Despite one of the first good days for Australia in the series, the Australian
media has taken the selectors to task for having overlooked the presence of Stuart
Clark in the squad. Clark, who did not feature in the team's plans in the
first three test matches was finally selected for this fourth, Headingley test
match, and ended with figures of 3/18 in the ten nagging overs of impeccable lines
and lengths that he bowled.
The first day of the match saw England being shot out for 102, before
the Aussies took control by getting to 196/4 by the end of the first day's play.
Clark broke the back of the English team by picking up the wickets of Alastair
Cook, Paul Collingwood and Stuart Broad, before Peter Siddle
took over the ran through the tail with a five-wicket haul.
Sydney Morning Herald's Jamie Pandaram said that it was the selectors' resistance
to the selection of Clark couldn't have been highlighted more strongly as it
was due to his bowling that the hosts could not even survive for even 33 overs.
He added, "Clark's comeback could not have been more emphatic; 10 overs
for 18 runs and three scalps. He was at his miserly best, conceding his first
run after 17 deliveries, and beating the bat repeatedly"
Peter Roebuck said that although Siddle captured five wickets, it was Clark
who was the pick of the bowlers with his spell of 3/18. He added that 'Clark
looked his old self, denying the batsmen soft runs, squeezing them tight, drawing
them into prods and taking outside edges.'
There were other newspapers who said that the bowling spell of Clark stuck
it up to the Aussie selectors, and said that he was back with a vengeance against
a side which has always struggled to play him. Clark had been one of the leading
wicket-taker for Australia in their last Ashes triumph of 2007, when they had
won the series 5-0.
The English team had a rather shocking first day as it first lost Andrew
Flintoff to an injury and then had to delay the toss by ten minutes to get
an update on Matt Prior's injury. Prior had sudden back spasms and there was
a reasonable chance that he would not have been able to play in the game, but
in the end, he made it to the playing eleven.
Apart from that, Ricky Ponting continued to be booed by the English
crowds, as has been the case throughout the test series so far.