Four days after amassing a record 517-1 on the last day of the Ashes cricket opener, England rattled Australia again with three wickets in 11 minutes as the series resumed in Adelaide.
Simon Katich, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke were dismissed on the first morning as Australia slumped to 2-3, its worst start to a Test innings in 60 years, before many of the sell-out crowd of 38,615 had made it to their seats.
“It was all happening very quickly,” Mike Hussey, who top scored with 93 in Australia’s 245 all out, told reporters. “I couldn’t really believe it to be honest. Before I blinked I was out there in the middle.”
Fast bowler James Anderson took 4-51 and spinner Graeme Swann 2-70, including the wicket of Hussey, as Australia was bowled out before stumps after winning the toss at a ground where it had scored at least 428 first-innings runs in its past eight Tests.
“It turned out to be a good toss to lose for us,” Anderson said. “It was a fantastic start and we obviously didn’t expect to have them 2-3.”
Jonathan Trott sparked the early flurry of wickets in the fourth ball following a mix up between Katich and fellow opener Shane Watson, pouncing with a direct hit from square-leg to run out the left-hander, who hadn’t faced a ball.
“We place a big focus on the first five overs of the day and trying to get the momentum going in our favor,” Hussey said. Katich “was disappointed that we got off to such a poor start. He was in shock really, more than anything.”
Ponting, playing in his 150th Test at a ground where he’s score five centuries, lasted just one delivery as he edged an outswinger from Anderson low to Swann at second slip.
The same pair combined to dismiss Clarke eight balls later to make the score 2-3, Australia’s worst start to an innings since 1950 when it was 0-3 against England.
Although Hussey shared half-century partnerships with Watson, Marcus North and Brad Haddin, England’s bowlers restricted Australia to its lowest score batting first in an Ashes Test in Adelaide since 1912.
England opening batsmen Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook negotiated one over before stumps.
“We’ve got to build our innings up,” Anderson said. “There’ll probably be a tricky period in the morning when the ball’s new, so if we can get through that, get a big partnership we’ll hopefully catch up to them.”
The best-of-five contest is tied at 0-0 after England rallied from a 221-run first-innings deficit by amassing 517-1 to force the draw in Brisbane.
“We’re still pretty upbeat,” Hussey said. “We can take a lot of heart that England were bowled out for 260 in the first Test up in Brisbane and came back very strongly. It doesn’t mean we’ve lost the Test match whatsoever.”