouting: and there should be plenty of that in the SCG, as entrance is free on the final day.