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ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the fourth day at Trent Bridge
George Dobell and Dan Brettig at Trent Bridge
July 13, 2013
Slip of the day
There are many ways to start the day's play. Mitchell Starc picked the car crash option. He delivered a head high full toss that almost killed his captain at first slip and cost his side five runs. If you looked at the day's balls on Hawkeye, you'd assume they had a bug in the system for the first delivery. Eventually Hawk Eye gave up and the path ends as a shadow. Steve Harmison's infamous ball in Brisbane might have been more high profile, but at least he hit the pitch and made it easy for his captain to handle catch it.
Key moment of the day
The dismissal of Michael Clarke - caught behind off the thinnest of outside edges - might be one of the defining moments of this game. Aleem Dar checked the ball had carried to Matt Prior cleanly before giving Clarke out but, having confirmed that with the TV umpire, Clarke utilised Australia's final review. Hot Spot showed the tinniest of marks. With Phil Hughes dismissed in the next over, after England used the DRS to show that more than half of the ball had, by a millimetre or two, pitched inside the line of leg stump. Australia could be justified in feeling that a series of marginal calls had gone against them in this game.
Misfield of the day
Only if England had been rolled over by a steamroller could they have looked more flat than when Shane Watson and Chris Rogers were together. The bowlers looked unthreatening; well Finn would have, if he got a bowl. In the field they lacked their usual energy and hunger. At no stage was this better illustrated than when two fielders got in each other's way, the ball was rebounded loose, and after a second or two they suddenly realised that there could actually be two runs there so for the first time they showed real intent.
Let off of the day
Ed Cowan was on a pair when Steven Finn started to bowl at him. Not just that but Cowan has spent a considerable period of this game in his hotel bathroom due to illness and knew his position was under threat. He was as close to "there for the taking" as a No. 3 batsman gets in Test cricket. But Finn, bowling without pace or control, gifted the most delicious long-hop - wide and outside off stump - to allow Cowan to cut a boundary and release the pressure. An over of similar deliveries followed, forcing Alastair Cook to post a sweeper on the cover boundary which meant there was an easy single through point to allow Cowan and Chris Rogers any easy release stroke. It underlined the sense that Finn, whether due to form or fitness, is currently struggling to fulfil his holding role in this England bowling attack. But he did improve in his second spell.
Celebration of the day
Ian Bell had scored Test centuries before - 17 times before - but the jump for joy, the punch of the air and the sustained celebrations upon reaching three figures betrayed his emotion on achieving this one. Perhaps relief was the primary emotion: Bell's form has not been great of late - he has averaged 30 since the start of 2012 - and he knew the murmurs about his place in the side and the old canard about him only scoring "soft" runs were returning. But here, with an Ashes Test at stake, his team in trouble and an Australian attack bowling well, he had delivered the innings required.
Umpiring error of the day
This has not been a game that either of these two well-respected umpires will reflect on with a great deal of fondness. On the fourth day it was the turn of Kumar Dharmasena to see one of his decisions overturned: having adjudged Rogers caught behind to a delivery from Graeme Swann, Australia utilised the review system and were rewarded when replays showed no edge. Rogers took one look at the replay, and went straight back to his crease to mark his guard. He clearly has more faith in Marius Erasmus than most of us.
Lapse of the day
In Joe Root's first over as tea ticked near, Chris Rogers had a careful look at the part-time offspinner before late cutting the final ball to the boundary. In his second, Rogers clipped a single first ball to leave Ed Cowan facing up to the final over of the afternoon session. Like Rogers, Cowan was initially circumspect. But unlike Rogers, he was unable to contain himself until the end of the over. The fourth ball was tossed up and Cowan leaned out to drive through cover. Root had barely spun a ball in his previous nine, but this one gripped out of the rough and took the edge to slip. Cowan crouched, motionless, before departing. It was not the sort of lapse Australia, or Cowan, can afford.
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