Spinners put Australia on top

A brilliant display of spin bowling by Shane Warne and Stuart Macgill has put Australia well on top on the second day of the Supertest against the ICC World XI in Sydney.

Resuming on 331/6 after a slightly delayed start due to rain, Australia’s innings drew to a quick conclusion as Andrew Flintoff ripped through the Australian lower order. Adam Gilchrist failed to add to his overnight score of 94, Flintoff’s second wicket of the innings. That became three and then four as Warne and Lee fell for 5 and 1 respectively, Australia suddenly 344/9. And, predictably, Glenn McGrath didn’t hang around for long before being run out without scoring, Australia finishing on 345, having added just 14 runs to their overnight score for the loss of 4 wickets.

Virender Sehwag got the run rate of the World XI’s reply up to typical Australian levels, scoring at close to a run a ball to give the innings a very solid start. Captain Graeme Smith didn’t stay with him very long though before top edging a pull shot that was very well caught by Adam Gilchrist, who had run a considerable distance to take the catch. Rahul Dravid and Brian Lara are fairly daunting players to bowl to, but McGrath had no major troubles in dismissing them in the course of a brilliant spell for 0 and 5 respectively, the World XI reduced to 43/3.

Sehwag continued to score at very high speed, Brett Lee and Shane Watson being the primary victims as he raced through to a well-deserved fifty from just 48 balls. In Jacques Kallis he found a stable partner, and the two put on 91 for the fourth wicket before Sehwag’s brilliant 76 came to an end with Simon Katich taking a brilliant catch at short-leg off the bowling of Warne.

But after this, the collapse began. Inzamam-ul-Haq scored just one before being stumped in a quick piece of work by Gilchrist off MacGill, Kallis edged Warne to Hayden to end his 44, leaving the score 147/6. Not many runs later, Boucher did little to justify his selection in the side as he was out caught behind to the same bowler for nought, and at 151/7 the end of the innings didn’t look at all far away.

But then Andrew Flintoff followed his morning session heroics with the ball with a rapid 35, an innings which included four sixes before being caught in the outfield. After Flintoff’s fall, Stephen Harmison and Muttiah Muralitharan unsurprisingly provided little opposition to MacGill as the World XI collapsed to 190 all out.

With a lead of 155, Australian openers Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden walked out to bat with their team in a dominant position. Langer looked intent on making up for his first innings duck as he made an attacking start. He quickly got through to 22 before edging a ball from Kallis, who had up until this point in the tour looked little more than a part-timer with the ball, to Smith at slip with the score at just 30, indicating the extent to which he had dominated the scoring.

In the early part of his innings Hayden looked decidedly out of form despite hundreds in both the last Ashes test and the first innings of this match. He lacked timing and the ball didn’t look too keen on becoming acquainted with the middle of his bat. But in a partnership with Ricky Ponting, he negotiated the remaining overs in the session, which ended because of the light, well after the scheduled time.

The Australian second innings is going at a speed much slower than that of the first innings, but with four days still remaining in the test there is no need to hurry, plenty of time is still left for the Australians to take 10 World XI wickets. The World XI must be looking nervously at the condition of the pitch and the names of Warne and MacGill on the scoreboard.

Match Summary – Stumps Day 2

Australia 345
Matthew Hayden 111, Adam Gilchrist 94
Andrew Flintoff 4-59, Muttiah Muralitharan 2-102

World XI 190
Virender Sehwag 76, Jacques Kallis 44
Stuart MacGill 4-39, Shane Warne 3-23

Australia 66-1
Matthew Hayden 27no, Justin Langer 22
Jacques Kallis 1-3

Australia lead by 221 runs with 9 wickets remaining.

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