Returning Australian bowler Stuart Clark took five wickets for just 21 runs as an England squad deprived of both Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff disintegrated on the first day of the fourth Test at Headingley, scoring a total of just 102 runs.
REUTERS - Australia's Stuart Clark and Peter Siddle took advantage of favourable conditions to claim eight England wickets on the first day of the fourth Ashes test on Friday.
Clark made a successful return to the side after nine months out with three early wickets and Siddle, under pressure for his place in the team, responded superbly to complete test-best figures of five for 21 as England were bowled out for 102.
"I was excited to find out I was in the team this morning and it turned into a really good day," Clark told a news conference.
"I was disappointed to get dropped but the selectors have a tough job and I just had to work hard to get back."
Clark took three for 18 from 10 miserly overs and by effectively tying up one end he gave his fellow seamers licence to attack.
"It was good having Stuey back in the side, you know what you are going to get from him," Siddle said. "It was pleasing to get a few wickets myself but it is more important that the team is in a strong position in the game."
England wicketkeeper Matt Prior was not making excuses after the hosts endured a torrid day which started at 5 a.m. local time when their hotel was evacuated following a fire alarm.
Andrew Flintoff was ruled out with his knee injury and Prior himself suffered a back spasm in the warmup.
"It wasn't ideal and there were distractions but we are not using that as an excuse," said Prior. "We have all played enough cricket to be able to cope with the situation.
"The Aussies put the ball in the right areas this morning but there were dismissals we could have avoided."
Clark said Australia, who ended the day on 196 for four, may have benefited from England's disrupted preparations.
"They had Flintoff, the fire alarm and Matt Prior to deal with and then we hit one of their coaching staff during our practice session with the high ball," Clark said. "So maybe it was our day."
Date created : 2009-08-07