Close but no cigar for Australia.
Where we stand
With broken hearts but pride intact. Australia fell an agonising 15 runs short of victory in the first Test, a result that seemed so unlikely when James Pattinson strode out to the crease with the Aussies floundering at 9-231. He and Brad Haddin put on a 65-run stand for the last wicket, chipping and sometimes slogging away at England's lead, and navigating to the lunch break just 20 runs shy of a 1-0 series lead.
But it was not to be. Just as in Edgbaston in 2005, the visitors came close enough to victory to ensure only that their defeat tasted that much bitter. Haddin, who had played magnificently on his way to 71, got a faint inside edge on a Jimmy Anderson delivery that hung outside off. Umpire Aleem Dar, in an ironic twist, turned down England's appeal, but the Poms asked for a review and Hot Spot gave Haddin away.
Bluffers' guide: "I always knew taking Haddin to England was a great idea. If we get this top-order firing we'll be one-all after Lord's."
Four things we learned
1. Ashton Agar likes to hustle. The 19-year-old has apparently never met a risky single he didn't like, judging from some of his running between the wickets early on day five. He very nearly ran himself out coming back for two in the 14th over of the day, with the Aussies still some 113 runs from victory. A bemused Michael Holding gently admonished Agar upon seeing the replay but you can't fault the kid's enthusiasm for Test cricket.
2. Forget Graeme Swann, worry about Anderson. Swann was expected to be the danger man on a day-five wicket and bowled the first over of the day, but it was James Anderson who put the Aussies to the sword once England took the new ball. The seamer dismissed Agar and Starc in back-to-back overs to begin the rot, and finished with figures of 5-73 for the innings and 10-158 for the match (compared to Swann's 4-165).
3. Experience will serve Brad Haddin well. The Australian wicketkeeper played the innings the occasion demanded of him, scoring 71 runs in a near-faultless knock that mixed patience with smart aggression. He opened his arms and played some muscular lofted cover drives early in the piece, and as Swann took over the attack he alternated singles to the men in the deep with the occasional slog sweep to the rope. He also showed great trust in turning over the strike to Pattinson, who repaid Haddin's faith with an unbeaten 25.
4. Stuart Broad is public enemy No.1. With Haddin on top England didn’t want to give the Aussies an extra over before the lunch break, so Broad did his best to drag out his six balls for an eternity. The charade included his undoing his shoelaces, taking off his boot and removing its insole (to inspect the inner workings of his footwear? We've no idea) with one ball remaining, prompting boos from the crowd and outrage on Twitter. This, combined with his refusal to walk on day three, suggests Aussie fans will be only too happy to see Broad fail over the next nine Tests.
Hero of the day
The much-maligned keeper was nothing short of outstanding on day five. It was an innings that would have won the Test for Australia had the middle order not fallen in a heap late on day four. The highlight was undoubtedly his warm welcome for Steven Finn, who gave up15 runs in his first six balls after taking over from Anderson. Haddin smashed him to the leg-side boundary three times in that first over, including a slog over midwicket to bring up his 11th Test half-century. The applause he received from the Trent Bridge crowd was richly deserved.
Moments that mattered
1. COOK DOESN'T DROP THEM TWICE. The England skipper gave Peter Siddle a life on 11, flubbing a genuine chance to remove the tail-ender by spilling a regulation slips catch off Anderson. It mattered none. In Anderson's next over, and with Siddle yet to add to his score, Cook to a screamer at full stretch to his right to correct the error and send Sids on his way.
2. FINN BLOWS HIS MOMENT. With the Aussies nine down and Anderson tiring, Cook brought on Steven Finn for a spell. It didn't exactly work out. Finn was carted for 15 runs in his first over as Haddin found the seamer to his liking, and he went for nine in the next, including four byes. Stuart Broad was immediately brought into the attack after that.
3. THEN FINN SPILLS A CATCH. After a faultless start Haddin finally gave up a genuine chance on 64, slog sweeping Swann in the air to deep square leg. Finn ran around and dove to his left to make the catch, but the ball spilled through his hands and over the rope for a vital four runs. Ooh Ahh Glenn McGrath would've snaffled it.
4. DRS GETS US IN THE END. It had to be this way, didn't it? With 15 runs needed to win Haddin got a feather edge on an innocuous Anderson delivery. England spent a review after Aleem Dar turned them down, and Hot Spot picked up the faint hint of white on the inside edge of the bat. Third umpire Marais Erasmus reviewed audio of the delivery and, satisfied that Haddin had edged the ball, gave him out for 71. Snicko subsequently proved the decision to be correct, if not a tad anti-climactic.
Caught our eye
Finn had a day to forget in the field. In addition to dropping Haddin he provided one of the Test's more comical moments when he allowed a regulation single to run past him to the boundary for four. Standing at deep square leg, Finn failed to cut off a Haddin slog sweep as it headed towards him, instead doing a frantic jig on his heels after losing sight of the cherry in the green outfield. Haddin sent the very next ball to Finn in the same fashion and this time he made no mistake, prompting Bronx cheers from the Barmy Army.
Soundtrack of the day
"It Ain't Over 'til It's Over." – Lenny Kravitz.
See you at Lord's, England.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 15 July, 2013 1:26AM AEST