Sunday, July 14, 2013

Ashes agony familiar for Haddin

Brad Haddin was in the dressing room at Edgbaston in 2005, when Michael Kasprowicz gloved a ball down the leg side and Australia lost a famous Test by two runs.

He wasn't playing in that match but he was on the tour as Adam Gilchrist's understudy.

Australia's Brad Haddin congratulates England's James Anderson after England won the first Test.

Australia's Brad Haddin congratulates England's James Anderson after England won the first Test. Photo: Reuters

Now, eight years later, Haddin's Hot Spot image was on the replay screen at Trent Bridge and 17,500 people were staring at it, searching for a white smudge on his bat.


Jimmy Anderson, who had returned for one final burst at Australia after a superb morning spell, hadn't heard an edge but England captain Alastair Cook, at first slip, and the man he depends on to be his eyes and ears on such things, wicketkeeper Matt Prior, had.

"I didn't hear anything and, yeah, I wasn't sure to be honest," Anderson said. "But these guys were. It might be one of those where the wind was blowing the other way, so they heard it."

Haddin's fate was sealed by third umpire Marais Erasmus when the gadgets, snicko and Hot Spot, confirmed a faint inside edge, handing Australia a 14-run defeat and Haddin his Edgbaston moment.

As Aleem Dar raised his finger, and England's players raced into a celebratory huddle, Haddin leant on his bat and looked straight ahead.

Since the 35-year-old was brought back as vice-captain he has made this Australian team better and tougher. That much was obvious as he took on Anderson, smashing him down the ground for three consecuctive fours after the brilliant paceman had taken the wickets of Ashton Agar, Mitchell Starc and Peter Siddle in the space of 24 balls.

Haddin has also provided much-needed leadership to the dressing room he re-entered for one Test in India, as a replacement for the injured Matthew Wade.

"The courage he showed to play his natural game, the way he played under pressure, experience plays a big part out there and credit to him," captain Michael Clarke said of Haddin's valiant 71 from 147 balls.

"It's great to see him fight his way back into this Test team. I know he loves being around this group, and it's great to see him lead from the front today."

He had strong support from James Pattinson, no more a No.11 than Ashton Agar, who boldy hit Graeme Swann over mid-wicket for six.

As the pressure built, England made mistakes.

Haddin was dropped in the deep by a diving Steven Finn and Jonny Bairstow missed with a throw at the stumps that would have seen Haddin run out.
When lunch was taken with Australia needing 20 runs to win, the English gathered themselves for one more assault.

"It's not been a great game for us in terms of getting that last wicket in both innings, but I felt pretty calm" said Cook.

"In the heat of the moment you can panic but you have to look at conditions and with a reverse swinging ball, you just felt we would give ourselves some chances. They batted extremely well, Pattinson and Haddin took some risks that paid off, but the lunch break came at right time.

"The fact we've been successful in general as an England side, it's not so much a winning feeling but you back the bowlers that they've been there in the past and come through tight situations."

None more than Anderson, who returned match figures of 10 for 158, with five wickets in each innings. He bowled unchanged for 13 overs in the morning session and took the last four Australian wickets. Agar, Starc and Siddle all went the same way - caught Cook, bowled Anderson.

"As soon as I got the ball I felt in control," Anderson said. "I wasn't nervous because I knew what I was doing and I knew I could get that final wicket.

"I'm just delighted with the way things went. We knew it was going to be difficult this morning. Their tail is very strong so we knew we had to bowl well. I found some rhythm, which the captain cottoned onto and gave me 13 overs so I'm just delighted. It did get tight, but we stayed calm even when they were getting closer. That was the key to us winning the game."

Now Clarke must rally his troops for another battle at Lord's in three days.

"It's a pretty tough loss, to be honest, after getting so close. Firstly credit has to go to England. They continued to fight through the whole five days and managed to get over the line so credit to them," Clarke said.

"But our boys should hold their heads up high. Another example of experience in your squad showed today with the way Brad Haddin played. He deserves a lot of credit for fighting so hard and there is probably no-one in the changeroom now more disappointed than Brad. The other guys that batted with him and did a fantastic job as well.

"All Australians would have loved to have seen a different result but, you talk about Test cricket, you're not going to get many better Tests than what we have just seen."
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