Day three of the first Test endured the same momentum swings as the previous two days but nothing so wild as the one precipitated by Aleem Dar’s refusal to put his finger up when Stuart Broad edged Ashton Agar to first slip.
Test match cricket is alive and brisling with vim. Day three of the first Test endured the same momentum swings as the previous two days but nothing so wild as the one precipitated by Aleem Dar’s refusal to put his finger up when Stuart Broad edged Ashton Agar to first slip.
The Aussies had every right to feel robbed but could not review Dar’s howler due to injudicious use of their reviews earlier in the innings. Brad Haddin dropping a very stoic Ian Bell in the next over only served to rub salt into a very fresh, very raw wound.
Canny captaincy and holding on to every available chance will be the order the day for Australia. A quick breakthrough and England could be rolled inside the session. A chase of around 320 would be a terrific result but if the first hour proves barren from a wicket-taking perspective, expect the Englishmen, led by the gritty Bell, to grind the Aussies into Trent Bridge’s course, sun-baked dust.
QUICK SINGLE: DAY THREE HIGHLIGHTS
Is it too much to expect a 19-year-old debutant to save Australia twice in the same Test? Probably, but Agar seems to have the temperament for it. He bowled without great menace but well enough. Two wickets – including the key one of Alastair Cook – was a good reward (three would have been better though umpire Dar!) but he will be hoping to pick up more and keep the Poms’ lead to something manageable. In truth, though, the Aussie bowlers need to hunt in a pack. All the quicks looked dangerous at times but everything needs to come together and quickly if this Test is to be won. Oh, and holding catches could help a little too.
Under the lid
Veteran Haddin came back into the Australian team, and the role of vice-captain, to add starch to the batting, reliability behind the stumps and leadership on the field. So far in this Test, he has made one run, dropped a likely century maker and played a critical part in what could possibly be the most ill-advised judgment to review an umpiring decision in the history of reviewing umpiring decisions. He needs to have a good day, starting with pouching anything that comes his way and stepping up when Australia set about reeling in what is already an imposing target.
QUICK SINGLE: FIRST TEST PHOTO GALLERY
In the medical room
Channelling Tim Tebow, English quick Broad fronted up to bat with shoulder pads that would not have looked out of place on the set of Dynasty. But he coped OK and the bruised shoulder James Pattinson found with a short ball in the first dig will be fine for bowling later in the match.
Despite his customary leg issues, Shane Watson has bowled 15 extraordinarily tight overs in England’s second innings. The only other injury on day three was to umpire Dar’s reputation.
Between the wickets
Spin and reverse swing will again be Australia’s main weapons with another hot, sunny day predicted for Nottingham. The only trouble is, the Poms have a couple of blokes who aren’t too shabby using those weapons either so don’t expect runs to flow too freely when the Aussies start their chase. And in case you’re wondering, rain over the next two days looks mighty unlikely.
Bye the way
Reason to be cheerful: The highest fourth-innings chase at Trent Bridge came from New Zealand in 1973. The Kiwis did lose that Test but managed to compile 440 runs while doing it – some sort of precedent that a chase of over 350 is not out of the question .
Reason to be gloomy: Ashton Agar became the youngest Australian spinner to take a wicket in a Test match since then 20-year-old Graham Hole against England back in 1951. In that game, the Aussies got belted by eight wickets.
Today’s play is dedicated to Ross Edwards:
Having started his career as a wicketkeeper, Western Australian Ross Edwards evolved into a middle-order batsman and renowned cover fieldsman by the time he was 29 years old and finally chosen by Australia for the 1972 Ashes tour.
In the Third Test at Trent Bridge, wearing the baggy green for only the second time, Edwards was unexpectedly asked to open the batting in Australia’s second innings, after usual opener Bruce Francis became ill. Edwards carved up the English attack to dominate the fourth day’s play, finishing with the visitors’ top score of 170 not out, with support from a few Australian lesser lights such Keith Stackpole, Ian and Greg Chappell, Doug Walters and Rod Marsh. Ian Chappell declared before the neat, upright Edwards could bring up a double ton.
The match was drawn but Australia knew it had found a new star opener! Edwards opened the batting in the next Test and made a pair.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 13 July, 2013 12:14PM AEDT