England v Australia, 4th Investec Test, Chester-le-Street, 1st day August 9, 2013

Polyhedral dice decide Starc's fate?

George Dobell, Jarrod Kimber and Brydon Coverdale
ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the opening day at Chester-le-Street

Contrast of the day

Alastair Cook had already been batting for close to three hours when he was joined by Kevin Pietersen. Whereas Cook's innings had been a study of resistance and reserve, Pietersen signalled his intentions by charging down the pitch to the first delivery he faced, a ball bowled by offspinner Nathan Lyon, and attempting to hit it back over the bowler's head. Instead Pietersen was only able to gain a thick inside-edge on the ball and was fortune to see it pass just over midwicket. While Pietersen could claim, with some justification, that he is best to play his natural, positive game, this shot had an air of recklessness about it and came in sharp contrast to Cook's grim determination.

Dismissal of the day

England appeared to have weathered the storm and finally found calm waters when, from nowhere, Jonathan Trott was out. After a poor Test at Old Trafford, Trott looked back to something approaching his best and batted with fluency that none of his colleagues could match. But, not for the first time, he played more than a small part in his own downfall when, facing a tidy but hardly vicious delivery from Lyon, he attempted to flick it into the leg side to register his half-century, but could only edge the ball on to his pad and then see it carry to short leg. While it would be an exaggeration to state it precipitated a collapse, Trott's demise did see the England innings subside from a high point of 107 for 1 to 155 for 5 barely an hour later.

Non-selection of the day

In the first Test, Mitchell Starc took five wickets. He bowled everywhere, including past second slip. He was Mitchell Starc. Australia dropped him. Then for the third Test, they brought him back. He took three wickets in one innings, made 66 not out from one bat. He bowled everywhere, he hit the ball very well. He was Mitchell Starc. Australia dropped him again. Starc has never played back to back Tests in a series. It would seem that Starc's career is currently being governed by someone throwing polyhedral dice.

Contest of the day

After four overs and one wicket, Michael Clarke removed Lyon from the crease. It was because Pietersen was trying to end his bowling career. In one and a half overs Clarke had seen enough. The same happened at Old Trafford, and Lyon was barely seen again. This time Lyon was only out of the attack for seven overs and then brought back. This time Clarke resisted the urge to hide him forever, and few overs later Lyon was up against Pietersen again. Pietersen lasted five balls before being sucked in to arm ball from Lyon that he nicked behind.

Hot Spot of the day

After all the talk of Hot Spot and silicone-tape over the past few days, the Australians were pleased on the first morning that the technology had not been dumped. When Joe Root was given not out by umpire Tony Hill off the bowling of Shane Watson, the Australians were quick to ask for a review and Hot Spot confirmed a small tickle on Root's outside edge. It was a rare DRS victory for Australia; until then, they had not successfully challenged an umpire's decision since Chris Rogers had his caught-behind dismissal overturned in the second innings of the first Test at Trent Bridge.