Another strong day for England, another dispiriting one for Australia – and it is all falling on, and out of, Ricky’s head … The press seem as resigned as they believe the Australian captain should be.
‘Ponting feel the pressure’
‘Trott adds to Australian misery’
Michael Horan in the Herald Sun reports
‘England has Australia primed for execution in the fourth Ashes Test after another superior batting performance. The Ashes will be retained through a victory sometime over the next two days after the tourists went to stumps on day two at 5-444 in their first innings, an overall lead of 346.
Robert Vaughan in Melbourne’s The Age concentrates on Jonathan Trott.
‘A day after the English pace bowlers inflicted the most telling stab wound of this Ashes series, batsman Jonathan Trott twisted the blade. His unbeaten top score so far of 141, combined with Matt Prior’s 75no, killed off any Australian comeback on the second day and took England another significant step closer to retaining the urn by winning the Boxing Day Test.’
And Robert Craddock in Perth Now wishes for an Australian Trott.
‘Jonathan Trott does not make pulses race or people rise from their seat – but you just have to love his ticker. How soothing it must be for England’s top order to have this four-square fighter emerged, gloves raised, at the fall of the first wicket. Bell always looks prettier and Pietersen more dangerous but Trott is a bigger wicket than any of them. Australia needs a J Trott. Slow and steady does some time win the race. Australia knew exactly how he played before he arrived here – dragging almost everything to the leg side – but still he has been harder to remove than a red wine splash on a white table cloth.’
‘Captain blows up as Ashes slide away’ says Brisbane’s Courier Mail – and it’s Ponting’s attack on umpire Aleem Dar that concerns most newspapers. Michael Horan in the Herald Sun.
‘The strain was clearly starting to show on Australian captain Ricky Ponting when he extraordinarily decided to argue the point with umpire Aleem Dar over a turned down appeal for a catch behind. It was a strange and futile – even desperate – display from the Australian captain.’
On a day when the newspapers clearly didn’t think there was much to write home about, Ben Dorries in the Herald Sun resorts to some gallows humour.
‘Did you hear the one about what the stump microphones picked up when the Ashes skippers tossed the coin on Boxing Day? Andrew Strauss called correctly and, quick as a flash, said to Ricky Ponting: ”You lads can bat.” Just as quick, Ponting replied: “No, we can’t. We really can’t.” Boom-tish! What about the one about the MCG drop-in pitch? Two Englishmen were having a pint and talking about the nuances of the artificial pitch, with one explaining to the other: “A drop-in pitch…I know what it is. It’s where the Aussie batsmen drop in for a few minutes and then get out.” Ka-boom-tish! After two decades of mercilessly taking the mickey out of bumbling English cricketers, the boot is well and truly on the other foot.’
And finally, there is something of the inevitable about this Test now, according to Andrew Webster in Perth Now.
‘First, though, the giraffe. It was 9am and the scene was one of those funky little Melbourne cafes that can be found in an alleyway in the CBD. As Australian fans sipped their lattes and tried to muster some enthusiasm to drag their sorry bottoms to the MCG in winter-like temperatures, four Englishmen took their seats at a table. They ordered a bottle of NV L Kruger Sparkling Blanc de Blancs. When it arrived, they made a toast. “To England,” the one in the giraffe suit declared triumphantly, raising his glass in the air. “And the Ashes.” Just a reminder, like you needed it: this was the morning of the second day of the Boxing Day Test, yet there was already an air of inevitability about the entire affair.’
‘Sledger‘ writes a regular column in The Wisden Cricketer – January issue out now
Read more on the Ashes:
The Test so far in TWC‘s stunning photo Gallery
Sam Collins session-by-session from the second day at Melbourne
Day one’s column of conviction: wonderful Aussie misery
Two pricks at the Ashes: after day one
John Stern says that England were surprised at Perth but are still too good
Tim Bresnan speaks about bowling in Australia
Jrod sounds dazed and confused by the series scoreline
John Stern on why England should be too good for Australia
Merry Christmas Melbourne – Good will messages for England: Alan Tyers
10 Ashes questions that need answering: Lawrence Booth
Patrick Eagar’s Perth portrait