Cricket 2 years ago

The Ashes: Moeen Ali leads the way as England take the honours on Day 2

  • The Ashes: Moeen Ali leads the way as England take the honours on Day 2

It was a day to remember at The Sophia Gardens in Cardiff for Moeen Ali as his all-round excellence meant Australia went to stumps at 261/5, still 169 runs behind England. 

In an imaginary survey conducted by a group of some unknown commodities, Moeen Ali was found to be right on top when it came to being subjected to opprobrium. The Worcestershire Cricketer didn't have it all going his way this summer, not with the ball at least.

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Regardless of what had gone on, Moeen Ali came out in a bid to win some faith back, plus the additional intent to spank the Mitchells. Fortunately for him and the obstreperous Cardiff crowd, he succeeded, and although he wasn't quite at the peak of his driving powers, it all went his way. 

Stuart Broad on the other hand, didn't have the most pleasing of stays. Bruised as he may be at the end of the day, he received quite a few short ones and although the short balls didn't get him, his excitement did as Nathan Lyon picked the left-hander's  once prized wicket for 18 ending a handy partnership. Soon after, Moeen Ali - who had been nailing every delivery (or trying to) - then followed, giving Starc his fourth to end a truly commanding knock (77 off 88 deliveries). 

Four soon became five for Starc who had spent most of his time sulking per reports from the fans, and England were bowled out for 430. Insouciance being the theme of the day and glorious as the sun was, Australia's turn to take willow was finally here. David Warner and Chris Rogers began in impressive fashion, leaving it well, attacking the bad ones and defending it well too as they eased past 50 but just as David Warner thought enough was enough, the fastidious James Anderson claimed the left-hander to make it 52-1. 

Steven Smith - the best test batsman in the world per the ICC - now began his business dancing across very often and scoring and just scoring. On the other end all this time, Chris Rogers had the English bowlers on their knees, driving with utmost superiority as the opportunity came.  

However, Moeen Ali soon happened, and not even the great Steven Smith had an answer as he played a silly shot after he had been set up to, to let Michael Clarke arrive. A boring passage of play followed shortly afterwards without any sledging, sulking or even time-wasting before Mark Wood had his first wicket in Ashes Cricket, Rogers the victim, departing for 95. 

A soporific hour followed yet again with Pup and Voges appearing to be in decent nick. Guess what? Moeen Ali happened for the one last time in the day, and Pup - trying to take Moeen on - hit it straight back to him joining the long list of Australian batsmen to waste a start. 

Remember the theme of the day? Insouciance? The day stayed loyal to the theme, it really did.  At 258/4 now with Shane Watson succeeding in protecting in his pads and Adam Voges continuing to prosper, the latter had a moment of madness, trying to hit Stokes through the off side, but failing remarkably, setting his captain up for a sleepless night. 

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