Cow Corner

Beer steals The Hoff’s thunder

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It would have been hard for anyone to look more ridiculous than David Hasselhoff at the SCG on Tuesday but Michael Beer managed it - somehow overstepping while bowling his 50mph trundler to nullify Alastair Cook's gift dismissal. 

Of course The Hoff was treated like a visiting God by a country where semi-ironic iconic status lasts at least five years longer than anywhere else in the world. 

Known for his top-heavy beach-blonde sidekicks, it was no surprise to see The Hoff make a beeline for Shane Warne during the afternoon.

In fairness to Beer he somewhat redeemed himself taking a steepling catch at long on after Kevin Pietersen hooked Mitchell Johnson's vicious bouncer, and did not bowl badly thereafter.

Earlier, Johnson bashed Australia back into the game with a superb half century putting on 76, top-scoring as well as forging the biggest partnership of the Australian innings, with Ben Hilfenhaus (34).

The latest theory to the Mitch conundrum - that he bowls well when he hits a good score - vanished as he managed to bash the ball into his thigh during his delivery stride and then bowl way down the legside. He looked as confused as if he had been asked to spell conundrum.

With England heading to 98-0 at nearly five-an-over and facing a man with a strike rate comparable to Robert Rosario or Carl Leaburn, Australia were standing into the darkness and afraid to step into the light before The Hilf pulled out a delivery from hell to bowl Andrew Strauss just when the edge of surrender was in sight.

Immediately afterwards Jonathan Trott chopped Johnson onto his stumps taking his average for the series under hundred and almost getting the crowd's attention back from Hoff and Warney.

Pieterson's wicket left England still over a hundred runs in deficit and Australia with some hope of victory. Paul Collingwood is next in and despite proving his worth with a second first-innings catch to dismiss Steve Smith and the wicket of Mike Hussey, he will need to score tomorrow if it is not to be his Test swansong.

Cook remains at the crease, as he has been forever and always it seems, on 61 with 638 runs for the series and he needs just 97 more in this and the second innings to move past Herbert Sutcliffe to third in total runs scored in Ashes contests down under behind Wally Hammond and Sir Donald Bradman. 

Man of the day: Mitchell Johnson. His second big day of the series has not fully turned the game like his spell in Perth but 53 runs and two wickets has given Australia hope.

Ball of the day: Hilfenhaus's yorker to bowl Strauss. "I'm not sure I've ever seen a more unplayable ball." Not my words, those of doyen Richard Benaud esq.

Stat of the day: 142 - The number of runs scored by Australia from the number six position in eight innings after Brad Haddin's failure.

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