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Aust pace too hot for England
Australia shattered England's batting with
six wickets for nine runs in a stunning mid-
afternoon spell before dismissing the tourists
for 136 and taking a lead of 224 on day two
of the rst Ashes test yesterday.
Openers David Warner (45) and Chris
Rogers (15) backed up the bowlers by batting
out a gloomy nal session at the Gabba and
will resume at 65 without loss in Australia's
second innings this afternoon.
Oft-pilloried paceman Mitchell Johnson
led the way with four for 61 as Australia
transformed its prospects in the match after a
disappointing opening day at e Gabba and
being bowled out for 295 in the rst hour
e revitalised left-arm quick was at his
pacey, hostile best on a bouncy track. He
took for for 61 from 17 overs and was ably
supported by fellow paceman Ryan Harris
(three for 28) and spinner Nathan Lyon
(two for 17) as the host team put itself in
a good position to win a rst test in 10
"You had to earn the right to have sessions
like that and I thought we built the pressure
quite well," wicketkeeper Brad Haddin,
whose 94 kept Australia from a similarly
dismal score in their rst innings, said.
"We've got a long way to go in this test
match, we've got to turn up tomorrow, we
know England will keep coming, so it's up to
us to make sure we're on."
Despite the losses of captain Alastair Cook
for 13 and Jonathan Trott for 10 before
lunch, England looked to be making steady
progress towards a reasonable score at 82 for
two midway through the second session.
Haddin, though, said bowling coach Craig
McDermott, returning for this series after
quitting last year, had laid down the law to
the bowlers at the lunch break.
"(He) told the bowlers in no uncertain
terms where he wanted to things to be and
we came back after the break and got our
lengths right," he said.
e departure of Kevin Pietersen for 18,
when he swatted the ball o his pads to
George Bailey at midwicket to give Harris
his second wicket, was the rst hint of the
carnage to come.
Emboldened by the dismissal of one of
England's most dangerous batsmen, Johnson
and his fellow bowlers ran amok to leave the
tourists facing an uphill task just to save the
test let alone secure a rst victory in Brisbane
Opener Michael Carberry, who had crafted
a careful 40 on his Ashes debut in his second
test, was next to head back to the pavilion
when Johnson had him caught by Shane
Watson at second slip.
Ian Bell, who scored three centuries in
England's 3-0 triumph on home soil earlier
this year, followed quickly afterwards for ve
when Steve Smith snatched the ball out of
the air at short leg.
It was Smith's conviction that Matt Prior
had hit the following ball before it landed in
his hands that led to Australia successfully
appealing to the tv umpire and sent the
wicketkeeper back to the dressing room with
a golden duck.
at put Lyon on a hat-trick and, although
Broad safely watched the next delivery sail
past his o stump, Joe Root (2) and Graeme
Swann (0) soon became Johnson's third and
e Gabba was in ferment, England's
Barmy Army silent, as Johnson, the object
of so much derision from English fans,
celebrated what was a match-changing,
and could turn out to be a match-winning,
" e Gabba's one of those grounds where
things can happen quite quick, especially
with the extra bounce," Haddin added.
"Sometimes when you do get on a roll here
it's hard to stop."
After tea, Stuart Broad and Chris Tremlett
ushered England past the follow-on before
the latter was well caught by Lyon o Harris
to bring out James Anderson as the last
Broad, who took six for 81 in Australia's
rst innings, fought a spirited rearguard
action and was the nal wicket to fall in a
barrage of short bowling, caught in the deep
by Chris Rogers o Peter Siddle for 32.
"It was a disappointing session before tea
which really swung the game," Carberry
"Credit to the Australian bowlers, they
bowled really well through the innings, we
never got away from them at any point.
"We weren't quite good enough today.
Having said that, it's a new day tomorrow."
Haddin had been run out to end Australia's
innings but his catches accounted for the
wickets of Cook and Trott to give him 200
career dismissals in his 50th test.
"I was too slow," the 35-year-old said of the
run out. --- Reuters
PICTURE: Getty Images
Mitchell Johnson of Australia bowls to Stuart Broad of England during day two of the rst Ashes test match at e Gabba in Brisbane.
Johnson inspires comeback
Last night provided a chance
for the Breakers to ameliorate
a pair of areas that have proved
their undoing so far this
Fortunately for the three-
time defending champions,
they did just that to beat the
Townsville Crocs 81-74 and
earn their third victory of the
e win at the North Shore
Events Centre was built on a
staunch rearguard to begin the
game and an equally resolute
attitude down the stretch after
their lead was whittled away.
Defence and poor fourth
quarters were two key factors in
the Breakers' (3-6) abject start
to the season, and they needed
to improve both facets as much
for their mentality as their
the Crocs (2-5) to 74 points
after coming into the contest
last placed in the league in
conceding 90 points per game.
It was just as imperative for
the home side to put aside
any residual nerves to rest
by closing out a Crocs side
constantly snapping at their
" ere's de nitely some relief,"
coach Dean Vickerman said.
" e group talked about, if we
got another close game like
that, we'd make some changes
to what has happened.
"We made some shots down
the stretch, we made our free
throws, we stayed aggressive
and we didn't turn the ball over
in the last few possessions,
which was something we
needed to improve on."
ere was also a big basket
from Tom Abercrombie as
Townsville threatened to grab
their rst lead of the night. e
swingman appears back to his
best and he led all scorers with
24, making ve-of-eight from
deep as the Breakers shot the
three ball well all night.
Daryl Corletto was a big part
of that, scoring 14 points, while
Gary Wilkinson added 12 and
Mika Vukona chimed in with a
Vukona's physicality helped as
the Breakers' maligned defence
enjoyed its nest start so far
this season, causing disruption
throughout the rst quarter and
limiting the Crocs to 14 points.
Townsville was shooting
1-7 from the oor and had
committed four turnovers,
allowing the hosts to create
some early separation and take
an eight-point lead into the
Of equal importance to the
Breakers' fast start was keeping
Brian Conklin and Josh Pace
quiet, with the import pair
who had scorched the New
Zealand team in two previous
meetings limited to ve
points between them in the
rst. Despite experiencing a
limited contribution from the
Americans, the Crocs came into
the contest as the half wore on
and their shooting started to
ankfully for the Breakers,
Abercrombie remained hot,
getting to the line (7-8 FT)
and leading all scorers with 15
as his side went to the major
break up by seven.
Halftime did little to curb
Abercrombie's form, with the
swingman opening the third
with back-to-back threes, but
the Crocs remained in touch.
ey pulled within seven
heading into the nal period,
providing the Breakers the
chance to exorcise the fourth-
quarter woes they have faced
for much of the season.
But they began poorly in
that quest, with the lead
down to three, the shots no
longer falling and the crowd
audibly de ated. e gap was
soon one and the Breakers'
worst fears appeared to be
repeating, before Abercrombie
appropriately iced the game
with another triple.
Breakers 81 (Abercrombie
24, Corletto 14, Wilkinson 12)
beat Crocs 74 (Blanch eld 14,
Pace 12, Conklin 12) Halftime:
43-36. --- APNZ
Breakers back to winning ways
PICTURE: Getty Images
Gary Wilkinson of the Breakers, left, and Steven Markovic from the Crocodiles compete for a
Stunning spell wrecks English hopes
e mystique and aura of the All Blacks
have only grown in recent weeks, with the
Northern Hemisphere even more intrigued
about what it is that makes the All Blacks so
Everyone, it seems, is convinced that there
is a secret. at a little like Team Oracle,
there is this belief that some magic device is
at work. It cannot really be that they work
harder and smarter? It kind of is, though.
ere certainly is not any secret formula.
Training is short and sharp and repetitive.
Repetitive rather than monotonous.
e emphasis is on quality and from props
to fullbacks, everyone spends time with ball
in hand; everyone does contact work, too.
e simplicity of their training is almost
surprising --- it is pass and catch and straight
line running. It is mostly the same drills ---
never for too long.
e contact work is precise and speci c and
never complicated. ere is nothing di cult
or complex the All Blacks are doing that every
other side could not do. Few, however, could
match them for accuracy. It is not uncommon
for the backline to go a whole session without
dropping a ball.
Come match day, it is so often those basic
skills that make the di erence. Under pressure
the All Blacks nd their passing technique
holds up. ey can catch with defenders in
their face. ey make their tackles and their
basics are as sound on the eld as they are in
training. at is the beauty of repetition --- it
leaves skills ingrained. And it is those basics
From that foundation, they have been able
to back themselves to occasionally pull o
the more adventurous. Against France and
England it was spectacular o oading that
enabled the All Blacks to see o dangerous
and physical opponents.
"We'd like to think a little bit of X-factor
but it comes down to a little bit of instinct
as well," Aaron Cruden said on what he feels
has been the All Blacks' key weapon on this
"Growing up in New Zealand you are
always throwing a ball around with your
mates, trying to do the o oad out the back
door and we showed a couple of fantastic
o oads where we were able to break the
English defence and score a couple of great
If there is something more to the All
Blacks' success, it is perhaps the depth of
the connection to the jersey. e legacy is a
powerful, galvanising and motivating force.
History demands that the players perform,
but it also demands that they conduct
themselves in a certain way as well.
Every other nation's players talk of their
pride in representing their country, but
maybe the All Blacks feel a deeper emotion
"For us," Kieran Read said, "it is about
something which is much bigger than the
game, much more important than the players
or the team. It is about a whole country.
"It is based upon a rich tradition and culture
stretching back over a century, and it is that
history which forces each and every one of
us to maximise our potential as All Black
players." --- APNZ-New Zealand Herald
Honing basic skills key
to All Black success
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