England v Australia, 3rd Investec Test, Old Trafford, 3rd day August 3, 2013

Australia maintain grip despite Pietersen ton

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England 294 for 7 (Pietersen 113, Cook, 62, Bell 60) trail Australia 527 for 7 dec by 233 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball

For a little more than two hours, England asserted the measure of control they required to secure this match, and the Ashes themselves. Though Australia's bowlers had toiled manfully and persistently, finding life where their opposite numbers had not, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell stood firm, the former thrusting to a fine hundred, the latter caressing his way towards a third such score of the series.

But right at the moment the tourists may have begun to flag, Ryan Harris found a way through the previously impassable Bell, tilting back his off stump and revitalising Australia. The wickets of Jonny Bairstow and Pietersen himself followed, leaving the Old Trafford Test finely balanced with two days remaining and maintaining Australia's heartening revival as belatedly serious contenders for the urn.

On a day of high quality and considerable intrigue, Harris, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle and Shane Watson all delivered searching spells. Pietersen and Bell can seldom have played better, their calculated attack on Nathan Lyon a critical passage on a pitch taking turn and bounce throughout. There were imponderables, too. Pietersen on 62 would have been out lbw had Michael Clarke assented to Watson's opinion that his old-ball inswinger was bound for the stumps. When Starc dismissed Pietersen lbw there was Hot Spot evidence of the merest nick.

Starc's contribution should not be underestimated, for his knack of taking wickets countered a tendency to lose his length and line at times. A mediocre delivery accounted for Alastair Cook thanks to a supreme leg-side diving catch by Brad Haddin, but Bairstow and Pietersen fell victim to a sublime spell of reverse movement as the evening drew in.

Recovered from an apparent stomach bug, Harris had opened up for Clarke alongside Siddle. Their early overs were relentlessly probing, offering only the most occasional scoring chances for Cook and Jonathan Trott, neither of whom looked comfortable despite a ball that was no longer new and a pitch possessing few demons.

Trott, who had begun the series in grand touch, was particularly scratchy, becalmed in much the same way Joe Root had been the previous night. Unable to get off strike, or hit the middle of the bat, Trott ultimately succumbed while doing his best not to play a shot at all, edging to Clarke at second slip while trying to leave Harris.

Pietersen's first few deliveries were no more convincing, as he fiddled loosely at balls zinging past him outside off stump as though wanting to offer a nick to the Australia cordon. Harris nearly burst a yorker through Pietersen also, but the entry of Starc and Watson to the bowling attack - while Lyon was oddly given only two overs - allowed a little pressure to be relaxed.

With Pietersen scoring freely and Cook carrying on stoically, England appeared set to reach lunch without further loss. But 12 minutes before the break a Starc delivery angling towards Cook's hip drew a fine leg glance and a rasping catch by Haddin, clasping the chance in the tip of his right glove as he threw himself full length. In the dying moments of the session Bell may have given up the thinnest of edges to Haddin off Starc, but only Australia's wicketkeeper went up for the catch.

That moment did not linger too much in Australian minds, but there was to be another midway through the afternoon. Pietersen and Bell had counter-attacked confidently and fruitfully, their chief achievement the removal of Lyon from the attack despite Australia's offspinner bowling well on a pitch that offered turn and bounce. Twice Pietersen lofted Lyon for six and Bell followed up with one of his own; not once could the bowler be said to have offered up something to hit.

Nonetheless, his withdrawal left Clarke searching for wickets, but when Watson found a hint of swing after replacing Lyon, the moment of success passed without the captain realising it. Pietersen had lurched forward and across to play through midwicket, and though Watson seemed adamant in his appeal Haddin and Clarke suggested the ball was swerving down the leg side.

But Hawk-Eye revealed it to be hitting leg stump squarely enough for Tony Hill's verdict to be overturned, and the sight of Darren Lehmann raising a glum finger from the balcony left Clarke pondering whether his moment had passed. Certainly there were few other glimmers offered by Pietersen and Bell, both well entrenched by the time the interval arrived and already taking some shine off the second new ball.

Safe as both batsmen looked, Australia required something beyond the sturdy stuff dished up in the first two sessions. True to his form so far in the series Harris would provide it. Moving most deliveries fractionally away from Bell, he conjured a nip-backer that beat an accomplished technician for length, pace and deviation, striking the top of off stump and reviving his team.

Bairstow and Pietersen then prospered for a time, but never with the security of the previous stand. Each bowler troubled Bairstow in turn, while Watson singed Pietersen's outside edge with a series of deliveries bending subtly away. Watson's frustration at this sequence was plain, but it did not prevent him from pouching a sharp low chance when Starc's angle eventually tempted Bairstow to flirt at a ball whirring across him.

Starc was by now finding the reverse swing that won him selection ahead of Jackson Bird, and two overs later he ensured Australian hope would be raised for the remainder of the match by pinning Pietersen lbw. The ball straightened down the line and would have crashed into middle stump, though there was the suspicion of an edge so thin that even Pietersen did not pick it up. Stuart Broad and Matt Prior were left to scratch around in the lengthening shadows, the match and the series still tantalisingly open.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • AussieSam on August 3, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    It's true that Starc can leak runs a bit too much sometimes and relieve pressure but you have to remember that our attack has three bowlers who are great at bowling line and length and drying up the runs (Siddle, Harris and Watson). I think that is why Starc has been preferred over Bird, not only just the fact he is a left armer. I've noticed he does have a knack of getting the big wickets too even when he doesn't get a bag of them. Cook was a HUGE wicket particularly in the context of this match.

    This has been a good partnership from Pieterson and Bell but I think we've done well to keep Pieterson quiet considering the ball getting old. Once again Bell seems to be the main thorn in our side. How we bowl with the second new ball will be vital in this innings and the whole match. I'm surprised Smith hasn't been given a bowl yet on this wicket and I think Clarke was a bit too quick to take off Lyon considering the amount of runs in the bank.

  • H_Z_O on August 4, 2013, 18:33 GMT

    @Jono Makim "so you are expecting Cook to never fall between 50 and 100 again?"

    No, of course not, but why is it OK for Australians to harp on, before this Test, that Clarke was due a big century (which he duly delivered) and that the Aussies would bat better (as they have here) but it's not OK for England fans to say that Cook and Trott are both due a century?

    As for Broad's figures, I remember similar figures for Anderson being mentioned in the build-up to the series, with Australians insisting they'd take him seriously when he averaged under 30. I pointed out at the time that I was sure he would, as under Saker his have stats improved. So have Broad's:

    Jimmy (Pre-Saker): Average 34.81, 3.4 wickets a match. Jimmy (Post-Saker): Average 25.39, 4.3 wickets a match.

    Broad (Pre-Saker): Average 36.15, 2.96 wickets a match. Broad (Post-Saker): Average 28.33, 3.7 wickets a match.

    The closest thing we have to Mitch is probably Finn. But he's young and has time to improve (probably will).

  • on August 4, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    The big question is how brave is Clarke going to be? It's a must win game, but in order to leave his bowlers enough time to bowl England out again, he'd probably have to declare earlier than he'd want especially when you take the potential weather issues into account. Could shape up to being a much closer match than England deserve it to be, and who knows they could actually pinch it (Fingers crossed). Unless Clarke just bats England out of the game, but what's the point? Ok it avoids the whitewash, but hands England the Ashes.

  • on August 4, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    @HZO, so you are expecting Cook to never fall between 50 and 100 again? Even Bradman got out cheap occasionally! You guys have absurd expectations. KP made a crucial 60 odd at Trent Bridge coming at 2 down for 10 or so when you guys were still well behind. So a crucial 50 and century from 5 innings against a good attack, in my opinion is good batting. Even at the top of their form batsmen are going to get out cheaply every now and then. And what of Bell, he is playing far beyond expectations I would have thought. Thats how cricket is

    Only Bradman and Headley have made centuries with the kind of frequency you seem to be demanding.

    Broad averages over 31 and takes on average 3.33 wickets per match. He is Englands Mitchell Johnson. He may have looked great at times but he is bowling too short and going past the edge too much. He may start out with other intentions but it never takes more than a boundary or two and its back to the naughty corner and a much shorter length.

  • AltafPatel on August 4, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    Aus should have extended first innings at least till 600. 1 & half day can not complete 2 innings and Aus can't take risk by declaring earlier. The stand by Haddin & Starc that was settled down very well and rhythm could have accelerated the run-rate, that's not easy in second innings. This has cost them minimal chance to grab the game.

  • H_Z_O on August 4, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    @Jono Makim on (August 4, 2013, 8:50 GMT) Now that, I agree with. Australia had the best of the batting conditions (they have actually at both of the previous Tests but didn't use them; the cloud cover at Trent Bridge made day 1 tricky, while Lord's had a touch of moisture on day 1 that disappeared by day 2, even England's lower-order benefitted from that) and I'd have thought the best two scenarios for Clarke were to bowl England out yesterday, even if it meant conceding 350 and foregoing the follow-on, or to have restricted the runs to maybe 180 in the day, even if that's at the cost of taking less wickets (because the follow-on becomes a real risk when you've got enough of a lead still left to fancy bowling the other side out and either not have to bat again, or be chasing a tiny amount (under 50).

    Today and tomorrow will be tough batting conditions. Getting quick runs will not be easy. All 3 results possible, for my money, albeit an England win is the least likely.

  • cccrider on August 4, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    Lyon is the work experience cricketer. Should be the real thing in O'Keefe.

  • H_Z_O on August 4, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    @Jono Makim on (August 4, 2013, 8:16 GMT) It's no excuse, but there's no way this is England playing as well as they can, especially the batsmen.

    Pietersen's been very good? Nonsense. He wasn't even that fluent during his knock yesterday, Bell looked far more fluent, but KP dug in and that's what impressed me the most about that century.

    Cook's never passed 50 as captain and failed to score a century before this series. Done it twice already. Prior's out of form. Trott's looked good and then gotten out (which is very unlike him).

    As for Broad, not only is he among our best 3, he's up there with Jimmy when he's on form and bowling well. In the past, that's been a rare sight, but this series he's been our best seamer. Obviously Trent Bridge was Jimmy's Test, but Broad had an injury and still got some crucial wickets. Since then, in 8 days of cricket, he's been our best seamer. Was brilliant at Lord's and got nothing to show for it.

    Happens to bowlers all the time. Lyon, for example.

  • on August 4, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    Australia s grip on the game is getting stronger thats gud petrson is a special player who plays on big occasions

  • SNIFFLEATHER on August 4, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    Australia may well be in the driving seat, but the Manchester weather has yet to come into play - and it will, soon enough. Probably the tourists only serious chance of a positive result in the series and the rain will likely wash it away - shame, but that's cricket. Good to see more of a contest this time though, especially after the second test.

  • AussieSam on August 3, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    It's true that Starc can leak runs a bit too much sometimes and relieve pressure but you have to remember that our attack has three bowlers who are great at bowling line and length and drying up the runs (Siddle, Harris and Watson). I think that is why Starc has been preferred over Bird, not only just the fact he is a left armer. I've noticed he does have a knack of getting the big wickets too even when he doesn't get a bag of them. Cook was a HUGE wicket particularly in the context of this match.

    This has been a good partnership from Pieterson and Bell but I think we've done well to keep Pieterson quiet considering the ball getting old. Once again Bell seems to be the main thorn in our side. How we bowl with the second new ball will be vital in this innings and the whole match. I'm surprised Smith hasn't been given a bowl yet on this wicket and I think Clarke was a bit too quick to take off Lyon considering the amount of runs in the bank.

  • H_Z_O on August 4, 2013, 18:33 GMT

    @Jono Makim "so you are expecting Cook to never fall between 50 and 100 again?"

    No, of course not, but why is it OK for Australians to harp on, before this Test, that Clarke was due a big century (which he duly delivered) and that the Aussies would bat better (as they have here) but it's not OK for England fans to say that Cook and Trott are both due a century?

    As for Broad's figures, I remember similar figures for Anderson being mentioned in the build-up to the series, with Australians insisting they'd take him seriously when he averaged under 30. I pointed out at the time that I was sure he would, as under Saker his have stats improved. So have Broad's:

    Jimmy (Pre-Saker): Average 34.81, 3.4 wickets a match. Jimmy (Post-Saker): Average 25.39, 4.3 wickets a match.

    Broad (Pre-Saker): Average 36.15, 2.96 wickets a match. Broad (Post-Saker): Average 28.33, 3.7 wickets a match.

    The closest thing we have to Mitch is probably Finn. But he's young and has time to improve (probably will).

  • on August 4, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    The big question is how brave is Clarke going to be? It's a must win game, but in order to leave his bowlers enough time to bowl England out again, he'd probably have to declare earlier than he'd want especially when you take the potential weather issues into account. Could shape up to being a much closer match than England deserve it to be, and who knows they could actually pinch it (Fingers crossed). Unless Clarke just bats England out of the game, but what's the point? Ok it avoids the whitewash, but hands England the Ashes.

  • on August 4, 2013, 11:30 GMT

    @HZO, so you are expecting Cook to never fall between 50 and 100 again? Even Bradman got out cheap occasionally! You guys have absurd expectations. KP made a crucial 60 odd at Trent Bridge coming at 2 down for 10 or so when you guys were still well behind. So a crucial 50 and century from 5 innings against a good attack, in my opinion is good batting. Even at the top of their form batsmen are going to get out cheaply every now and then. And what of Bell, he is playing far beyond expectations I would have thought. Thats how cricket is

    Only Bradman and Headley have made centuries with the kind of frequency you seem to be demanding.

    Broad averages over 31 and takes on average 3.33 wickets per match. He is Englands Mitchell Johnson. He may have looked great at times but he is bowling too short and going past the edge too much. He may start out with other intentions but it never takes more than a boundary or two and its back to the naughty corner and a much shorter length.

  • AltafPatel on August 4, 2013, 11:08 GMT

    Aus should have extended first innings at least till 600. 1 & half day can not complete 2 innings and Aus can't take risk by declaring earlier. The stand by Haddin & Starc that was settled down very well and rhythm could have accelerated the run-rate, that's not easy in second innings. This has cost them minimal chance to grab the game.

  • H_Z_O on August 4, 2013, 10:19 GMT

    @Jono Makim on (August 4, 2013, 8:50 GMT) Now that, I agree with. Australia had the best of the batting conditions (they have actually at both of the previous Tests but didn't use them; the cloud cover at Trent Bridge made day 1 tricky, while Lord's had a touch of moisture on day 1 that disappeared by day 2, even England's lower-order benefitted from that) and I'd have thought the best two scenarios for Clarke were to bowl England out yesterday, even if it meant conceding 350 and foregoing the follow-on, or to have restricted the runs to maybe 180 in the day, even if that's at the cost of taking less wickets (because the follow-on becomes a real risk when you've got enough of a lead still left to fancy bowling the other side out and either not have to bat again, or be chasing a tiny amount (under 50).

    Today and tomorrow will be tough batting conditions. Getting quick runs will not be easy. All 3 results possible, for my money, albeit an England win is the least likely.

  • cccrider on August 4, 2013, 10:07 GMT

    Lyon is the work experience cricketer. Should be the real thing in O'Keefe.

  • H_Z_O on August 4, 2013, 9:59 GMT

    @Jono Makim on (August 4, 2013, 8:16 GMT) It's no excuse, but there's no way this is England playing as well as they can, especially the batsmen.

    Pietersen's been very good? Nonsense. He wasn't even that fluent during his knock yesterday, Bell looked far more fluent, but KP dug in and that's what impressed me the most about that century.

    Cook's never passed 50 as captain and failed to score a century before this series. Done it twice already. Prior's out of form. Trott's looked good and then gotten out (which is very unlike him).

    As for Broad, not only is he among our best 3, he's up there with Jimmy when he's on form and bowling well. In the past, that's been a rare sight, but this series he's been our best seamer. Obviously Trent Bridge was Jimmy's Test, but Broad had an injury and still got some crucial wickets. Since then, in 8 days of cricket, he's been our best seamer. Was brilliant at Lord's and got nothing to show for it.

    Happens to bowlers all the time. Lyon, for example.

  • on August 4, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    Australia s grip on the game is getting stronger thats gud petrson is a special player who plays on big occasions

  • SNIFFLEATHER on August 4, 2013, 9:08 GMT

    Australia may well be in the driving seat, but the Manchester weather has yet to come into play - and it will, soon enough. Probably the tourists only serious chance of a positive result in the series and the rain will likely wash it away - shame, but that's cricket. Good to see more of a contest this time though, especially after the second test.

  • my.favourite.stroke.is.the.block on August 4, 2013, 9:04 GMT

    Cook must regret that attempted leg glance. Why do batsmen play this shot? It rarely scores and always looks risky. It can't be a percentage shot, yet everyone except Bell seems to attempt it whenever the ball is missing leg stump.

  • on August 4, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    @JG2704, I'd say things were pretty much even yesterday, if not a little for England. The best days for batting were 1 & 2. You can't really expect England to be so brash as to go out and rack up 350 in a day against a strong attack when so far behind on the scoreboard. I think they went out and did exactly what they had to do and can be satisfied. They made Aus work bloody hard for their wickets and managed to make some good runs doing so. Aus on the other hand will have been wanting probably two more wickets and would have expected a little better from Lyon, i'd have thought. Pretty close to even stevens for the day I reckon.

  • The_Swing_Bowler on August 4, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    For all the talk about how dangerous Lyon has looked he still has 0 wickets against his name, bowling on a third day pitch after Swann took wickets bowling on a 1st/2nd day pitch. Misleading as it may be Agar has still taken more wickets then Lyon in this series. For that matter so has Steven Smith. Until he can actually start taking wickets when needed his place in the team will continue to be questioned.

    And no I don't have the solution. His technique seems fine - he gets a lot of turn. He seems to lacking in guile to be able to manipulate the batsmen into getting out, ala Warne or Swann. Hopefully this will come with time and experience - and sooner rather than later.

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    It'll be interesting to see how Broad,Prior and Swann go about today. All are naturally aggressive batsmen. Taking time out of the game would be great but I'd say avoiding the follow on would be better as Clarke will not be sure of how much time he has to bowl Eng out a 2nd time so I wonder if going against the grain will be the best way in such circumstances?

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2013, 8:30 GMT

    @HZO/JMC - I'd say in the context of a normal game , you'd say honours even but if we're going by the yardstick of Australia's 1st inns score in the context of the match (I'd say it was Australia's day.

    @ Chris_P - Yeah , you're spot on. I was just putting across that although Aus are well on top and Eng are in trouble it could have been a whole lot better for Aus and a whole lot worse for Eng who could be following on before today's play starts

    @ Shan156 - TBH , Eng have a long term plan for Root so they're as likely to revert to him going back down the order as they are going to 5/1/5. I just think JB has done just as well as any other number 6 (Taylor,Bopara,Morgan etc) . In fact I'd say better as JB has made some game changing contributions at 6 whereas the others seem to have made contributions only when Eng have been well on top anyway.

  • JG2704 on August 4, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    there @ dunger.bob on (August 4, 2013, 0:36 GMT) I suppose Bell hasn't scored 3 tons in a row - just 3 tons in 3 consecutive Ashes tests. So , if weather permits , it's still possible in the 2nd inns. Surely as an Aus fan you'd prefer the win over Bell creating history? PS don't see Eng getting close to 500 so the main dilemma would be (if they avoid the follow on) how ambitious is MC's declaration , the problem being the weather. If you have a good idea you can plan more but it seems that we're going to lose time for weather but no one knows how much

  • on August 4, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    I must say that I find this notion of England being below their best absolutely mystifying. Swann and Anderson have been very good at times, the other seamers have been decent with the odd good spell and the odd average one. That's pretty much how England's bowling is, for mine Broad is definitely not amongst your best 3 seamers, but you keep picking him, Anderson is never particularly dangerous when there is no swing. On the batting side Bell and Pietersen have been very good while the rest have chipped in here and there. With two young batsmen in the line-up and Trott looking a bit out of sorts i'd question what exactly English fans are awaiting, 500/3 declared every time you bat? Siddle and Harris are very fine bowlers, they will take wickets even on flat tracks.

    I've never seen any team with xi players all in super touch at once, not even when Aus won 16 on the trot did they have that, just doesn't happen.

  • 5wombats on August 4, 2013, 8:14 GMT

    @deathstar01, er, it was 5 wickets.... us 5wombats are good at counting to 5. Funny days cricket. Can't see an Australia win from here - they still need 13 wickets to win this Test and there is likely to be rain it seems. I can't see England falling in a heap on Day 5; they didn't in Nagpur courtesy of Trott and Bell tons. Couple of things are evident though; 1) Swann took 5 in the first 2 days - Lyon took zip on day 3. It doesn't look as if Clarke trusts him. I don't think he's the man to bowl Aus to victory. I have been wrong before though.... 2) Trott is in poor form. 3) Harris is a pretty decent bowler - I always thought so. Well played sir. 4) To win a Test normally a side needs to be bowled out cheaply - that hasn't happened yet. I think England will bat on and get to about 360-400. 5) Australia, or rather - Clarke, has done well. I didn't think they would cross 300 in the whole series. PS we are in Queensland now; Cairns. @Chris_P - will be in Brisbane briefly on Saturday.

  • milepost on August 4, 2013, 7:39 GMT

    @brusselslion - I haven't blamed anything for Australia's losses. In fact I have heaped praise on Bell, Swann and Anderson. I highly rate Prior and Cook too. Winning a toss on wickets prepared to suit the home team (no issues with that by the way) might help but its no excuse for our previous batting failures. I also lauded the 2005 series as amazing despite being on the losing end. I'm a cricket fan, not a one sided English fan. I get the feeling that England fans are hurting a little from their years of being well beaten but it's just cricket, it's just a game. Notions here that England are a far superior team that if they play to potential will beat Australia hands down blah blah blah. Here's the reality, great teams do play to potential.

  • mjrvasu on August 4, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    Fascinating Test Match, this. Pietersen's counter-attack in adversity was a treat to watch, despite the relentless and probing Aussie attack, barring some loose deliveries. While DRS has its flaws, it is ironical that both captains missed their window of opportunity. Cook should not have ignored Bresnan's capability with the bat - remember the other Test where Bresnan stood firm for a good session and a half - saving his wicked through DRS would have almost certainly saved at least one more crucial hour for England. Clarke missed his chance against Petersen, who in turn missed his own in the end. Hoping for some real tail-wagging by the host country, that could lead the first Emirates Old Trafford Test Match to the wire on Monday! Good luck to both sides.

  • DustBowl on August 4, 2013, 7:09 GMT

    I don't want to diminish Harris's bowling - and what a bowler he is; but was Bell late on the ball? ie surprised Geoff Boycott commented "How does Bell get out" - (before he did). ie He has arguably the best technique of both teams. Just after a ton twice, and well in at 60. HE GETS OUT IN 'RIDICULOUS' circumstances. -- KP got out at 113, but you could see him building for a big one - his team needed that. I wait for Bell's BIG one (under pressure), and not when everyone else does it.

  • popcorn on August 4, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    I felt Michael Clarke was not aggressive enough - he could have bootled up the Poms with a four pronged spin attack - Lyon,Smith, warner and himself,and mixed it uop with pace at one end, spin at the other, frustrated the Engliush batsmen, enticing them to make mistakes.Still, considering the fact that it is a good batting wicket,7 for 294 is a good effort by the Aussies. I hope we skittle them out in the first oner hour, play a Twenty20 like second innings, build a lead of 400 and declare after the first hour post the Tea Break. That will give Clarke 110 overs to bowl them out the Poms and win the Test. Next Test,let us not experiment any more with Warner at Number 6. Drop him, get the reliable Ed Cowan to open with Chris Rogers, Khawaja at 3, Clarke at 4, Steve Smith at 5.Place Shane Watson at Number 6,then he is fit to bowl too. Besides, he will consioolidate the Engine Room's foundation.Watson is no good as an opener.But he has bowling expertise,better than Warner.

  • big_al_81 on August 4, 2013, 6:39 GMT

    @whofriggincares. I actually think that you're right in several things you say, the gap is not as big as the scoreline suggests. But to say that India are better than England just undermines everything else you say for those who are looking to disagree with you. There is simply no way of making that assertion look convincing or, frankly, even sane. SA are obviously better at the moment, but play a scandalously small amount of tests which is a shame. The Aussie batsmen played with much better intent than England's and the bowlers have just been far better - Broad and especially Anderson were very disappointing on the first day and for some of the second. As someone else has pointed out, for games on a track like this, England would have been better with 5 bowlers so I think it would have been worth having Monty (bowls here for fun - loads of wickets at 17) in for Bairstow and we might have seen Australia bowled out for significantly less. But hindsight is a wonderful thing.

  • cric_J on August 4, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    @Shan156 : I almost always agree with your views. But I do differ on your take on Bairstow and am in full agreement with @JG2704 and @jmcilhinney on the issue.

    Agreed that he isn't very sound technically and needs to improve on his confidence and mental toughness as well, but he has produced a few crucial 60s and 70s recently. Also I don't think England have a better keeper to groom than Jonny. So it becomes more of a case of a "better than the rest candidate " rather than the " best candidate". He surely deserves a few more chances IMO.

    But I sort of agree that despite his being an opening bat for Yorkshire, Root probably looks better in the middle order as far as this England team is considered.

    Also you are being pretty harsh on Bres. He hasn't dished out a grounbreaking performance but he hasn't done much wrong either. Even Jimmy went wicketless on this ground ! In fact I'd say Bres looked a much better bowler in this match than Jimmy with very less to show for it.

  • deathstar01 on August 4, 2013, 6:29 GMT

    Good day for the Aussies but not a bad one for the English also. They lost just six wickets in a day and on the verge of denying the follow-on. Broad and Swan's test batting records are enough to give England a close to 400 score and thus make a draw. Though, I hope and pray for a Aussie win here.

  • cric_J on August 4, 2013, 6:17 GMT

    A fascinating day's play and both teams can take heart from their efforts. This may well turn out to be an intriguing match with none of the 3 results completely out of the equation, though a draw/ Aussie win seem more probable.

    A remarkable knock from KP. I'd been desperately waiting for a big one for him and it couldn't have come at a better time. Bell just continued his sublime touch.Cook looked very fluent and solid for the first time in the series IMO. But he was unlucky to fall to a good ball and a terrific catch by Haddin.

    I'd have to say that the Aussie bowlers were better than ours by being more patient with their lines and pitching it a touch fuller (Harris esp), so credit to them.

    England are ideally 2 wkts down too many. Prior hasn't quite made a mark yet in the series and this would be the perfect time to do it. Broady, Swanny need to be patient and aim for a 350+.

    It'll be a crucial 1st hour and I expect Clarke to enforce the follow on if they get the 3 wkts cheaply.

  • RednWhiteArmy on August 4, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    Yeeees, that's the series to England, thanks for coming. Now you can go and whinge to your friends about the umpires & how lucky England are to consistently beat australia hahaha

  • Mayank19 on August 4, 2013, 5:55 GMT

    I don't think England would have got this far if Michael Clarke had given the ball to Steve Smith. Every time Australia have gone wicketless for too long, Steve Smith has provided them with the breakthrough. A leg spinner to Pieterson on a turning track would have done something for Clarke. If Nathan Lyon is the best spinner that Australia have got right now, I'm afraid Australia will suffer in this series. The pitch will offer more assistance to the spinners in the next 2 days an if Michael Clarke has to win this, he has to give the ball to Smith.

  • heathrf1974 on August 4, 2013, 5:45 GMT

    I think the Aussie pace bowlers have bowled quite well on an un-helpful wicket. Starc made a comeback from erratic bowling to claim two wickets. However, Lyon has been disappointing. Although he is not the same class of Swann he should have a couple of wickets. He needs to lift his performance or his test career might have a break.

  • on August 4, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    Once again the Aussie seamers have to break their backs because Lyon can't take important wickets (he took 9 in a dead rubber)

  • TheBigBoodha on August 4, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    Can't see Aus forcing the follow on even if they bundle out the last three wickets in quick time. Whoever is batting after lunch on day 5 will be in danger of being bundled out for a low score. Better to pile on a quick 200 and make Eng bat again. The real winner here is the curator, who has been told to ensure a draw so England take theAshes.

  • Shan156 on August 4, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    @whofriggincares, I see that my previous comment was not published. England have 6 batsmen who average over 40. Aus. has one who, however, averages over 50. England has 3 bowlers who have 200+ wickets, Aus. has Siddle who has 160+ and the rest have not played enough tests. Experience-wise, England are way ahead. If both sides play to their potential, Eng. would win comfortably. That is what happened in 2010-2011 down under. Still full credit to Aus. for executing their plans well for each Eng. player. Not many fans, me included, truly believed that England would win 5-0 but it is a fact that England have underperformed in this series and are still ahead 2-0. India better than England in tests? lol. That really was a funny comment.

  • Shan156 on August 4, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    @whofriggincares, India is superior to England? Really? Is that why we beat them 4-0 at home and 2-1 away? What I meant was England has more experience and potentially more superior. They have not played to their potential in this series. If and when both sides play to their potential, England will show that they are far superior (like they did in 2010-2011). Aus. has the most hyped up players - Siddle (who has struggled in the SC, Pattinson, Harris (who both seldom play more than 2 tests a series), Bird (who?), Smith, Rogers, Haddin and the list goes on. Truth is you have one world class player in Clarke. England have KP, Cook, Trott, Bell, Anderson, and Swann. No difference between the two sides? Yes, that is why we are 2-0 up and beat you 3-1 last time. oh, we all forgot India's absolute annihilation of Aus in Ind. after Eng. just beat them 2-1.

  • Mad_Hamish on August 4, 2013, 5:05 GMT

    @Vinay Kolhatkar You might want to check the rules for overruling lbw calls. When England referred on Smith Hawkeye said that under half of the ball was hitting the stumps, which means it goes with the umpire's original decision. When Watson appealed against KP and it wasn't referred Hawkeye said that over half of the ball was hitting the stumps which means it would have been reversed.

    It's not a matter of the 3rd umpire's opinion on the lbws on DRS it's simply a matter of what Hawkeye says.

  • on August 4, 2013, 4:33 GMT

    it's Australia on points but only 3, 6 and 5 wickets have fallen on the three days. as i suggested, a quick 450 would have been better than a slower 500. would have preferred England to be chasing the game rather than shutting up shop, they are too solid and we don't have the quality leggie to undo that strategy.

    still, a few early wickets and then chuck the bat, we only have to scramble to 150 to be competitive and 200 to be safe, so try and score at 5 an over so we have at least 100 overs at them. if we lose, no biggie...

  • on August 4, 2013, 4:27 GMT

    Daniel Brettig, it's wrong to say KP would have been out on 62 if a referral had taken place. Smith was out four times altogether, the first when on 2, lbw to Swann. The referral lost even as Hawkeye confirmed it. Especially after Khawaja, this TV umpire is as good as not there. BTW, England need to take 4 specialist bowlers--add Tremlett and Monty instead of the 2 all-rounders. On this pitch if they had Monty in tandem with Swann, Oz might have been all out 300. Bairstow also needs to be replaced.

  • DavoWilly on August 4, 2013, 4:03 GMT

    Great test so far. Highly commendable effort by oz bowlers on a road. Quite unlucky at times I thought. The sheer number of plays and misses and amount of circumspection (even from Pietersen at times) just goes to show how different this series could be if only oz can maintain batting standards (yeah, BIG if). Overall our seam bowlers slightly ahead. Last 3 wickets are vital for oz chances... if they maintain lead of 150 +, then hit a quickfire 200, in with a good chance... Monday's rain a worry tho. Long live Test cricket.

  • OneEyedAussie on August 4, 2013, 3:51 GMT

    While Australia have played well so far in this test, I think we will see a finish to this match which is familiar to many of the past 4 years. Australia have their opponent bloodied on the ropes but are unable to finish them off and end up with a draw. The buoyed opponent carries momentum into the next game and Australia loses heavily.

  • on August 4, 2013, 3:41 GMT

    The noises include the spikes on ground the flapping of a shirt even the glovrs on the bst can make noise. you try it fromm 22 yards and see if u can identify sounds that dont sound like bat on ball. As far as the DRS this should only be used at the umpires descretion only. This would take the stupidity of pride away from the players and go back to accepting the umpires decision. what do you guys think?

  • on August 4, 2013, 3:35 GMT

    interesting comments re: England the superior team. Firstly i would have to say ...no... i would suggest they are the better team playing as a unit. Lets look at the 1st test. Take out Bells 100 and Agars 98 the rest were pretty average on both sides and bowling was very good on both sides.England win by being the better team. 2nd test England were the better team Aust performed poorly. Interestingly so far in the 3rd test Aust are the better team and Eng performing poorly. So as far as i can see thr teams are quiet evenly matched apart from a couple of brilliant individual performances on both sides. 1 thing regarding umpiring. Those who have never umpired in high class cricket please refrain from harsh comments. on field umpiring is a challenge both mentally and physically even for elite umpires. They dont have the luxury of technology for that split second they have to make a decision i have been an umpire and i know how hard it is as there are a myriad of noises at every ball. TBC

  • Cover_drive1 on August 4, 2013, 3:23 GMT

    Looks like England will probably be saved by the looming poor weather forecast here. Which is unfortunate for the series. Australia have certainly played the better cricket in this match. England actually batted OK, but the Australian bowlers got a lot more out of this pretty flat wicket than the Eng bowlers did. There's actually not a huge difference between these two sides. One very poor match (Lords) where Aust played well below it's best. The other test matches have been a much better reflection of where the two sides are at. Trent Bridge could have gone either way (14 runs in it), and this test would probably go Australia's way if weather doesn't intervene. All this talk of 5-0 whitewash by arrogant English commentators is absolute nonsense, and not shared by any objective observer.

  • pat_one_back on August 4, 2013, 2:57 GMT

    Australia are right in this, even with a Pietersen hundred Eng's modest clip is keeping this game wide open if weather holds. The lead as it standa equates to 120 for Aust to take 13 wickets on a wearing pitch now offering up good turn & reverse. Credit to all the Aussie bowlers for remaining so tight, Lyon took some tap but it was hardly due to loose bowling, it's simply how a set KP plays any offie coming his way. Anyway barring an weather Eng will need some heroics to retain the ashes with this test.

  • whofriggincares on August 4, 2013, 2:50 GMT

    @shan156, Far superior? Mate you are deluding yourself. Yes England have an edge no doubt but most informed observers know there is not much difference between the two sides. Rogers has basically matched Cook if not bettered him . Root has played one good innings and should have been out early in that one to a regulation caught behind. Bell has been superb and it is good too see him playing to his potential I love watching him bat brilliant technician. We will see if as one know it all know nothing has commented on here it will be Clarkes one big score for the series. ( check the Saffer and Indian series in Oz he has a habit of making big hundreds) and India and South Africa are both superior sides to this hyped up English outfit. Swann is the major difference and the way Clarke took it to him was refreshing and may have changed the course of the series . England will probably still win but it wont be a walk in the park. For a "far superior" side you seem to be 3 for bugger all a lot.

  • Chris_P on August 4, 2013, 2:33 GMT

    @JG704. te: Pieterson's LBW. I also thought it may have been sliding down leg, along with Haddin & given Watson's history with reviews, he sort of made it difficult to present a logical case. I got no problems with the decision, to me it wasn't a "howler" although the Bell 'nick" to Haddin was totally full of intrigue re: snickjo vs. hot spot. Something is unusual as the same happened with Smith & Prior. I got no theories to offer on that.

  • on August 4, 2013, 2:29 GMT

    Even the most rusted on Australian booster can see that we are hopeless against spin. I reckon you could bowl us out for less than 200 each innings if you took two spinners in. Also I think that the author is very gracious in asserting that Australia has a realistic chance in this series, although a test win is a possibility.

  • jmcilhinney on August 4, 2013, 2:10 GMT

    @JG2704 on (August 3, 2013, 20:51 GMT), yes I would say that honours were even for the day. You say "Based on Aus 1st inns I'd say it was another Aus day" but the honours for this day have nothing to do with any other. In isolation, I think today was relatively even. In the context of the match, as I said myself, Australia are still well ahead.

  • Shan156 on August 4, 2013, 1:51 GMT

    @JG2704, No mate, it is not. I have been watching Bairstow and he seriously seems to lack the technique needed at this level. He was scratchy and was struggling against both pace and spin. No question about his fielding but there are far better keepers in the county to choose from. I know they won't do 5-1-5. With the form of our batsmen, they should not. Root did score a ton in the previous test but he was also dropped at 6. He has failed in the rest of the tests and appears to enjoy batting in the middle order more. So, we need to go back to Compton who shouldn't have been dropped in the first place.

    @brusselslion, maybe. In fact, Bres looked the best of the 3 seamers in this test but that was because the other two bowled poorly. Way below their standards. Bres is not a wicket taker. At best, he can keep things tight but he is not going to run through sides like Finn or Tremlett. Let's face it, he is in there because he can bat a bit better but even his batting has suffered.

  • on August 4, 2013, 1:48 GMT

    The possibilities from here on are many ------ a) England might lose their last three wickets without adding the required 34, and be forced to follow on. They will then have to bat out of their skins and play out the best part of two days to save the Test. However that would mean Australia bowling Siddle and Harris to the ground, at the risk of losing them for the next Test. b) England might add another 50 or 60 runs and end up conceding a lead of 170 to Australia. Australia, since they are trailing by 2-0 in the series, have no choice but to go for the jugular, come out with aggression, blast their way to 200 within three hours, and then declare, leaving England to score 370, or more realistically, survive 110 overs. c) Australia might want to set England a tempting target in the fourth innings so as to induce aggression and errors from the England batsmen, unleash their mongrel of fast bowlers on England, and thus try to get back in the series.

  • ozwriter on August 4, 2013, 1:31 GMT

    clarke seriously needs his head checked. he 'trusts the batsman's judgement' when he doesn't think he hit it when in fact he clearly did. then he doesn't trust the bowler's call, when there was no clarity whatsoever that he was not out. and, one other thing to ponder, if harris had bowled the ball, would clarke have reviewed? I hope like anything that clarke has not sunk to that level.

  • H_Z_O on August 4, 2013, 1:21 GMT

    @righthandbat on (August 3, 2013, 21:39 GMT) I was going to defend Broad and Bresnan (who both bowled excellently with little luck on a great pitch against the second best batsman in the world after Hashim Amla) but then I read the rest of your suggestions and I realised you were only kidding. Nobody would seriously be suggesting dropping a man averaging 49 in Test cricket for a guy averaging 16.

    @JG2704 on (August 3, 2013, 20:51 GMT) yeah, I'd say honours even, and had Bell and Pietersen still been there I'd have said it was actually our day, not just even. If they had, I'd have backed us to get the lead down to 100, and that forces Clarke to take huge risks. Even as it stands, Clarke will need to be bold, and that opens up a slim chance for us to win. We only need a draw and I'd be mightily disappointed in us if we can't do that from here, especially with rain forecast.

  • Chris_P on August 4, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    Good effort by KP, he is a class act & always up for a fight. With a long day on the field, I would prefer we bat again, score quickly & set a target, hopefully the pitch will help us further. You got to love test cricket.

  • H_Z_O on August 4, 2013, 0:59 GMT

    @thebrotherswaugh on (August 3, 2013, 17:41 GMT) Regardless of whether we do knock off the runs to avoid the follow-on (we should but I take nothing for granted with Prior's current run of form) I wouldn't enforce it if I were Clarke.

    No way will this pitch get easier to bat on. But I believe the forecast is for patchier rain tomorrow, if anything, but Monday is almost certainly going to be longer spells of rain. You'd generally rather be bowling in that scenario than batting, as it's easy to lose concentration, whereas the rest can do the bowlers some good (and a bit of moisture in the air should mean it swings).

    It would have been different with a lead of 350 (as looked probable at one stage) but I don't think 230-odd will be enough to bowl England out and not bat again. If you're going to bat again, better to do it tomorrow I'd think. And yeah, I'd promote Warner to open, go T20/ODI style with Watson, get some quick runs.

    Set England a tempting 300 to go 3-0 up, see if they bite.

  • dunger.bob on August 4, 2013, 0:46 GMT

    ..cont

    Yesterday I confidently predicted the pitch was going to start playing tricks. Today I confidently proclaim I have no freaking idea what the pitch is going to do. .. Nothing, probably. Flat as a pancake. Smooth as hot-mix. If only all roads were this good. For this reason I reckon the match is as good as drawn already.

    If England get close to 500, it's a goner. Match drawn. If Aus. gets a lead of 150+ early tomorrow then we have to bat for 2 sessions and go hell for leather. That's OK, that's our natural game anyway. .. declare if we get to a 300 lead and see what happens. Could win, could lose. Gotta try though.

    Either way it's been a good game so far and there's renewed interest in the series. .. I couldn't be happier.

    @ Simon Nicholas Worden : Awakening Giants you say. .. Interesting. .. there is a certain giant from southern climes that's been well and truly comatose for a number of years now. .. careful you don't wake the wrong one up with all your bell ringing.

  • dunger.bob on August 4, 2013, 0:36 GMT

    Another cracking days Test cricket. .. beautiful knock by KP. .. he really is a handful of trouble. .. Warne said it's just a lot of fun bowling to KP because you know he's trying to hit you out of the attack. .. maybe it's fun if your name is Warne, not so much if it's Lyon I suspect.

    Even though he's one of those dastardly Pom's, I was slightly disappointed when Bell got out. If any one deserves to be the first Brit to score 4 Ashes tons in a row it's him. He's been an absolute rock and a big, big part of England's ascendency so far. .. our guys simply have no clue how to get him out other than what Harris did. That is, keep bowling him jaffa's and pray he eventually makes a tiny mistake. Other than that, there doesn't seem to be any plan that works. .. he's a very good player and good luck to him.. .. cont

  • Moppa on August 4, 2013, 0:32 GMT

    @Haiphong, I agree with your strategy, assuming we can't enforce the follow on. In either scenario, a few complications arise from the close back-to-back Tests. In either scenario, Australia will find itself bowling for the best part of three days (Saturday, Sunday, Monday) and then backing up for another Test on the Friday. Based on both the Durham pitch and the fatigue of the bowling attack, Bird has to come in for the next Test. Back to this Test, another interesting scenario arises if England put on another 100 or so tomorrow (i.e. a lead of only 130 odd). To what extent will Clarke be willing to risk a loss to gain an slim chance of victory? Viewed from the prism of this series, he has to take that risk, but taking into account the follow-up series in Australia, I think the psychological blow of losing this Test from a dominant position could crush this young and mentally fragile team, and therefore the risk should be minimised, even at the expense of surrendering this series.

  • Shaggy076 on August 4, 2013, 0:31 GMT

    Finally a day with absolutely no umpire controversy yet people are still winging. Completely understandable how far Pietersen was forward that it was given not out and not reviewed. Then Pietersen was clearly out if he nicked it he would have reviewed straight away. It was a good day by the umpires.

  • millsy24 on August 4, 2013, 0:06 GMT

    Mitty2, When you have Siddle, Harris and Watson all doing the line and length thing, why would Bird make any difference? In the trial game, Bird bowled better on one day and then Starc bowled better the next day? Starc is also a way better bat and you can't have Bird and Lyon down the bottom doing nothing. You also seem to forget that in the 1st test Starc was more economical and took top and middle order wickets than Pattinson who got smashed around all over the place. How many actual batsmen did Pattinson get out in his 2 tests? You obviously have an agenda against Clarke and Starc, care to explain it?

  • garibaldi on August 4, 2013, 0:06 GMT

    Agree with landl47 - the range of scenarios is unique to test cricket! A few spring to mind: 1. Aus knock over the last 3 quickly and can enforce the follow-on; they do so, but England resist with fair success and in between rain interruptions end the day on 120-odd for 3. Verdict: England likely to save game 2. England successfully avoid the follow-on but only just. Australia bat again, and Clarke instructs them to play a T20 style game. They knock up 170 in a session and declare, leaving England a target just out of reach, and knock over the openers before rain ends the day with Eng 30-odd for 2. Verdict: Aussie win likely 3. England's tail wags, and they stretch it out to about 400, taking their time. Rain delays the Aussie reply but they manage a quick 100 at 5 an over. Verdict: England likely to save game. There must be about 50 more possible scenarios, none of which give the win or draw to either side with certainty. Gotta love test cricket!

  • on August 3, 2013, 23:30 GMT

    Compton and Root: Compton was dropped after 2 centuries in NZ and for being too slow as a partner to Cook. Supposedly this placed too much pressure on Cook. Except for one fine innings and a heap of failures Root has a scoring rate in the last innings that makes Compton seem fast. Overall Root's scores are 30, 5, 6, 180, 8. Hardly stellar. So where is the justice? I feel for Nick Compton. Root is leaving the side vulnerable with each knock. Perhaps Root is the man of the future and good luck to him. But we need a player for the present! PW

  • on August 3, 2013, 23:02 GMT

    Hhillbumper? Broad knocked out Clarke's wicket & ENDED his (one a series) Giant Innings lest you forget so don't know how you can say he has NO wickets? Anderson I'll give you? Think he was (innocuously but still? Hmmm..) set up for a fall here with all that hype about His "Home Ground OT" & that ridiculous ECB Poster ala Tevez in Manchester for the Aus' Team? That? Was just ASKING for trouble? And trouble it GOT alright & then some............

    Mind you the Burnley Express Has been chugging at FULL power for the first 2 Tests (both Ours won don't forget?) so maybe was due a dip? The most similar like for like to him & one the Aus' DON'T like bowling at them IIRR from 2010/11 is not Bresnan but Tremlett so agree with you there? He SHOULD have played this match - He'd wreak havoc on that Aus' lineup I'm convinced. As to this test? Eng' still have Another innings to go & Just as Pietersen (Finally) Fired today? I've a feeling One of Cook, Trott or Bell will then? We shall see....

  • Whatsgoinoffoutthere on August 3, 2013, 23:01 GMT

    Follow-on avoidance is close. The Met Office forecast rain for Monday. This game is finely balanced if played to completion but will that happen?

    If England didn't think that Australia wouldn't be in the ascendancy for at least one match then they'd be unrealistic. The real fine balance is between what Australia can do and the time remaining in which to do it. England don't need to win: have Australia left it too late?

    It's been a funny summer in the UK. The last 2 days have been temperatures in the mid thirties and sudden heavy showers. The rain isn't staying (and is drying quite quickly) but exactly how much disruption it will cause in a city where precipitation is a tradition remains to be seen.

  • on August 3, 2013, 22:57 GMT

    "Serious Contenders For The Urn?" Australia? The side who are on the back of a SIX match Test Losing streak equalling their OWN dismal record from 3 odd decades ago? Basically ANY momentum Aus' get from this? Is England failing to match their Own standards which as we've already seen? When they're even half strength? They Can beat Aus' in a tight finish - when they're At Full power as in 2010/11 & Lords here? We utterly demolish them.

    Yes they COULD make it 2-1 (And they're having to fight like Hell just to Have the chance of that & Are let's not forget? 0-2 down already? The fact they've put in So much effort & STILL aren't Certain they'll win? Tells it's Own story IMO?) If Aus' do do that though? I anticipate? A reaction similar to 1997 From Aus' themselves when England won the First Test then by 9 wickets? They'll have awakened the Giant? And by God they WILL suffer for it - I doubt they'll be given even a Chance in the two remaining tests ending at their bogey ground of the Oval

  • on August 3, 2013, 22:24 GMT

    Australia's day again, despite the superb effort from Pietersen, and the very worthy ones from Cook and Bell. I think England will just about avoid the follow on, but the greatest factor now, I feel, is the weather. The forecast for tomorrow is for spells of rain, with a 70% chance, with the prospect of a quarter inch of rainfall. The forecast for Monday it seems, is even worse.

  • richardror on August 3, 2013, 22:03 GMT

    More DRS controversy as the 3rd umpire misses a small (yet clear) mark on hotspot for the Pietersen dismissal which I'm sure everyone in England, Australia and elsewhere would have seen on their TV. However, Australia deserve every bit of luck which will go their way and the numerous umpire/third umpire errors should even themselves out as the series progresses.

  • glance_to_leg on August 3, 2013, 22:00 GMT

    Bairstow has to go: he is not a test batsman. Root should drop down the order again (he is not ready to open, despite his 180 ... he should have been out for six), and, either Trott should move from 3 to 2, and Taylor come in at five, or Carberry or even Compton should open. Bairstow is jittery, doesn't watch the ball, and closes the face of his bat. Nor is he a good enough wicket keeper (not in the top ten in the country, and probably no better a batsman than most of them) to be groomed as Prior's successor.

  • righthandbat on August 3, 2013, 21:39 GMT

    England need to look at their stats and think long and hard about their selection for the next game. Root has been underbowled. Broad has been ineffective with the ball, along with Finn. 21 wickets have fallen to spin at a low average - they must play Kerrigan or Panesar for the next test, along with Tremlett, replacing Broad and Bresnan. Batting wise - Bell is wasted down the order and should be opening with Root. Cook is struggling and can drop down the order to provide a different role. On current form - Trott should be dropped for Taylor, and Bairstow for Ballance. Prior's batting has been poor but his keeping is good, which is his major role.

    My team for Durham: Bell, Root, KP, Taylor, Cook(c), Ballance, Prior(wk), Swann, Anderson, Tremlett, Kerrigan.

  • on August 3, 2013, 21:29 GMT

    KP has been his majestic self but England need to quickly realise that they cannot continue with this 4 bowler theory and Root's part timers with so many tests to play and many of them back to back. Given Bairstow's continued failings and his well documented problems against spin, it would be a good opportunity to give Ben Stokes a debut in the next game at Durham and let him bat at no.6.

  • landl47 on August 3, 2013, 21:22 GMT

    Although Australia retained its dominant position today, strangely enough I think England might feel they got closer to achieving their objectives for the day than did Australia. The #1 priority for England was to bat long, and to bat all day and only lose 5 wickets was a fine effort. Aus, on the other hand, would have wanted to dismiss Eng quickly so that they could make them bat again while the bowlers were not too tired.

    Tomorrow England will try to hang around as long as possible. The follow-on isn't really an issue, because even with bad weather a possibility I can't see Aus enforcing it. They have to rest their bowlers, who have already been out there for 120 overs (4 sessions). I guess if the last 3 wickets go in a couple of overs in the morning, Aus might do it, but if it's an hour or more, my guess is they'll go out and try to hit a quick 200, then declare and leave England 4 sessions to bat.

    It's a fascinating position- a situation only test cricket can provide.

  • on August 3, 2013, 21:02 GMT

    Nathan lyon doesn't have the variety to pick wickets. he struggles to pick wickets when he is bowling well because he is too predicatble.

  • JG2704 on August 3, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    Another Australian day which could have been even better had they reviewed Watson's lbw appeal on KP. I make it that Eng added 107 runs inbetween the incident and KP getting out and you wonder if Eng may even be following on now had they reviewed it? Clarke will surely enforce the follow on if Aus finish Eng 1st inns off quick enough but even if not , I think Clarke is a much more bold/aggressive captain (doesn't take much to be) than Cook and coupled with the weather forecast and the fact Aus need to win to stand any chance of winning the series we must expect a bold/aggressive 2nd inns declaration Oh and congrats KP on another ton and well played Bell/Cook

  • JG2704 on August 3, 2013, 20:51 GMT

    @jmcilhinney on (August 3, 2013, 17:38 GMT) Would you really say it was honours even today? I'd say honours would have been even had Bell and KP been there at the end. Based on Aus 1st inns I'd say it was another Aus day. It's touch and go as to whether Eng avoid the follow on (which could be huge). For me , Aus are in at least as dominant position as they were at end of day 1 or 2 - possibly more cut and dry as Eng have batted so we can compare the 2 sides 1st inns which we couldn't do until now

  • JG2704 on August 3, 2013, 20:51 GMT

    @Shan156 on (August 3, 2013, 17:21 GMT) Sorry bud but I think it's a bit of a kneejerk reaction. To me JB has shown enough promise to get a run in the side. Since his comeback he has been involved in 2 probable game changing partnerships - one with Root vs NZ and one with Bell vs Aus. He's also a superb ground fielder and can double up as a reserve WK. I honestly don't see that anyone has done any better at 6 for Eng and you know they'll never do 5/1/5. Nick was prob harshly dropped but in the last test he scored a big ton and he averages well for Yorks when opening. It would be a bit farcical if they changed their long term plan after a couple of tests (one of which he scored a big ton in)

  • milepost on August 3, 2013, 19:53 GMT

    Yes @MartinC, outplayed. Australia have shown the way for 3 days. I realise its against the run of play but let's face it the first test was very close. @salazar555, the spot on hot spot was an anomaly, and it was on the back of the bat. Are you based in Amsterdam? C'mon, the comments here are usually very good by good fans of the game and the banter is fun, don't be a spoil sport. @Shan156 yes you are up 2-0 but a far superior team? A far superior team would smash the opposition, like the Windies of the 80s and the Aussies of the 90s. I think neither team are world beaters but Australia have really come back into the series and are playing well. Is that such a surprise? May be it is, but England have always been suspect under pressure and Australia have strung together 3 good days of cricket. Good for them, whatever the result.

  • RoBoBobster on August 3, 2013, 19:43 GMT

    Although Bairstow may be the future (as shown by his starts and his wicketkeeping skills) he lacks time in the middle and right now Luke Wright would appear a be a better option due to great form (an early duck as per today off a ball he struck well anyway could happen to anyone) and the useful overs he can bowl, often being most effective when others struggle, as per Gayle 175* in the ipl, whilst Bairstow gets some practise keeping wicket for yorkshire (what he must eventualy do to hold a place) and scoring runs. And the fact I'm saying that as a Sussex fan weakening our chances and helping top of the table Yorkshire shows I'm serious.

  • liz1558 on August 3, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    No-one seems to be talking about the weather forecast, which looks pretty bleak for Old Trafford - lots of rain for the next two days. Either way, Prior's due a good knock, so 400 is still possible for England. Swann takes 6, Anderson refinds his form, Aus capitulate for 75, England win by 8 wkts.

  • MAYURESHmagic on August 3, 2013, 19:37 GMT

    spin missing from Australian cricket. they have average spinners in squad. missing warne, hogg and haurtiz.

  • browners76 on August 3, 2013, 19:27 GMT

    With rain looming I think the draw is the only outcome. Will be interesting to see how Swann goes on the fifth day, with Starcs foot marks to aim at. He could bag a six or seven for and skittle the Aussies.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 3, 2013, 19:07 GMT

    England nearly escaped only to let themselves be caught again as Bairstow and Pietersen fell in the last part of the day. I think they should have hustled a few more runs before the close so that there would be no possibility of following on. They really needed to lose 2 less wickets to give themselves a chance of taking the game back. KP batted brilliantly but never looked entirely at ease while Bell was sublime till he got a good one. Really they need 150 more.

  • TomPrice on August 3, 2013, 18:58 GMT

    The one that dismissed Bell was a candidate for ball of the series along with Clarke b Anderson in the 1st test.

  • shillingsworth on August 3, 2013, 18:58 GMT

    @waza1234 - Most batsmen, regardless of their nationality, struggle against good leg spin bowling. The statement that it only applies to England is very clich├ęd and not particularly accurate. Smith bowled a succession of long hops and full tosses today. His 8 wickets in test cricket have cost nearly 45 each. By no stretch of the imagination is he a good leg spinner.

    @MaruthuDelft - Watson isn't quite wicketless in the series - he got Cook lbw in the first innings at Lord's.

  • whoster on August 3, 2013, 18:50 GMT

    A critical first hour looms tomorrow. If England can get past the follow-on mark, that'd take time out of the game and enhance their chances of saving the match. If England lose their last 3 wickets cheaply, then Clarke has a bit of a dilemma whether or not to make England bat again. With this being a must-win game for the Aussies, making England follow-on seems the obvious decision - though the bowlers could do with a rest. The forecast is a bit iffy for Monday, so that needs to be brought into the equation too. If England do go past 327, then the Aussies will need to score quick runs and give themselves at least 3.5 sessions to try and bowl England out again.

    Bell and KP were superb today - especially the way they went after Lyon and hit him out of the attack. Lyon has bowled well in this game, and the batsmen had to take up the challenge. I thought Bairstow looked loose again, and it only seemed a matter of time before he played one shot too many.

    Tense stuff!

  • on August 3, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    What grates for an England supporter is Cook making a point of saying before this match that they are well aware of previous series where they have played like drains in the Third Test, and that England were not going to make that mistake this time around. Then they bowl for five sessions, go out and bat totally defensively, and numbers 2, 3 and 4 get out for single figures. Great to see KP and Bell bat so well but it's going to take more than two performances to save this match !

  • brusselslion on August 3, 2013, 18:26 GMT

    Definite advantage, Australia. They bowled pretty well and stuck at it. There could still be a few twists in this match although it's looking more and more likely that it could be career defining time for Lyon. Australia win and he's probably the hero; draw or lose; probably goodbye Test career.

    @milepost on (August 3, 2013, 12:33): Couldn't agree more about about giving credit where it's due. How about following your own advice, rather than blaming toss loss, poor umpiring, position of the sun, etc. for Australia's previous defeats?

    @Shan156 (August 3, 2013, 16:39): Bit harsh re Bres as I think that he#s done OK. However, I agree re Bairstow. Sorry but he's not Test class. Get Taylor, or even Ravi, back in. Bairstow is supposely seen as Prior's successor, which is one reason given for persisting with him. Not a good enough reason. Moreover, so far as backup WK is concerned, time to give Davies another chance. He seems to have dealt with his personal issues and is the better keeper.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 3, 2013, 18:25 GMT

    @PVinLA Pietersen and Bell launched a clever assault on Lyon that forced Clarke's hand. Mostly I thought Clarke got the balance between attack and defence about right, and certainly did better than Cook in that respect - Swann got 5 bowling to defensive fields. Smith bowled utter filth.

  • a328232 on August 3, 2013, 18:13 GMT

    Pieterson was LBW but he was still batting the next ball. All this while the onfield umpire was awake, the third umpire was awake and the technology was there and working.

    Pieterson was not LBW but scorecard showed him LBW when the next ball was bowled. Again all this while the onfield umpire was awake, the third umpire was awake and the technology was there and working.

    No issues with technology. The rules in place to use it look rubbish.

  • Vishnu27 on August 3, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    hhillbumper: It has never been Australia's attack that was the concern! How about giving a little credit where credit is due? So far in this test you've been outbowled, outbatted & generally outplayed. Nice come back by Australia. Keep it up!

  • gsingh7 on August 3, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    well played by starc and harris. on same track branded as flst track by naseer hussain,aus pacers took 7 for less than 300 and follow on is a possibility.i thing english fans should realise now that branding jimmy as best bowler int he world is disrespecting to decent number of bowlers who bowl well in unfavorable conditions.he went for 117 for 0 wicket for GOD's sake.nowhere near aus pacers let alone styne and co. still remember in 2010 zaheer got 18 wickets on alien english conditions .whereas jimmy can only be star on swinging wickets but mediocre when pitch is supposedly"flat".kp again showing his importance and why ipl is willing big bucks on him.he is a match winner.if he had opted to play for his birthplace sa then they cud have ruled world cricket for decades.

  • PVinLA on August 3, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    I've never liked how Clarke uses his spinners in a test. Considering the nature of the pitch, he used Lyon so sparingly compared to how Swann was used by Cook (20% versus 30%). Even if Swann hadn't taken as many wickets, I am sure Cook would've still used him as much. He took off Lyon when the batsmen went after him in spite of having so many runs to play with. The batsmen achieved their goal as he was really getting the ball to spin. You also don't give so few overs to a leg spinner - granted Steve Smith is not your regular leg spinner but just 2 overs!!! The captain needs to show confidence in his spinners.

  • thebrotherswaugh on August 3, 2013, 18:04 GMT

    @PrasPunter and @MartinC - 3 wickets for 70-odd is a pretty decent return on a wicket whee the 3 ENG seamers went for a heap of runs and only got 2 wickets between them. He's far better than a decent club bowler (do you mean 1st class or are we drooping to actual club level). He can get it wrong, but so can anyone - just look at Anderson's performance in the 1st innings, which was well below par, especially with the 2nd new ball. Bird would have been another medium/fast right-armer who bowls close to the stump - nothing wrong there, but basically what Siddle, Harris, and Watson all do. He's also the best player of Swann in the team from what I've seen, except maybe for Clarke. Bird offers nothing in the batting department. Give him time and he'll develop into a good bowler and Bird will definitely get another shot in the not-too-distant future; Harris won't be around for much longer, we'll be lucky to get 12 months out f him before injury looms.

  • MaruthuDelft on August 3, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    Everything goes against Watson. He should have got the most important wicket. Still wicketless in the series.

  • jmcilhinney on August 3, 2013, 17:52 GMT

    England really need Prior and Broad to imitate Haddin and Starc here. They are capable too; just ask India what a Prior/Broad partnership can achieve. A good partnership and the lead may dwindle to around the 100 mark and throw pressure back on Australia. An early wicket in the morning and England may yet fall short of the follow-on mark. I wonder whether Clarke would choose to enforce it now though. His bowlers will be tiring, although they will get to rest tonight. If he does ask England to bat again then Australia have to bat last and Swann could win England the game. George Dobell said after day 2 that Australia looked for a time like getting bowled out for a par score of ~450. If that's the case then England are looking below par at the moment. Prior in particular could change that tomorrow but the game really does still hang in the balance. England's current 2-0 series lead is their big leverage, forcing Australia's hand into possibly cutting their own throat. No rain please!

  • Haiphong on August 3, 2013, 17:49 GMT

    Here is how I would play it - hope to pick up the 3 remaining wickets within the first hour of play and end up with a lead of around 180. Go into the 2nd innings as if it's an ODI - open with Watson and Warner and even consider Haddin at 3 (attack England!). Rogers, Clarke, Smith and Khawaja to follow. Depending on how the top 3 do, Clarke may be in a position to declare after say 40 overs (160+ on the board), leaving England around 4 sessions and 350+ to get. Aggressive strategy but one focused on giving your team the best chance to win.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 3, 2013, 17:46 GMT

    Australia's day despite Pietersen's watchful ton. The seamers showed more application and purpose than England's and came back strongly in the final session. But if Australia are to win then Lyon has to take wickets. He beat Bairstow in the flight and went past the outside edge of the left handers, but lacks Swann's aggression and trickery.

  • strikeforce2003 on August 3, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    Follow on or not, it's an Aussie win on the cards..the wicket will get an uneven bounce post day 4 lunch,,the weather has held and the cloud cover helped the Aussies feet 7 wickets...match over with an Aussie win in the final overs of Day 5...3 balance wickets needed to bowl the pons out need to be executed within 20 or 22 overs...the 2nd innings will see the best of Lyoon, should he take a couple of secs more I. His run up thinking if his next ball, before he bowls. Clarke and Siddle are on top Cook & co arevplaying for a draw, those playing for such will lose..

  • jmcilhinney on August 3, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    It looks like KP may well have been unlucky on his dismissal. It's hard to complain though, given that he did have a stroke of luck earlier in his innings. He obviously had no idea that he hit it and you certainly can't blame the on-field umpire for giving him out. The real worry, though, is the fact that the 3rd umpire seemed to either not notice or just ignore the mark on HotSpot. I saw it at the time and wondered whether it was due to the ball or not. It was in the right position and appeared at the right time but it was an odd shape. Surely it was worth listening to the sound more carefully but the 3rd umpire seemed to discount it altogether. Snicko confirmed that there was a noise, but whether it was loud enough to be distinguished on review is another matter. The replay suggests that the odd shape of the mark might have been due to contact with the seam rather than the flat surface of the ball. I do think that that should have been looked at closer. Real-time Snicko will help.

  • on August 3, 2013, 17:45 GMT

    Losing faith fast with the 'use' of DRS. I am sure I saw a mark on KPs bat?????

  • wnwn on August 3, 2013, 17:43 GMT

    I was surprised that Steve Smith did not bowl that much today. England's batsmen struggle against good leg spin bowling and Smith could have taken a few wickets if given more overs.

  • thebrotherswaugh on August 3, 2013, 17:41 GMT

    Well done to KP, an absolute champion of a batsman who can always be depended upon to turn it on in an Ashes series. He has plenty of detractors, but no one can argue his pedigree or his sheer ability to entertain. Good contributions from Cook Bell. Prior and Broad will see ENG past the follow-on, and then it will be a matter of how much time OZ feel they need to knock ENG over in their 2nd innings - of course, ENG might well skittle OZ cheaply and then it's anybody's ball game from there, especially with Swann looming as the main danger - a 10 wicket haul seems in the offing. I has money riding on Cook to get a hundred. I also had a feeling KP would turn it on, so I should've switched my bet around. This is building for an exciting last day, I hope, although ENG are going to be very difficult to knock over in the 2nd dig. OZ should promote Warner to open 2nd time around and give him full license to attack from ball 1 and forget about getting out - a quick-fire 50 invaluable.

  • hhillbumper on August 3, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    It has been a poor showing in this test by England.It does appear that Bairstow is not up to it so would suggest Root drops down and an opener come in.Also time to lose Bresnan and bring in Tremlett.Is there a decent all rounder in English cricket? Hope this is the one horror test we normally get from England but the lack of threat from the bowling seems a bit odd.Jimmy can have an off test,Broad has been okay but not taking wickets.

  • jmcilhinney on August 3, 2013, 17:38 GMT

    It looked like being England's day when KP and Bell were still together but the loss of 3 wickets for 55 runs has probably made the honours even for the day, which leaves Australia still well ahead for the match. If England avoid the follow-on, as looks likely, then the draw becomes significantly more likely. Mind you, England are still not out it complete because Australia will have to push for the win and, if they collapse in so doing, they might leave England chasing an achievable target. That's still the least likely outcome though. The fact that there's tension around whether or not England can make that follow-on mark is an other example of why Test cricket is so good: is a contest within a contest.

  • Shan156 on August 3, 2013, 17:21 GMT

    Another option for England is to drop Bairstow for Compton and push Root to the middle order where he appears to be fluent. Drop Bresnan for Tremlett/Finn. England's huge selection mistakes are coming back to bite them. This test is still not lost and I still think Eng. can save it but changes need to be made for the next test.

  • on August 3, 2013, 17:14 GMT

    Three to go... No follow on even if lead is 200 plus. That's the only way Auusies have a chance. Get the lead stretched to 275 one hour after lunch and then pray for weather to hold. Monday can be a rainy day through out.

  • Iddo555 on August 3, 2013, 17:10 GMT

    Pietersen hit is and there was a tiny mark on hot spot as well as on the graph. What is going on with the on field umpire and the review umpire that they can't seem to get a decision right.

    Pietersen should still be there

  • paapam on August 3, 2013, 16:51 GMT

    Such a pity that rain is forecast for Sunday

  • Shan156 on August 3, 2013, 16:39 GMT

    How long are we going to persist with Bairstow? Looks a very average player tbh. Making trundlers like Starc appear world class. Our bowlers haven't done better in this test either making tailenders like Starc and Smith look like proper batsmen.

    We have to get rid of Bairstow and Bresnan and bring in Taylor and Tremlett/Finn for the next test. Let's hope Trott gets back to form soon. We will see how good the Aussies are then.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 3, 2013, 16:30 GMT

    Wickets taken by England's front line spinner in the series: 18. Wickets taken by Australia's front line spinners: 2.

  • alexrdavies on August 3, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    The DRS mistakes Australia have made throughout the series just go to show how hard it really is to get these judgements right, ball after ball.

    It's all very well talking about the umpires missing "howlers," but the reality is that there are many, many balls which the players can't call either.

  • Shan156 on August 3, 2013, 16:09 GMT

    @milepost, I always thought we were 2-0 up and Aus. were badly thrashed in the 2nd test. I thought I may be wrong so I checked up cricinfo and it confirmed that I was correct. Perhaps you are still living in the past. It is true that Aus. have played better in this test so far but when confronted with scoreboard pressure, Eng. have still played more than 100 overs while Aus. were wiggled out for 128. We are a way way superior team to Aus. Some of our players are out of form and yet we are 2-0 up. This test is the best of Aus. and slightly worst of Eng. Yet, you still haven't finished our 1st innings. You got the best of the batting conditions in the first two days but made good use of it, so good for you.

    I got to admit though that Cook's captaincy is not that good. He looks bereft of ideas and doesn't think on his feet when things don't go to plan.

  • xtrafalgarx on August 3, 2013, 16:03 GMT

    The English batting is dodgy to be honest, not once have they fired either.Fortunately for them, they have a lot of people in that line up can score hundreds, that's the thing that has kept them out of jail.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 3, 2013, 15:55 GMT

    The more I see Watson bat, the more he looks like a bowling allrounder. The more I see Starc bowl, the more he looks like a batting allrounder.

  • on August 3, 2013, 15:32 GMT

    Despite Starcs batting heroics, I remain convinced that Bird should have been picked. They may rue this decision. Mitchell Johnson remains the best leftiebwe have. A ma I ch winner at his best.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 3, 2013, 15:13 GMT

    The weather forecast for tomorrow and Monday is not looking pretty I'm afraid! Fantastic effort once again from Bell, and yes - KP has done it! He's delivered when it matters. But Aus. still doing well...

  • on August 3, 2013, 15:08 GMT

    England on track for a useful first Innings lead. Should close with 350 on the board to-day, then press on for 650 to 700 tomorrow

  • on August 3, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    Aus really need some second new ball wickets here, otherwise it may be just too big an ask to chisel out England twice in the time remaining. I hope Sidds continues on with the new ball after tea, he just bowls such a good length, I have no idea why he doesn't get the new rock every time. Pietersen batting well, Bell going really well.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 3, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    England win the 2nd session. Bell and KP beat Lyon out of the attack and the Australian seamers get nothing from the old ball. A pivotal period will ensue after tea as the attack continues to tire. No end in sight for Clarke's DRS woe.

  • MartinC on August 3, 2013, 14:49 GMT

    @milepost - outplayed? We are 2-0 up and battling into a position to draw the 3rd Test. If thats outplayed I will take that every series.

    Siddle is a good bowler - like him and dont understand why they dont give him the new ball. Lyon started well but lacks confidence, which is no surprise when they keep dropping him, Harris looks to have lost a bit of the nip he used to have and Starc looks like a decent club bowler on his showing so far in this series.

    Good counter attack by Pietersen and Bell is playing beautifully.

  • PrasPunter on August 3, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    pathetic stuff from Starc !! God wonders how made it ahead of Bird. Short-wide outside off stump, over-pitched ones , down-the-leg and what not. He is clearly letting it down !!

  • cccrider on August 3, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    Australia down 2 bowlers essentially with Starc and Lyon not up to test standard.

  • on August 3, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    @Mitty2 Starc is Australias best practitioner of reverse swing and only has a average over 30 due to India, he never deserved to be dropped... Lyon is given alot of overs by Clarke (bowled 10 out of the first 30 overs)... The ball was reverse swinging why not bring the quicks back before that's lost?

  • milepost on August 3, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    The Aussie attack is good and Clarke is a clever tactician. England fans are funny - you rarely seem to give credit where it is due. Australia are giving bowling and captaincy lessons so pay attention. England are being totally outplayed, yes, by lowly lowly Australia.

  • Mitty2 on August 3, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    Harris and siddle bowled very well in the morning, and Trott's wicket proves that no matter the state of the pitch, if you bowl with pressure and in tandem, you will get wickets (reasons why Starc should be out). It's yet another session won by us on what still is a very good pitch, and hopefully we can keep the pressure up. Lyon will be key, who has bowled very well so far.

    The English top order fail yet again, which really makes me thank the fact that NZ played those tests before the ashes as their bowlers exposed the eng top order time and time again on flat decks. Of recent, despite the individual talent in the Eng line up, they rarely collectively fire. Even in India it was usually just Cook being the only constant with sporadic support from others. NZ had plans to each eng batsman, and we have largely copied these plans successfully. 120/4 200 away from the follow on, we truly are dominating, let's push this on boys, we have to win!!!

  • Mitty2 on August 3, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    Mitchell starc as innocuous and pressure relieving as ever. He truly is inept and not up to test standard. He is a poor man's Mitchell Johnson, who is quicker, doesn't collapse in action, is more durable, and doesn't rely on favourable conditions. How he, with a shocking average if above 30 in both FC and tests, gets a game over bird, who averages UNDER 20 in both FC and tests it's not even funny. Bird is so far superior a bowler in all aspects, and yet we go starc because he's left handed.

    Pretty average captaincy to take Lyon off after 2 perfectly fine overs, it came off with starc's lucky wicket, but you can't help but feel that Clarke doesn't trust Lyon enough. Lyon would be on the wicket board last night if Clarke had more men around the bat....

  • hhillbumper on August 3, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    You have to hand it to England.They always seem to manage to let teams back into series when they have them down. Can they score some runs and save the test? No idea but at the moment they are making this Aussie attack seem like world beaters.Come on England sort it out

  • hhillbumper on August 3, 2013, 12:17 GMT

    You have to hand it to England.They always seem to manage to let teams back into series when they have them down. Can they score some runs and save the test? No idea but at the moment they are making this Aussie attack seem like world beaters.Come on England sort it out

  • Mitty2 on August 3, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    Mitchell starc as innocuous and pressure relieving as ever. He truly is inept and not up to test standard. He is a poor man's Mitchell Johnson, who is quicker, doesn't collapse in action, is more durable, and doesn't rely on favourable conditions. How he, with a shocking average if above 30 in both FC and tests, gets a game over bird, who averages UNDER 20 in both FC and tests it's not even funny. Bird is so far superior a bowler in all aspects, and yet we go starc because he's left handed.

    Pretty average captaincy to take Lyon off after 2 perfectly fine overs, it came off with starc's lucky wicket, but you can't help but feel that Clarke doesn't trust Lyon enough. Lyon would be on the wicket board last night if Clarke had more men around the bat....

  • Mitty2 on August 3, 2013, 12:28 GMT

    Harris and siddle bowled very well in the morning, and Trott's wicket proves that no matter the state of the pitch, if you bowl with pressure and in tandem, you will get wickets (reasons why Starc should be out). It's yet another session won by us on what still is a very good pitch, and hopefully we can keep the pressure up. Lyon will be key, who has bowled very well so far.

    The English top order fail yet again, which really makes me thank the fact that NZ played those tests before the ashes as their bowlers exposed the eng top order time and time again on flat decks. Of recent, despite the individual talent in the Eng line up, they rarely collectively fire. Even in India it was usually just Cook being the only constant with sporadic support from others. NZ had plans to each eng batsman, and we have largely copied these plans successfully. 120/4 200 away from the follow on, we truly are dominating, let's push this on boys, we have to win!!!

  • milepost on August 3, 2013, 12:33 GMT

    The Aussie attack is good and Clarke is a clever tactician. England fans are funny - you rarely seem to give credit where it is due. Australia are giving bowling and captaincy lessons so pay attention. England are being totally outplayed, yes, by lowly lowly Australia.

  • on August 3, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    @Mitty2 Starc is Australias best practitioner of reverse swing and only has a average over 30 due to India, he never deserved to be dropped... Lyon is given alot of overs by Clarke (bowled 10 out of the first 30 overs)... The ball was reverse swinging why not bring the quicks back before that's lost?

  • cccrider on August 3, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    Australia down 2 bowlers essentially with Starc and Lyon not up to test standard.

  • PrasPunter on August 3, 2013, 13:41 GMT

    pathetic stuff from Starc !! God wonders how made it ahead of Bird. Short-wide outside off stump, over-pitched ones , down-the-leg and what not. He is clearly letting it down !!

  • MartinC on August 3, 2013, 14:49 GMT

    @milepost - outplayed? We are 2-0 up and battling into a position to draw the 3rd Test. If thats outplayed I will take that every series.

    Siddle is a good bowler - like him and dont understand why they dont give him the new ball. Lyon started well but lacks confidence, which is no surprise when they keep dropping him, Harris looks to have lost a bit of the nip he used to have and Starc looks like a decent club bowler on his showing so far in this series.

    Good counter attack by Pietersen and Bell is playing beautifully.

  • 2MikeGattings on August 3, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    England win the 2nd session. Bell and KP beat Lyon out of the attack and the Australian seamers get nothing from the old ball. A pivotal period will ensue after tea as the attack continues to tire. No end in sight for Clarke's DRS woe.

  • on August 3, 2013, 14:53 GMT

    Aus really need some second new ball wickets here, otherwise it may be just too big an ask to chisel out England twice in the time remaining. I hope Sidds continues on with the new ball after tea, he just bowls such a good length, I have no idea why he doesn't get the new rock every time. Pietersen batting well, Bell going really well.