The second Test has ended in a draw, as many thought it must, given the limits of time. If there was one more day, or unlimited days, surely England would have won. They could have set Australia 400, 500, 600 or even 1,000 runs to win. How knows?
After a euphoric third day, the Australians went from heroes to zeros. That England did not roll over should have surprised few. That Australia could manage just one wicket while conceding more than 500 runs was unthinkable. The kids on the chocolate milk drink could have done better. It does take some effort to get your mind around it. Never before has a Test scoreboard seen a score of one for five hundred. The final declared score of 1/517 (or call it 517/1, five hundred and seventeen runs at the cost of one wicket or whatever you like) is a hiding like no other handed out in the history of the game.
It has to be said that Australia did not have the right of reply and they experienced no real scares in reaching 1/107 in quick time. However, who cares come many runs your batsmen can score if the bowlers don’t have a hope of taking 20 wickets in a match?
Perhaps this was a match of two pitches. Up until half way through day 2, with Australia at 5/143, there had been 403 runs for 15 wickets. That is an average of 26.87 runs per wicket. Thereafter, the remaining five recognised batsmen all made centuries, and big ones. A further 962 runs were scored for the loss of just seven wickets at an average of 137.42. And two triple century stands went into the record books.
The suffering of the bowlers was not limited to Australians. However, England has taken the points. It is hard to find words that adequately describe just what a terrible bowling (and fielding, and captaincy) performance is behind 1/517. If Johnson plays in Adelaide, the selectors need sacking. He is a liability that simply cannot be carried, especially given that a bowler of the calibre of Doug Bollinger is on the side line.
Late to press: Bollinger and Harris are both in the squad for Adelaide. Bollinger has just knocked over Sean Marsh in the Shield match in Perth and has figures of 3/32. Harris recently took 4/41 and 2/27 against Victoria. No other changes. Clarke retains his place. For now.