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July 17, 2009
Breakthrough of the day
Andrew Flintoff is best utilised as a shock bowler, but all too often in recent years, his impact has been blunted by over-use. Today, however, England got it right. After a six-over new-ball burst, in which he provided an ideal foil to James Anderson's swing, Flintoff returned for the same in the late afternoon, with Australia's fourth-wicket pair well set and England in some urgent need of inspiration. Lo and behold, up he popped with a 95mph bail-trimmer to extract Michael Hussey for 51, and suddenly the ascendancy was all theirs.
Trendsetter of the day
Ben Hilfenhaus's second delivery of the morning to the previously immoveable Andrew Strauss. England's captain was 161 not out overnight, and seemingly set to cruise past his previous best in Test cricket - 177 in Napier in March 2008 - and maybe even become England's first double-centurion at Lord's since Robert Key in 2004. But Hilfenhaus had other ideas, and with Strauss still settling back into his innings, he curled an inswinger into his off stump as the batsman shouldered arms. It set up a day in which ball would dominate bat.
Rearguard of the day
Having reached 196 for 0 in 47.4 overs, England lost their next nine wickets for 182 in 45.2, and were hurtling towards a rather sizeable embarrassment before their fortunes were restored, not for the first time this series, by a spirited last-wicket stand. James Anderson and Graham Onions added 47 precious runs to haul their side well past the 400 mark, and re-establish a measure of momentum. Onions scored his first Test runs in his third Test appearance, while Anderson extended his world-record feat of never making a Test duck to 51 innings. Their partnership was England's highest for the tenth wicket in Ashes Tests at Lord's.
Catch of the day
Stuart Broad spent a lot of the day lurking down at fine leg. For the second match running his bowling was off the pace, and it would not have been a surprise had he been somewhat introspective as he grazed in the outfield, contemplating the error of his ways. Not a bit of it. With England toiling for a breakthrough after tea, Simon Katich shoveled a pull off his hip, and Broad saw it all the way. Making superb ground to his right, he took off three yards inside the rope and pouched the catch while suspended in mid-air.
Visitor of the day
The players were delayed after lunch but they had a reasonable excuse. When the first session ended they lined up on the outfield to meet the Queen, who stood out in blue among the background of dark suits in her entourage. She seemed reasonably happy shortly after her arrival in the pavilion, turning and chatting to Prince Philip after James Anderson removed Phillip Hughes. On the field she spoke quietly to Simon Katich and Michael Hussey, the not-out batsmen, and the crowd was also polite. No renditions were sung to the Australians of "God save your Queen", but the Barmy Army will be back at Edgbaston.
Spew of the day
Peter Siddle was not a well man when play resumed this morning. He struggled his way through three overs in all, gagging and gasping at the end of each delivery, and though he still managed to remove his favourite punch-bag, Graeme Swann, with his sixth ball of the day, he was swiftly removed from the action after depositing his breakfast on the hallowed turf. Cricket Australia later confirmed that he was "generally unwell", a pronouncement that sounded more mysterious than it needed to have done. He still made the line-up to shake the Queen's hand though, to the delight of Republicans the length and breadth of his country.
Decision of the day
Ricky Ponting's peculiar extraction from the crease. With 20 minutes to go until the lunch break, Anderson tailed an impressive yorker into Ponting's pads from outside off stump, and England hedged their bets to appeal both for lbw, and for a subsequent catch by Strauss at first slip as the ball squirted through a tangle of limbs. In Rudi Koertzen's opinion, the lbw was out of the question, but Strauss's catch took his fancy. He referred the decision upstairs to check that it had carried, and as Nigel Llong reviewed the footage it became clear that Ponting had hit his toe with his bat, and not the ball. It also became clear, however, that the ball had been heading for the leg stump before impact, and so - although Llong was not in a position to over-rule Koertzen's decision - the correct outcome was somehow reached.
Mini-session of the day
It was a stop-start afternoon, with more stop than start, but for Broad that was just as well. With drizzle in the air and the ball threatening to hoop around corners, Strauss's preference for his bang-it-in merchant over the swing of Onions was puzzling at best, and counter-productive at worst. In a 21-ball burst between showers, Broad enabled Australia to add 18 confidence-boosting runs, including 11 from his last three deliveries, moments before the rains intervened to allow him to take stock. Banging it in did ultimately pay dividends, however, when Mitchell Johnson flapped an evening-session bouncer to Alastair Cook at backward square-leg.
Plays of the day from the IPL qualifier between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians in Delhi
With some of their big names stumbling this season, Kings XI Punjab were rarely serious contenders for a playoff place
None of the other three England bowlers with 300 Test wickets - or many other of the game's finest swing merchants - could have bowled better than James Anderson at Lord's
Royal Challengers began the season in full steam, but failed to replicate their consistency away from home
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