DEBUTANT Craig Overton upstaged old firm pairing James Anderson and Stuart Broad to become the first England bowler to win a personal scrap with Australian skipper Steve Smith this series.
Overton achieved a feat that eluded England in its 10 wicket, first-Test loss at the ‘Gabba, dismissing Australian skipper Smith (40) with an off-cut pearler.
Overton revealed a snipe from Smith over his pace served as inspiration to take down the worlds’s premier batsman.
“There was a plan to go straight in and one beat him with a little bit of pace and went on to the stumps. He was saying I was too slow, It was nice to get him in the end,” said Overton.
“It was pretty nice and he’s obviously one of the best players in the world so hopefully I can carry on with that.”
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Anderson had labelled Australia ‘bullies’ and vowed to fight fire with fire in the second Test but it was England’s young bucks who picked up the pink-ball slack at Adelaide Oval.
Overton and Chris Woakes (1-50) were England’s most impressive bowlers in last month’s pink ball warm up against the Cricket Australia XI in Adelaide and held their end of the bargain as back up for Anderson (1-45) and Broad (0-39)
Overton (1-47) was selected as a project player this Ashes but has come a long way from the kid who allegedly hurled a racial insult at Sussex’s Ashar Zaidi in 2015. Overton is shy of twin Jamie’s 150km/h express pace but had a serious case of white line fever to tame.
It’s understood England’s hierarchy worked with team psychologists to knock the rough edges off the Somerset 23-year-old and it paid off last night.
Overton was the point of difference England missed in Brisbane where Jake Ball was preferred, using his 196cm height to gain steep bounce that troubled Australia’s batsmen.
“It was disappointing not too play last week. It is massive, my dream as a kid was to play for England and to play a Test against Australia in Australia makes it even more special. You can’t put into words,” said Overton.
“It was nice my folks were here to see it.”
Having put Australia in to bat, Anderson and enduring off-sider Broad bowled too short with the new rock. Broad found his groove but Australia would have had 250 as a par score and been well satisfied reaching stumps with Peter Handscomb (36) and Shaun Marsh (20) resuming at 4/209.
“It is difficult with rain breaks but we did speak about getting our lengths right,” said Overton who was told an hour before play he would debut.
Anderson claimed Usman Khawaja (53) courtesy of an exceptional James Vince catch but Woakes would have had the No.3 on 44 if Mark Stoneman hadn’t dropped an outfield sitter.
Woakes snared David Warner (47) and ran out Cameron Bancroft (10).
The overcast conditions were made for cricket’s master of swing Anderson but there was an absence of zest on the opening day as there was in Brisbane from England’s most prolific wicket-taker.
Anderson must be restricted by a shoulder blow sustained in Brisbane because the 35-year-old was at his most animated in a cheek to cheek sledge-fest while Smith was at the crease.
Australian pace trio Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood loom as a frightening prospect under lights on day two.