England v Australia, 4th Investec Ashes Test, Durham, 3rd day August 11, 2013

Pristine Bell gives England the advantage

133

England 234 for 5 (Bell 105*, Harris 3-74) lead Australia 270 (Broad 5-71) by 202 runs
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details

As the shadows lengthened over Durham, Australia's best bowler, Ryan Harris, sat England's best batsman, Ian Bell, on his backside with a menacing bouncer from around the wicket. The moment epitomised proceedings on another winding, twisting day of the fourth Test. Harris had done most things right: choosing a simple plan and backing it up with the most wholehearted of action. But Bell survived, allying pristine technique to plenty of guts and the batting form of his life.

Forty minutes later, Bell walked off Chester-le-Street with 105 unbeaten runs next to his name, England's lead an ominous 202, and Australia a bowler short due to Shane Watson's latest soft tissue ailment. Harris followed him, leading the tourists from the field after giving his all with bat and ball. But he lacked enough support, while Bell could point to sharp bowling by Graeme Swann and James Anderson in the morning before Kevin Pietersen and Jonny Bairstow put their heads down for critical stands.

Bairstow fell in the closing moments of the day, Brad Haddin pouching a terrific catch as Nathan Lyon gained turn and bounce from around the wicket, but England had reason to be satisfied. Their top order had been dismantled by Harris, before Bell yet again proved his pre-eminence among the batsmen on either side in this Ashes series by playing with elegance and tremendous skill. He was particularly profitable through the third man region, scheming Australia's death by a thousand late cuts.

Australia had lost much of the ground fought for so doggedly by Chris Rogers with the loss of their last five wickets for 46 in the morning, Harris's 28 the only real resistance. Haddin and Rogers failed to keep their wickets intact before the second new ball was taken, scotching any thoughts of a match-shaping lead. Swann and Anderson did the majority of the damage, before Stuart Broad notched a deserved five-wicket haul.

England's second innings began comfortably enough, but Harris conjured a glory ball that whirred in towards Joe Root before zipping sharply away off the seam to beat the outside edge and clip the top of off stump. Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott seemed intent on swifter scoring than on day one, and appeared to be doing it well until Cook drove at the line but not the length of a Harris ball going across him and edged behind.

Harris was by now bowling at a slippery pace, and in his next over Trott was late on a hook at a well-directed bouncer and managed only to glove it, whereupon Haddin held a sharp chance above his head. At effectively 17 for 3 England were wavering badly, but Pietersen and Bell set about calming the innings with good sense and sound placement.

Bell prospered through his pet dabs down to third man, an area Clarke kept mystifyingly vacant until Bell had made a decent start. Pietersen was troubled by the odd short ball, but signalled his greater comfort by pulling Siddle twice towards the leg side boundary. The runs accrued steadily, Clarke shuffling his bowlers around but unable to conjure the fourth wicket. He also moved from slip to mid-off, a bothersome sign for Australia that his back was creaking.

Pietersen was kept a little more quiet as the evening session began, tied down notably by Siddle. His desire to avoid opening the face of his bat to Lyon's angle around the stumps, something that hastened his exit in the first innings, resulted in ever more exaggerated flicks to the leg side. Lyon dragged Pietersen ever wider outside off, and eventually a front edge and catch at cover was procured when one ball did not turn so much as expected.

Bell was unperturbed by this, and Bairstow eased his own considerable nerves by twice driving Lyon straight with power. Their stand was broken briefly by a risible call by Tony Hill and Aleem Dar to go off for bad light with blue sky visible over the ground, but by the time Lyon struck again Harris had been seen off, and the game was tilting firmly England's way.

It had begun to do so in the day's earliest exchanges. Rogers and Haddin had resumed with thoughts of establishing a significant lead, but ultimately were unable even to reach the second new ball, due within six overs of the resumption. Haddin went back when he might have pressed forward against Swann and was lbw, his referral made for a ball that was hitting middle and off after straightening from around the wicket.

Following his enormous contribution to Australia's cause on day two, Rogers did not quite find the right rhythm, and shortly before the 80th over arrived he stretched to defend Swann and found extra bounce grazing his glove before floating up off his pad for Matt Prior to dive alertly and claim the catch. Tony Hill was unconvinced but was shown to have erred; England's review ending Rogers's innings.

Siddle snicked Anderson low to first slip and Lyon lasted only seven balls before walking across his crease and succumbing lbw, even if Hawk Eye suggested Anderson's nip-backer would have slid past leg stump. Three consecutive Harris boundaries from Broad stretched Australia's advantage handily, but in the next over he was pinned in front of the stumps. Harris went on to produce more heroics with the ball, but it was to be Bell who reigned supreme. England have cause to ponder where they would have been in this series without him.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cric_J on August 12, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    For the first time since Lord's day-4,it can be said that it was England's day and they are ahead ATM 60-40.They did extremely well in the morning to restrict Australia's lead to 32 and Jimmy seemed to be regaining his touch.

    A handy knock by KP and brilliant stuff from Bell yet again. He has been the backbone of this English line up throughout the series and I agree with Athers that he is in the form of his life. He is playing much better than in 2011 because 1.This is a much better bowling attack than the Indian one. 2.He has delivered in crisis situations and has stood tall when the more fancied Cooks, Trotts and KPs have fallen.

    It was yet another unacceptable show by our top 3.Cook played a horror shot to get out. Superb stuff from Harris though, especially the one to get Root.

    It will be a crucial 1st session with the new ball and Bell must stay to negotiate it. If Matt and the tail can get going as well, a lead of 320+ should be fine enough. We're in for 2 exciting days now.

  • jmcilhinney on August 12, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    I'd say that England have the edge right now but this game is still balanced on a knife edge. As we saw with Australia's innings, things can change rather quickly. If England lose Bell early then the England innings could easily go the same way. While Bell's other two hundreds were very good too, it's very important that he goes on and makes a big one this time. While it could still be enough, I don't see how England could be confident with a lead of anything below 250. I'm sure that they'll be hoping for something in excess of 300 and that's a distinct possibility. Now would be a great time for Prior to re-find his form and we know that Bresnan, Broad and Swann are capable of a contribution.

  • Eight8 on August 12, 2013, 0:01 GMT

    Hats off to Bell on another fine innings. Definitely the batsman of the series to date and has crushed Aussie hearts. Similar to Trent Bridge Australia on top after a narrow first innings lead and then early wickets in the England 2nd innings. Like then Bell played a match defining (maybe even career defining) innings and set helped set Australia a total that was slightly too much. As an Aussie it hurts to let slip another strong position, but again congratulations to Bell on a fine innings when his team needed it. His legacy has been strengthened.

    Good luck to the Aussies tonight and I hope they can muster a good batting innings when they get the chance.

  • kirands on August 11, 2013, 23:31 GMT

    What a relentlessly captivating day's play at Chester-Le-Street today !!!! Feel privileged to have watched some vintage cricket. The events throughout the third day's play ebbed and flowed, with neither side gaining any significant advantage over the other, though one could feel that England have their noses slightly ahead. The highight of the day undoubtedly was Ian Bell's unbeaten 105. Bell's shot selection was crisp and classical, like newly laundered and pressed shirts. He displayed artistic genius and mindboggling fortitude , having come in a crisis at 49 for 3, and rescued England. Bell has played what could possibly turn out to be a matchwinning innings. The match is delicately poised and could go either way on day four. I am bubbling with anticipation about the prospects of tomorrow's action and how this Test match is going to unravel.

  • jmcilhinney on August 11, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    I was a supporter of Root as an opener because I thought that he'd be able to transfer his form from the middle order and it would be good for England to have someone who was a bit more assertive at the top of the order. Quite apart from his low scores though, he seems to have reined in his positive approach and is scoring no more quickly than Compton was anyway. He's looked tentative and, even though it was an excellent ball from Harris, he was caught playing half-forward here yet again. Unless he scores well in both innings at the Oval, I think it would be wise for England to take a good close look at their opening pair for the return series. I still feel that Root is capable of succeeding but do they persevere or let him come back later? If they do move Root back down the order, will that mean a recall for Compton or would they look elsewhere? I guess the newly-qualified Sam Robson would be a chance, but their may be other hats in the ring too.

  • Mervo on August 12, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    What would England do without Bell? And Australia without Harris? What has happened to Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird on a fast bowler's pitch was barely average. Not much there. Our selectors took forever to pick Harris and Rogers because they were too 'old'. We really need to keep these guys and start to look beyond the Smiths, and Hughes, etc as they will never make Test players. the 18-19 year olds can still be taught proper technique.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 12, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    What is the highest successfully chased last innings score on this pitch anyways? I'm still saying a lead of 285 to be 'safe' in this game - but just interested in the stats.

  • ClippedThroughMid-Wicket on August 12, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    if we are to have a hope in this match david warner is going to have to bat like a crazed demon. i dont care if his strike rate is like 30 or 40, he needs to keep his wicket intact.

  • on August 12, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    England have enough now. If they get 250+ then Australia have zero chance.

  • DustBowl on August 12, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    NINE years after his debut Bell comes to the party and makes a contribution when others have not - or much less so. Great talent - but perhaps 'mentally' lacking. Don't forget the first innings, just like Ahmedabad

  • cric_J on August 12, 2013, 4:07 GMT

    For the first time since Lord's day-4,it can be said that it was England's day and they are ahead ATM 60-40.They did extremely well in the morning to restrict Australia's lead to 32 and Jimmy seemed to be regaining his touch.

    A handy knock by KP and brilliant stuff from Bell yet again. He has been the backbone of this English line up throughout the series and I agree with Athers that he is in the form of his life. He is playing much better than in 2011 because 1.This is a much better bowling attack than the Indian one. 2.He has delivered in crisis situations and has stood tall when the more fancied Cooks, Trotts and KPs have fallen.

    It was yet another unacceptable show by our top 3.Cook played a horror shot to get out. Superb stuff from Harris though, especially the one to get Root.

    It will be a crucial 1st session with the new ball and Bell must stay to negotiate it. If Matt and the tail can get going as well, a lead of 320+ should be fine enough. We're in for 2 exciting days now.

  • jmcilhinney on August 12, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    I'd say that England have the edge right now but this game is still balanced on a knife edge. As we saw with Australia's innings, things can change rather quickly. If England lose Bell early then the England innings could easily go the same way. While Bell's other two hundreds were very good too, it's very important that he goes on and makes a big one this time. While it could still be enough, I don't see how England could be confident with a lead of anything below 250. I'm sure that they'll be hoping for something in excess of 300 and that's a distinct possibility. Now would be a great time for Prior to re-find his form and we know that Bresnan, Broad and Swann are capable of a contribution.

  • Eight8 on August 12, 2013, 0:01 GMT

    Hats off to Bell on another fine innings. Definitely the batsman of the series to date and has crushed Aussie hearts. Similar to Trent Bridge Australia on top after a narrow first innings lead and then early wickets in the England 2nd innings. Like then Bell played a match defining (maybe even career defining) innings and set helped set Australia a total that was slightly too much. As an Aussie it hurts to let slip another strong position, but again congratulations to Bell on a fine innings when his team needed it. His legacy has been strengthened.

    Good luck to the Aussies tonight and I hope they can muster a good batting innings when they get the chance.

  • kirands on August 11, 2013, 23:31 GMT

    What a relentlessly captivating day's play at Chester-Le-Street today !!!! Feel privileged to have watched some vintage cricket. The events throughout the third day's play ebbed and flowed, with neither side gaining any significant advantage over the other, though one could feel that England have their noses slightly ahead. The highight of the day undoubtedly was Ian Bell's unbeaten 105. Bell's shot selection was crisp and classical, like newly laundered and pressed shirts. He displayed artistic genius and mindboggling fortitude , having come in a crisis at 49 for 3, and rescued England. Bell has played what could possibly turn out to be a matchwinning innings. The match is delicately poised and could go either way on day four. I am bubbling with anticipation about the prospects of tomorrow's action and how this Test match is going to unravel.

  • jmcilhinney on August 11, 2013, 12:22 GMT

    I was a supporter of Root as an opener because I thought that he'd be able to transfer his form from the middle order and it would be good for England to have someone who was a bit more assertive at the top of the order. Quite apart from his low scores though, he seems to have reined in his positive approach and is scoring no more quickly than Compton was anyway. He's looked tentative and, even though it was an excellent ball from Harris, he was caught playing half-forward here yet again. Unless he scores well in both innings at the Oval, I think it would be wise for England to take a good close look at their opening pair for the return series. I still feel that Root is capable of succeeding but do they persevere or let him come back later? If they do move Root back down the order, will that mean a recall for Compton or would they look elsewhere? I guess the newly-qualified Sam Robson would be a chance, but their may be other hats in the ring too.

  • Mervo on August 12, 2013, 11:36 GMT

    What would England do without Bell? And Australia without Harris? What has happened to Peter Siddle and Jackson Bird on a fast bowler's pitch was barely average. Not much there. Our selectors took forever to pick Harris and Rogers because they were too 'old'. We really need to keep these guys and start to look beyond the Smiths, and Hughes, etc as they will never make Test players. the 18-19 year olds can still be taught proper technique.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 12, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    What is the highest successfully chased last innings score on this pitch anyways? I'm still saying a lead of 285 to be 'safe' in this game - but just interested in the stats.

  • ClippedThroughMid-Wicket on August 12, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    if we are to have a hope in this match david warner is going to have to bat like a crazed demon. i dont care if his strike rate is like 30 or 40, he needs to keep his wicket intact.

  • on August 12, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    England have enough now. If they get 250+ then Australia have zero chance.

  • DustBowl on August 12, 2013, 9:16 GMT

    NINE years after his debut Bell comes to the party and makes a contribution when others have not - or much less so. Great talent - but perhaps 'mentally' lacking. Don't forget the first innings, just like Ahmedabad

  • on August 12, 2013, 8:44 GMT

    Some of my fellow posters are underestimating Australia here. they have been beaten on all ends in Indian series and a much improved Indian side who outplayed them in every facet of the game .compare that to this series,few lucky calls going there way and England wud be trailing 2-1 and chasing the game.now Australia are desperate to draw the series to launch a fresh assault on ashes on home grounds which vary to a certain degree to what they getting here.match is poised here with Australia leading 55-45 %. also well done Rogers and Bell for centuries,more so rogers for a maiden test century at age of 35.

  • Cannondale on August 12, 2013, 8:27 GMT

    @MartinC,@Front-Foot-Lunge,

    I am Indian fan and agree with you both. In last 3 years Englad were better prepared and were better as a team than India. But then may have been a transition time for India from 2011 to 2013 and its key players lack of form (Sehwag,Gambhir,Tendulkar,VVS). Don't forget India won test series against England away (2007) and at home (Dec 2008). (I bet England were transitioning during that period)

  • verbanonfacta on August 12, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Here's a dreadful prediction: England set Australia 246 to win, and Australia get them for 7 down.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 12, 2013, 8:16 GMT

    @TheBigBoodha (post on August 11, 2013, 12:32 GMT): No, I'm not kidding at all. Some people here are saying over 300 needed...

    You've right about the pitch and the weather, but unlike you I don't think it's a magic pitch that only deteriorates when Australia come on to bat. Some of the balls to Bell for example were laughable: one ball he's on his knees trying to keep it out because it keeps so low; the next it's heading straight for his head even though it pitched around the same spot. Conditions for bowling have been similar throughout the whole game, = swing and seam for both teams if they bowl at the right speed. Plenty of drift and turn for Lyon and Swann too.

  • on August 12, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Well, I Bellitlled him at the start of the series but Bell has been the big difference so far, well played that man! Never saw that one coming.

    I don't think Aus are anywhere near out of this yet, not long til the new ball, we need to do what England did to us yesterday morning and then go out and bat well, simple game plan, get out there and get it done lads!

  • JG2704 on August 12, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    @Nitinn Singhalon (August 12, 2013, 5:14 GMT) What a horrible little hissy fit of a post. Cric J - Who is one of the most balanced posters on here - mentions that Bell is scoring runs against a better bowling attack this time around so is purely crediting Bell and is saying that the Indian bowling attack of 2011 was pretty toothless in England , in the test format , that year. And this format has NOTHING whatsoever to do with the ODIs. I'm sure you would beat us in the ODI's (esp in India) right now but it wasn't exactly ages ago that Eng did come to India and won the test series there and before that series we had all this "Wait until.." I'm not against folk responding in kind if the original post is factually incorrect or if it was more meant as a dig - but the stats from that particular series speak for themselves.

  • cricket_analyst747 on August 12, 2013, 7:58 GMT

    i have lot of admiration for Ryan Harris given his consistency in line and length.

  • Charlie101 on August 12, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    A great days play in prospect but I will only start to feel we are in a good position when and if we reach 300 runs ahead. Lets hope we have a good morning with plenty of runs

  • verbanonfacta on August 12, 2013, 7:48 GMT

    Two players of different sorts have made a 100 this match which implies strongly that any batsman in form can do it his way. With Clarke in great form after Old Trafford, England will need to post 300 if they are to win, given the time left and the lack of knowledge about historical chases at Durham in Test Ccricket.

  • JG2704 on August 12, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    @Cpt.Meanster on (August 11, 2013, 18:53 GMT) Bairstow is unproven but did well in the 2nd test in a crucial partnership with Bell and even though Root is having a lean time was it my imagination or did he score 180+ in the 2nd test? And are Cook and Trott now ordinary. Re the former - he must have faced some very ordinary last winter when he amassed all those runs. Just wondering if it would be at all possible to just praise a team/player (other than the obvious) when they're on top/have played well rather than lambast the other team/players?

  • on August 12, 2013, 7:33 GMT

    @jmcilhinney, I'm taking the long view and what I see is a young player who will surely become one of England's Greats but one who is not yet ready, one who needs to learn front foot play. At present Bairstow should get the nod - you do not select based on what the future holds or what is in the past (which is what you asked) but the here and now. Bairstow goes to Australia as England's number 6 batsman, best fielder and reserve wicketkeeper, Root spends the winter with the Lions.

  • jmcilhinney on August 12, 2013, 7:30 GMT

    @Nitinn Singhal on (August 12, 2013, 5:14 GMT), "crushing defeat"?! If you think that 5 runs is a crushing defeat then I guess you don't think that much of the India cricket team. I don't think that anyone has forgotten England's loss in that final; we just don't care because now we're playing proper cricket again. I think I speak for most England fans when I say that we'd pay India £100 to take the #1 ODI ranking if it meant that we could win an Ashes series. You could probably talk about India's superiority over England in hockey and it would be barely less important to us than your talk of ODIs during an Ashes series.

  • SirViv1973 on August 12, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    @SCDLFC, Re Flintoff, from his debut in 98 up until 03, Eng had Alec Stewart which meant that we had 6 genuine batsman plus Flintoff, who at this stage of his career usually batted @7. It was only after AC retired that AF batted at 6 & from 03 -05 his stats were that of a genuine top 6 batsman 2173@ an ave of 40.24. From 06 - 09 AF was plagued by injuries & his batting tailed off. I think the main reason he still batted at 6 was because he was so important to the bowling attack, & we needed an extra bowler in the side in case he broke down as his body became increasingly fragile.

  • ClippedThroughMid-Wicket on August 12, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    I have to grudgingly admit a deep admiration for ian bell. in fact, its not even that grudging. he really is a fantastic little player. he has the kind of all-round game that just doesnt have any major weaknesses. too close to his pads and hell whip you round the corner, too wide of off and hell dab you through third man/crash you through point-cover region. he really is a master at his craft. he plays it so late and doesnt go out to belt it everywhere, rather he is a master of timing and placement. all of our (aus) young batsmen could learn a helluva lot from watching him and videos of his india/sri lanka series and nz earlier this year.

    having said that i hope we can clean up the crafty little bugger early this morning and get into the tail early. i still have faith in my aussies, if we can do that and restrict englands lead to 260-280 MAXIMUM, hopefully a bit less, i still think we will be in with a major shout.

  • Kitschiguy on August 12, 2013, 7:18 GMT

    When Bell's in form he's England's best batsman, When Cook's in form he's England's best batsman, When KP's in form he's England's best batsman, When Trott's in form he's England's best batsman.

    This type of analysis is waffle and shows why it's so hard to quantify a batsman's or bowler's ability and why it probably shouldn't be attempted.

  • 5wombats on August 12, 2013, 7:12 GMT

    I think it's marvellous that Broad has once again shown his value to the side. Particularly since so many said Anderson & Swann carry the bowling. That was always nonsense. I really liked Rogers effort too - excellent innings. Aus messed up when they picked Voges over him a few years back. He could have had a lot more test tons by now. As for Bell - well what can you say; great work from him again in difficult circumstances. And so England have done it again - rescuing themselves in their second dig. @CricketingStargazer I'm with you re; Old Trafford. However I think an England win there would have been hard to achieve. The draw was nailed on though. Re; this match. England may already have enough. Can't see Aus scoring more than 270-280, so if England can bat beyond lunch.... This is a good game. Just shows what a challenge Test cricket really is.

  • Heart_of_Oak on August 12, 2013, 6:49 GMT

    I can't understand why people are saying 'England regaining control' and things like that. The Aussie bowlers are now into the tail and if Bell goes early, it's likely the Aussies will have nearly 2 days to get a little over 200 runs. This is very do-able on a gentle pitch and we'll be praying for rain again.

    We must start to get realistic and stop all the stupid gung ho talk (e.g. Whitewash, 5 nil etc.). This Aussie side is much better than we thought and we are not as good as we thought. This is not defeatist talk. It's only by recognising your short comings that you can do something about them.

  • MartinC on August 12, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    @Nitinn Singhal I am stunned by Indian fans who come to comment on England games who talk of India's superiority over England. In ODIs you have a good case, but this is a Test series and in Tests we have just returned from India where we beat you 2-1 following up a 4-0 whitewash here in England the last time you toured here (we won all the ODIs that series as well).

    Our batsman played your spin a lot better than your batsmen played our spin in India and Jimmy Anderson took 12 wickets which was 3 times more than any Indian seamer. You have a short memory or are in denial.

  • hotcric01 on August 12, 2013, 6:12 GMT

    A target around 270 would be difficult.But to confirm the victory they should set a target around 320.lower order batting is crucial for England.

  • heathrf1974 on August 12, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    Great knock by Bell. I think the Sherminator is now dead and buried.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 12, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    @Nitinn Singhal: I thought you were joking, then I realized you could only have been joking, and nothing more. You do watch cricket don't you? Because it seems you've missed the last 3 years of Ind V Eng. You missed Swann and Anderson out bowlling India time and again, and much more else. Time to bu some DVDs

  • Shaggy076 on August 12, 2013, 5:38 GMT

    Nitin - Do you remember anything that has happened outside the last two months. 1) England went to India and did it in a cake walk. 2) Your attack with so much variety went for 4/6000 on 3 occasions on there last trip to Australia whilst, the Australian team bowled India out for under 300 in 7 innings. So what if its one dimensional when you play on proper cricket wickets its effective.

  • on August 12, 2013, 5:36 GMT

    Minna is forgetting how England beat India in their backyard. Mark of a good side is one that wins when not playing well. They have been outplayed in the first part of this test match had this been India the match would have been over by now

  • jmcilhinney on August 12, 2013, 5:30 GMT

    @CricketingStargazer on (August 11, 2013, 22:31 GMT), that's crazy talk. To suggest that England would have won at Old Trafford is ridiculous. Had they tried then, with some luck and great skill, they might have been able to but they wouldn't even have tried. I'd say that England were a good chance of a draw, given how many times this series they have batted out more overs after being three down than were left at OT but the odds of even a draw would have been 50% at best. A win was simply not in the equation.

  • on August 12, 2013, 5:14 GMT

    Hey cric_J- Seems that you have forgotten England's crushing defeat in the CT Final, the brownwash handed over to them in the ODI series in India, and the clout that our spin-twins (Ashwin & Jadeja) enjoy over your team. Choose your words carefully, if you are to call us a weak bowling team-a team that's in your face with the number one ODI ranking, and the number one ODI bowler.

    Come to India, and we will grind Jimmy, Bresnan & Onions to dust on our home grounds. Besides, you will then have the pleasure of watching your own batsmen dance like cat on a hot tin roof when they face up to our spinners.

    Call yourselves lucky to win the Ashes, for you're dealing with a one-dimensional attack that's nowhere near ours.

  • munna_indian on August 12, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    The aussies have shown spark here and there but if they have to win test matches, they have to show consistency. they should some how got to come out of the BELL syndrome. clarke looks like a confused captain. when things go wrong, he seems to run out of ideas. an ideal captain is one who plans for each batsman. he simply allowed things to drift during bell-pietersen partnership. they could take easy singles and rotate the scoreboard thereby easing the pressure of the rest. watto is surely a burden on the team. one doesnt know what his role is at the moment. and this is not an ODI game where the priority is to restrict run scoring but one needs to pitch the ball up to make the batsman play and thereby create chances.

  • Shaggy076 on August 12, 2013, 4:35 GMT

    Patchmaster; England have one batsman in this series averaging over 35. Not bad for such an ordinary bowling unit. Cook, Pietersen, Trott, Bairstow, Root and Prior have all failed against this bowling unit - If your description is accurate what does it say about these batsman?

  • Anil_Koshy on August 12, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    Selection should be blamed for inconsistent batting, there was not need to promote Root as an opener, his batting is more required at middle order, which is a weak link at the moment, Bairstow never looked comfortable in the entire series, they should bring back Crompton at top and ask Root to bat in the middle order and drop Bairstow.

  • anniyan18 on August 12, 2013, 3:10 GMT

    Fantastic batting by Ian Bell!! Absolutely gritty innings!! Go Bell, Go!!!

  • sAiyAnstAr on August 12, 2013, 2:56 GMT

    Tony Hill has been a dismal umpire this series. I think Saturday park cricket umpires would have done a better job. Please drop him indefinitely until he has had a bit of umpire coaching and knows how to call an LBW correctly, and how to listen for edges off the bat. Seriously, this wonderful series is being let-down by poor umpires. At least Aleem Dar is there and he is probably one of the better umpires, and that is not saying much because the umpiring standard has dropped significantly. I think the best way to remedy this is by getting rid of the main umpire and only leaving a square leg umpire to stand. The rest of the calls can be made by the 3rd umpire, and even then they should have 2 umpires in the box with the match referee officiating. Or an even better solution is to bring back Dickie-bird!!

  • jamrith on August 12, 2013, 2:52 GMT

    The batting on both sides has been very ordinary. Only Bell and Cook inspire confidence amongst the English batters though Cook has thrown it away more often than not, Root and Bairstow are out of their depth, Pietersen is hit-or-miss, Trott is going through a bad patch, Prior and the rest have been below par. It's the same for the other side, Rogers stands out as a gritty batsman, Clarke has had one magnificent knock, Watson under-achieves, Khawaja and Smith are not Test class, but Haddin has performed well and the Aussie tail has done much better--- Agar,Pattinson, Starc and now Harris. So it is really Bell's shining displays that have helped England stay marginallly ahead nothwithstanding Australia's better bowling. I predict an Aussie win at Durham and a draw at the Oval, giving England a narrow 2-1 series win, far from the predicted whitewash. What is more, the return series Down Under will be a hard-fought one with the odds on Australia winning at home.

  • jango_moh on August 12, 2013, 2:16 GMT

    great batting from bell... perfect innings in time of need!!! kudos from an indian fan....

  • ClippedThroughMid-Wicket on August 12, 2013, 2:06 GMT

    @dabhand - i did answer you but for some reason cricinfo doesnt publish like half my comments, its really starting to drive me up the wall.

    i think if we do on the 4th morning what england did to us on the 3rd morning, were in with a massive shout. need to get wickets early and not get batted out of the game.

    well done to bell, i really admire his all-round game.

  • Greatest_Game on August 12, 2013, 2:05 GMT

    @ mitty2. I enjoy reading your comments, but I'm surprised that you would write "… England have failed in favourable conditions. Winning the toss on a placid surface. Failed. Bowling in overcast conditions. Failed." They are 202 ahead at the close of play - on this wicket that can hardly be considered a failure. That lead could be increased considerably as Aus need to dismiss 2 experienced batsmen - Bell & Prior - before they are well into the tail.The match seems evenly poised, & with 2 days of play left a result is looking likely. If Eng failed then Aus should be in a very dominant position, but with all three results possible, if Eng have failed then Aus too must have failed, but by your high praise of Harris you clearly don't think so. Your criticism is unusually harsh. Have you been hanging out with Randy?

  • Pookie_06 on August 12, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    The way Australia came out and batted yesterday really set the tone for a stinker of a day. We were supposed to be turning the screws and building a big lead on route to evening the series. I was actually excited to tune in for the start of play last night. Then a bit of false hope from Harris before bed, just to magnify the hurt when I woke up this morning to a 200 run deficit. So tonight we'll probably take a couple of early wickets, then Stuart Broad will come out and make like 80no, England will get the lead over 400 and we'll lose 6 wickets between midnight and 3am. Good times.

  • jmcilhinney on August 12, 2013, 0:07 GMT

    @JG2704 on (August 11, 2013, 20:43 GMT), I get the feeling that England have changed their thinking regarding night-watchmen somewhat and have decided that it's better to send in someone who can at least bat a bit and has a reasonable chance against good bowling rather than a genuine tail-ender who is pretty much just cannon-fodder. Bresnan is more expendable than anyone above him but he does have a genuine defence and is more than capable of actually making some runs the next day if he survives. He's also more responsible with the bat that Broad or Swann. Personally, I like the idea.

  • landl47 on August 12, 2013, 0:01 GMT

    The game is at a fascinating point. If Australia can do what England did this morning and get the other 5 England wickets for less than 50, I think they have the advantage. If England reach a lead of 300 then they're on top. In between, anyone's game. One thing that should be noted, though, is that Swann got Haddin and Rogers today, with a sharp turner and a sharp lifter respectively, and Lyon was getting both turn and lift later on in the day. If that continues, Swann will be a handful in the 4th innings.

    Enough of the Root/Compton thing. Compton's top score in his last 6 test innings was 16. Root is aged 22, Compton 30. Bairstow has played quite well at #6. Leave things as they are and let the young guys learn. Both have shown that they can.

    Finally, I have to say great effort by Harris. I think one day he will break into small pieces as he delivers the ball, but today he was Australia's main threat and the spell of leg theory he put in to Bairstow and Bell was awesome.

  • jmcilhinney on August 11, 2013, 23:57 GMT

    @Henrik Lovén on (August 11, 2013, 20:38 GMT), did you see Root's performances batting at #6 or are you only going by this series?

  • Patchmaster on August 11, 2013, 23:51 GMT

    Even with a weakened / out of form batting unit, England are making all the bowlers apart from Harris, look very very ordinary. Even RandyOz can't talk up this Australian side ;-)

  • Shaggy076 on August 11, 2013, 22:57 GMT

    Other than the one game at Lords this has been a really good series. Bell was the difference in the first test, Aussies were on top in the third and could Bell be the difference in the fourth test? Game is still on with the new ball coming and mostly bowlers and a wicket keeper to bowl too at one end, Australia can still restrict this to a very gettable score. Whatever, the result of this game or the next don't think there can be any doubt that Bell will be the man of the series.

  • on August 11, 2013, 22:48 GMT

    Australia continue to underestimate this England side. Since the first innings of 500 declared at Old Trafford, you would've thought that they would do the same here. Haddin tried to review a plumb LBW, Rogers falls to Swann for the fourth time and this time his luck ran out after Tony Hill's decision was overturned on review with hotspot showing a faint tickle on the glove. Then the tail folded, after the 500 at Old Trafford with contributions from Rogers, Smith, Clarke, Haddin and Starc, they thought there was no need for a bowling allrounder and so no Starc, Pattinson or Agar to bail them out. England fightback. Who expected that? Just because you score 500 in one innings doesn't mean you should remove bowling allrounders from your team. In this case Starc had to bite the bullet.

  • CricketingStargazer on August 11, 2013, 22:31 GMT

    @JG2705 I think that England could have defended 180. 240 will be a very tough target and if it gets up to 280, it will take a miracle for Australia to win. What worries me a little is that of Ian Bell's 4 Ashes centuries in his last 5 Tests, none has been bigger than 115: to set a big target England need him to go on for at least an hour in the morning and for at least one of Bresnan, Prior, Broad and Swann to get a 30 or a 40.

    @Graham Ward: I've seen this position all series and Australia have never been able to follow it up so I was not that worried. I was not even particularly worried at Old Trafford (and there I would probably be in a minority of one thinking that, had the match been played out, England would have won, or at least gone very close).

  • OneEyedAussie on August 11, 2013, 22:18 GMT

    What a twist. At the close of play on Day 2 I was thinking a lead of 100 minimum but the experience of Anderson and Swann won out over Australia's tail. Now thanks to Bell England lead by 200 with 5 wickets in hand. I don't really see Australia being able to chase anything more than 250, which means the game is almost certainly England's, barring a miraculous performance from one of the Australian batsmen.

    I think the Australian bowlers plans have been executed well for all of the English batsmen except Bell. Bell and Swann are definitely responsbile for most of the winning margin in this series.

  • Rowayton on August 11, 2013, 22:02 GMT

    Ironic,isn't it, that every man and his dog has been at Michael Clarke to move up the order, and it turns out that the most important batsman in the series is the one who bats number 5 for England. It hasn't seemed to affect Bell's value that he frequently comes in at 3 for not many.

  • verbanonfacta on August 11, 2013, 21:39 GMT

    How long will it be before umpires are replaced entirely by their machines? It happened to Hill today, Harris bypassing him. A good umpire gives 'the benefit of the doubt' to the batter, so he will always give Rogers not out caught off a slivver of glove unless he's going to guess that the batter hit it. It is just a matter of time before all the best panel umpires are proven to have made 'poor' not out decisions because you cannot make that Rogers' type of dismissal with the naked eye, nor are you supposed to: if there is doubt, and there must be doubt when it takes minutes of playbacks on slowmo looking for a dot of white on a body, the umpire must say not out. At the moment, when he umpires without guessing, the technology proves he's wrong. It's just a question of time before all the umpires are poor. They will be replaced by machines soon: holding a jumper isn't that important.

  • SirViv1973 on August 11, 2013, 21:37 GMT

    @Henrik Loven, To date Bairstow simply hasn't scored enough runs & he can't be kept in the side because of his fielding alone. He has made plenty of starts but has failed to go on & play that crucial inns that was needed to silence the doubters. He had that opportunity today but again failed to deliver when set. A 50 or 60 here whilst under pressure would have gone a long way to securing his position. If you look at the last player who was given an extended run at 6 Eoin Morgan he scored 700@30.43 in 24 inns, JB has managed 543@30.11 in 20 inns & EM was quite rightly dropped due to his lack of runs. Perhaps JB's performances in this series have been affected by the poor form of the top order & therefore coming in earlier than expected has meant he hasn't been able to play his natural game. However at this level you have to be able to adapt. I would expect him to get 1 more chance at the oval but if he can't nail if by then there are other options Eng should be looking at.

  • RandyOZ on August 11, 2013, 21:30 GMT

    if oz can roll the england tail for 50 like they did to us, we are in with a big chance here.

  • shillingsworth on August 11, 2013, 21:16 GMT

    @poms_have_short_memories - Australia certainly have had no one to match Bell but add Swann to the players who have made a difference between the two sides. Had Lyon played the entire series, the gap might have been less. I'm still baffled by the selection of Agar as a spin bowler.

  • SirViv1973 on August 11, 2013, 21:05 GMT

    @ZZBY, I don't know how much of the cricket you saw today but Harris was once again excellent for Aus. The key for the bowlers on day 2 & 3 has been the new ball & the overhead conditions. Eng took 4 wickets with a new/ish ball yesterday then found it difficult when the ball got softer but were then able to clean up the tail this morning with the 2nd new ball. Aus then got 3 early wickets & found it tougher when the ball got softer & the sun came out. Aus young seamers came here with big reputations in particular Pattinson & to a slightly lesser extent Bird & Starc, all of whom have bowled ok but have been completely upstaged by the old timers Harris & Siddle who have both been outstanding.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 11, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    @JG2704 (post on August 11, 2013, 20:43 GMT): the whole idea of using a night-watchman in general annoys me so, but the "explanation" (if you can call it that) for sending out Bresnan instead of Anderson that I heard from Aggers/Vaughan/Boycott was that England are testing the idea of using a night-watchman who can blast a few quick runs when the batting's good, instead of just blocking out overs. Why oh why the next batsman in (Prior wasn't it in this case?) couldn't just do this anyway is puzzling...

  • 12thUmpire on August 11, 2013, 21:04 GMT

    With some rain in the forecast + Watto unavailable, don't expect any daring declaration from Cookie! He only needs a draw to clinch the series, but more importantly, he is NO Gilly! NEITHER is he a Sobers!

  • mzm149 on August 11, 2013, 21:02 GMT

    Aussies really deserve to win this match. After bad luck in first and third games, they should come out victorious this time.

  • SDCLFC on August 11, 2013, 21:01 GMT

    @Sir Viv. It's not quite that cut and dry for an inclusion of an allrounder. At an average of 31 Flintoff was not a top 6 batsmen but that's where he played in 2005. It is tricky getting the balance right between using allrounders as bolwer/batsmen or batsmen/bowlers. In NZ we really stuffed up Jacob Oram by over-bowling him as a third seamer rather than only using him for 8-14 overs a day. He averaged 36 with the bat

  • SirViv1973 on August 11, 2013, 20:52 GMT

    @Browners76, I would also say re Onions that he may well have gone well on this track but having said that Broad would have been most peoples favorite to drop out & he's got a 5 for here.

  • on August 11, 2013, 20:50 GMT

    It looked distinctly wobbly for England at 3 down with a lead of 17; it looks a whole lot better now with a 200 run lead on the board with 5 wickets in hand. Bell again batted superbly, can he now go beyond the 109 mark, and hopefully bat Australia out of this Test? Good support from Pietersen and Bairstow, but, as with Australia overnight, the new ball due in 6 overs will have to be played out carefully. If England can post a target of 300+, it will make for a very interesting conclusion. Finally, a penny for Compton's thoughts. Root is no doubt a class player, but is he being given more slack than Compton because of it? England's starts in virtually every innings in this Test series to date have been awful.

  • on August 11, 2013, 20:48 GMT

    I wish all the Bell bashers would come out and give him some acknowledgement; he is now stastically one of England's best ever batsman. It's bizarre how England have struggled to find form with the bat consistently. At this point I believe we should stick with the batting line up; Cook and Trott will find form at some point, and Root and Bairstow have a long way to go to learn their trade. Australia have a good prospect in Starc I think, but Harris and Siddle must be feeling that they are expected to take the wickets. Australia have struggled to beat an England side in very poor form.

  • JG2704 on August 11, 2013, 20:43 GMT

    Probably - for once in the last 2 tests - have to say Eng's day and they are slightly ahead. I think they'd have been happy to restrict Aus to adding less than 50 from their overnight score and (esp after the top 3 going early) will be very pleased to be 200 ahead with 5 wkts remaining. Obviously much depends on how much the tail wags. Brilliant stuff from Bell once more. Really please he's proving his doubters/sceptics (inc myself) wrong. I've always thought he's good at making runs when Eng are on top but now he'd making runs when Eng are under the cosh. Just one observation - why is Bres (who was once seen as an all rounder) now used as a night watchman , even when he is next in anyway

  • poms_have_short_memories on August 11, 2013, 20:41 GMT

    Again Ian Bell has proven he is the best English batsman, not as flamboyant as KP, better technically than Trott and Cook IMHO with infinite concentration, definitely the difference between the two sides this series, and from an aussie point of view, a major pain in the backside!!

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 11, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    @MrsBoycottsStickOfRhubarb (post on August 11, 2013, 20:20 GMT): interesting that you should pick out Clarke to compare with Root, because in my opinion both players are suffering for the same reason: playing in the wrong position. Both Root and Clarke have now made one good score in their 'wrong' positions (opening in tests for Root; 4 for Clarke) - but does it not make you wonder what might have happened if Root had stayed down in the middle and Clarke would stop listening to detractors and stay at 5 where he is phenomenal? I don't think anybody has suggested dropping either of them...

  • SirViv1973 on August 11, 2013, 20:40 GMT

    @Thebigbooda, This is probably the first time this has happened but I AGREE, with your analysis. Conditions & how Aus go with the new ball will decide what sort of target they end up chasing. If they able are to match what Eng did this morning & grab the last 5 wickets cheaply then a target of 240 - 250 should keep them well in it but you would still feel that at least 1 batsman would still need to bat very well. If Eng are able to bat on past lunch then the target is going to be the best part of 300 & that will take some getting.

  • on August 11, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    Why the suggestions to drop Bairstow? Apart from being the best England fielder, he's been the junior partner of two crucial stands with Bell and looks far more assured than Root, who in spite of his, as it turned out, inconsequential 180 has clearly shown that he is not yet ready for Test cricket. Root should go with the Lions this winter and Compton should be back to open with Cook at the Oval ahead of the Ashes Down Under.

  • on August 11, 2013, 20:38 GMT

    A lead of between 250-300 will be very difficult for this weak Australian batting line-up. Totals of 300 have been out of reach for them all but once this series. Improvement needed.

  • CricketingStargazer on August 11, 2013, 20:37 GMT

    @jmc I suspect that Nick Compton is watching this series with increasing bewilderment. He was dropped as a perceived weak link so that Australia would be stopped from getting early wickets. My fear was that Joe Root would no longer be the force that he has been at #6. He has managed 30, 5, 6, 180, 8, 13*, 16 & 2. Maybe Nick Compton would not have got that 180, but I am quite sure that he would have scored more runs in the other 7 innings and Joe Root would have been more solid at #6 than Jonny Bairstow who has been out for a score between 14 and 37 in 6 of his 7 innings. Bairstow has got a start every single time, but only once reached 50 in the series.

    England are likely to win on Tuesday - I do not see Australia chasing more than 250 - but it is a measure of Australia's weakness that they have not been able to exploit England's own weaknesses and make a better showing.

  • pulkit10 on August 11, 2013, 20:25 GMT

    England's day clearly but the game is far from over. A few quick wickets for Australia and this will be a pretty good contest - a lead of around 50 for England would make it a challenge for Australia. Anything more and they'll need a miracle to save this.

    Great work overall by both the teams today. Wickets fell at regular intervals and even small patnerships are being taking into account - that alone is a great sign.

    As for the criticism for Aus's batting order...yeah, the way I see it only one batting order passed 500 this series. It was Aus. Also, it was widely known they have a weak batting order but they've stood up well for being so "weak" especially when compared to their star studded counterparts.

    Hats off to Bell. Still not a fan but he's been at the top of his form and plays brilliantly.

    I'm suspecting Australia will get those last few wickets rather quickly tomorrow. It'll be an exciting day if they do.

  • SirViv1973 on August 11, 2013, 20:22 GMT

    @Browners76, An allrounder at 6 is not an option for Eng at the moment, there simply isn't anyone good enough. The list of players who were picked in that role during the 90s just because they could ball a few overs is endless. Any player who comes in to the top 6 has to justify his inclusion primarily as a batsman, if he's a useful bowler than all well & good. The only genuine allrounder in test cricket who bats in the top 6 theses days is Kallis. You can argue the case about Watson but most Aus fans think he doesn't score enough runs & shouldn't be in the side. Stokes' bowling has come on a bit & he could at some point provide an option of a no6 batsman who can also be a useful 4th seamer, but at the moment his batting isn't consistent enough. Should Bairstow be dropped the immediate options would be Taylor, Ballance or to move Root back to the middle & bring back Compton or blood Robson at the top & the only 1 of those who bowls is Root & hes already in the side.

  • MrsBoycottsStickOfRhubarb on August 11, 2013, 20:20 GMT

    Root's form has been comparable to Michael Clarke's but nobody would dream of dropping him. Got to be worth persevering with for me.

  • 2.14istherunrate on August 11, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    England's best day for a while-since Lords-saw them in a favourable position to win the game.Obviously Ian Bell set that up with his brilliant ton, but the bowlers did amazingly to wipe up the rest of the Aussie batting, well done to them. Poor Root who seems to be having a tough time at the top got a snorter-as one does as opener- and must be wondeiring about it all. Cook played much better for me but then played a silly shot, while Trott could have left his alone. He will have to learn how to play that ball now as he is going to be peppered with short stuff mow. Be;ll play3ed sublimely again thankfully and KP and Bairstow were good in support. Another 2-3 hours at the crease and they should safe. Harris and Lyon were standouts with the ball.

  • zzby on August 11, 2013, 20:06 GMT

    Australian seamers look medicore on the 3rd day pitch that was earlier helpfull to english seamers, I think Pattinson was great bowler to have but clark didnt use him well and overladed him in 2nd match which resulted in injury. On this pitch thee was need of fast hit the deck bowler which Austrlia lacks anybody know if they have one in reserves?

  • arm_chair_Ed on August 11, 2013, 20:05 GMT

    The key area where Eng have been billed as superior is spin. Even from the warm up games where Eng cleaned up Essex on the last day when Aus couldn't harm Worcs, it's seemed Eng have the edge on a deteriorating wicket. So let's see it again tomorrow as per Sunday at Lords and Saturday at TB. I'm quietly confident Swann will fly! ... when Bird didn't ....... and Lyon didn't roar (sorry folks)

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 11, 2013, 20:02 GMT

    @Terry Childs (post on August 11, 2013, 19:06 GMT): that's been the story of Bell's career really. One good knock by a KP, and suddenly he's a star; a good knock by Bell: Run of the mill? Fluke? Insignificant in terms of matches? We've heard it all really, and it's come to the point where I think the silence says it all really. All I can say is that he goes down on my team sheets sooner than others, and knocks like this come as no surprise. Well done Ian Bell.

  • Harmony111 on August 11, 2013, 19:56 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa: Presumably you are talking about the Roger's wicket when you talk of DRS in your comment, right? If that is so then how is that incident a good case for DRS? When the field umpire gave Roger not out, was that a Howler? The white spot on Roger's glove was so tiny you could have missed it easily. All along we have been told that DRS is meant for HOWLERS only. We keep hearing this each time DRS fails. In the recent past, Hot Spot in particular detected nothing when the snicko & the stump mic have shown some contact and ppl keep telling us that "Oh that does not mean DRS has failed cos you see, it is meant only for Howlers."

    So, I want you to clarify your stand now. Pls tell us what is the DRS for? Is it for Howlers or is it for the minute ones? If the former is the case then Roger's wicket can't be counted as +1 for DRS and if the latter is the case then obviously you haven't been seeing the numerous failures DRS (esp Hotspot) has suffered.

  • GeoffreysMother on August 11, 2013, 19:52 GMT

    Well done to Rogers, Haddin and Harris. They have made the series exciting and competitive. I thought they had just brought Harris along for spare parts for the other bowlers but he is holding up really well. Those advocating changes to the English batting line up need to factor in that facing Harris and Siddle on some of these wickets is a bit harder than scoring county runs - and no one has yet passed a thousand this season when the weather has been dry and little time has been lost. Whilst people have been critical of the batting on both sides I don't think they have factored in the quality of the bowling or the nature of three of the wickets: and this makes Ian Bell's performances genuinely outstanding.

  • on August 11, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    Ian Bell was always one of England's best batsmen . The selectors had a strangled hold on him by keeping him out the final eleven to make sure Collingwood got the nod. But Bell kept on going and now is proving to England and the world what a talent he is . This guy is SILKY smooth and as long as he stays fit he will remain a hand full for all bowlers .

  • on August 11, 2013, 19:31 GMT

    We're yet to see what lead England will eventually post, but anything over 250 should be a difficult total for the Aussies to chase, though personally I think the two crucial wickets will be Clarke and Rogers, if they go cheaply, England should win this but if the both of them can stay in, this is far from a done deal.

  • browners76 on August 11, 2013, 19:31 GMT

    Time for Prior to put his hand up and play a decisive knock tomorrow morning(assuming Bresnan gets out). Hard to knock Bairstow when he is averaging more than Trott, Cook and Prior but it's clear England would benefit more with an all rounder at six. Anderson has clearly had it and needs a breather at the Oval. Why oh why Onions didn't get a game is beyond me, our selectors really aren't very good while the flower/cook combination may be good enough to beat average sides like India and Australia we are still a country mile behind SA. To beat them we need a 30% increase in performance. We've basically won this series on the back of 3 players.

  • on August 11, 2013, 19:23 GMT

    On a more positive note, Australia do at least have a really good bowling attack, one which they will have to manage very carefully in the near future to maintain their top 5 position in Tests. If they didn't have Ryan Harris, who knows where they would be now?

  • on August 11, 2013, 19:15 GMT

    Everyone (mostly Australian) has been saying England's batting order has failed again and again, but what about Australia's? They have only reached 300 once in the entire series! Prior to this match, Stuart Broad averaged more than any Australian batsmen except for Michael Clarke in this Ashes! Doesn't tell a good story for this weak Australian team. They are losing against a half-decent England team. Oh dear.

  • SirViv1973 on August 11, 2013, 19:08 GMT

    @Jmcihinney,I didn't agree with Root's promotion, he was getting runs in the middle & I didn't understand why the selectors were so keen to change things particularly given the way Compton played in the warm up games against Aus. However I would agree that baring something special the opening partnership should be looked at before the tour to Aus. I don't agree with constantly changing the top order but something seems to have disappeared from Root's game since his promotion & he isn't as assertive as we saw him in the games against NZL earlier in the summer. Despite a few nice shots Bairstow has again failed to deliver. If his poor run continues at the Oval then it won't be difficult for him to be dropped ahead of the first test in Brisbane. He would still be part of the tour party as back up keeper. If the change is made Compton should be considered but Robson looks a strong candidate given his weight of runs this yr & the fact he learnt how to play the game in Aus.

  • on August 11, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    There seem to be very few comments about Bell's innings on this acknowledged difficult batting pitch. Perhaps his continuing match saving/winning contributions is now taken for granted. The prerenial Bell detractors (who wil reappear after two 'failures) should take note. Well done IRB.

  • whoster on August 11, 2013, 19:03 GMT

    Another fantastic ton from Bell. England needed one batsman to go on to a century, and also get good support around him - which Bell got from KP and Bairstow. Still work to be done, but if England win the first session tomorrow, should be the series wrapped up. Despite the top order constantly misfiring, England have still ground out decent totals under pressure. Very pleasing to see England's batting remain solid despite the likes of Cook and Trott struggling for runs.

  • JoshFromJamRock on August 11, 2013, 18:54 GMT

    Good knock by Bell. Ideally, declaring with a lead of 350 with four sessions (120 overs) left to bowl out Australia will seal the match for England. Its key that Cook goes for the win by giving his bowlers enough time to bowl out Australia, especially with their top order batsmen finding their touch in the past couple innings. England will probably only score 80-100 more runs tomorrow and be out by lunch anyway. But if that happens, as a neutral that would be a great set up with a result guaranteed. My thoughts based on current score, players to bat, Australia batting line up, and time remaining: England win 70%, Australia win 25% and draw 5% [only if England bat too long or rain spoils it].

  • Cpt.Meanster on August 11, 2013, 18:53 GMT

    Once again, most English batsmen proving they are ordinary except KP and Bell. Without them, England would be in a worst position. Root ? Bairstow ? So much for the future 'stars' of English batting. England should hope Bell and KP don't retire in the next 2 years IF they are to maintain their top 3 position in test cricket. What an innings by Bell !! A treat to watch. He's equally good in ODIs and T20 cricket which is why I think he will be one of the greats of the game many years from now. Well played Ian. I think he has put England in a winning position here.

  • SirViv1973 on August 11, 2013, 18:47 GMT

    This test seems to be heading in a similar direction to the 1st game at TB.Eng batted 1st, got a below par score of just over 200, Aus got a useful but not decisive 1st inns lead then Eng batted better 2nd inns & set Aus a difficult but not insurmountable target. Much may will depend on how Aus go with the new ball in the morning & how much cloud cover there is, as to how much they end up chasing. From the position Eng are in, they will feel they should be able to bat until at least lunch. If that target is then reached then Aus should be chasing more than they got 1st inns on a wearing pitch which will be a difficult task.

  • dabhand on August 11, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    @ ClippedThroughMid-Wicket - what do you reckon now the lead is 200+

  • MartinC on August 11, 2013, 17:59 GMT

    What a good days Test cricket! Great knock from Bell and very good bowling from Harris - it looked like they were batting and bowling on different pitches to the other players.

    England have their noses in front now considering the Aussies will have to bat last but it's still pretty even. If England can get another 100 runs they become big favorites.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 11, 2013, 17:39 GMT

    @Mitty2 (post on August 11, 2013, 13:27 GMT): I'll hold my hand up and admit I was one (maybe the only one!) that labelled Harris as a short-spell specialist. I did say on another thread already, however, that he's proved me very wrong. I aint going to change though; I don't want to be one of the many posters here that only comment at the end of each day in hindsight. I'm not afraid to make predictions. Haven't exactly been proved wrong about Warner/Hughes for example; conversely, seems I was right about Bird, Haddin, Siddle, Pattinson, Starc... I was always sitting on the fence about Lyon and Watson, but I'm happy for Lyon that he's amongst the wickets now, and as I said on another thread about Watson, he is best in the team as a 'sort-of all-rounder'; shifting him down the batting order might do him the world of good.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 11, 2013, 17:29 GMT

    @jmcilhinney: as you know I was very uncomfortable with moving Root up to open for a big Ashes series. Why choose a huge series and strong opposition like this to suddenly change what looked like a winning formula with Root settled down in the middle, and Compton in the form of his life opening? That big, vibrant knock at Lords had me eating my doubts because the mistake when he was in single figures aside, it was flawless and exciting. Now I'm not so sure again. If I'm not happy with the likes of Warner who only seems to deliver once a series, there's no way I'm going to be happy with England falling into the same traps.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on August 11, 2013, 17:09 GMT

    England back on top where they belong. If the lead gets anywhere past 220, Australia will be staring at another defeat. Swann started it, Bell finished it with a sublime knock.

  • ClippedThroughMid-Wicket on August 11, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    on a somewhat brighter note, the southern stars are killing it at the moment over in the womens ashes. come on you girls! :D

  • uzairamir on August 11, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    clarke needs to give nathan lyon more consistent spells the only reason that nathan lyon isnt getting more success is that clarke isnt putting more confidence in him

  • ClippedThroughMid-Wicket on August 11, 2013, 16:53 GMT

    the umpires are a massive bloody joke in this series, i dont care if that break in concentration causes one of the batsmen to get out, the fact that they made the players go off the field for like 30 seconds is a complete shambles.

    @Tafara Jakopo - yeah but starc would have gone for an additional 50 runs by now and wed have no hope in the match. in terms of line and length control bird>starc every day of the week.

  • on August 11, 2013, 16:40 GMT

    I know there a lot of bird fans, but the truth is, as Jarrod kimber put it, "Starc would'e gotten a wicket strangled down the leg-side by now." The boy just has a nack of taking wickets, he may not always look pretty but he does a job. AND he would've been a good chance to get a quick fifty that would have proved crucial for Australia. Starc > Bird.

  • Shan156 on August 11, 2013, 16:11 GMT

    It has 12 tests and 2 years since England scored 500+ in an innings in a home test. The last time we did was at the Oval against India in 2011. Hopefully, we will repeat it at the Oval again in two weeks time.

    After this series, England needs to look at a close look at their batting. It has consistently failed to put up large scores this year and we are not seeing too many changes (the one they made - replacing Compton with Root - was a bad one).

  • Micky.Panda on August 11, 2013, 16:02 GMT

    Lyon just got Pieterson and has an average of 26.66 runs per wicket (at this moment) just a shade under Swan's average! One feels that if Australian had managed to choose the right attack for the first test, we might have won that match, and the series would be at 1 test each. Sure England have proved to have the better batting line-up but not the better bowling line-up now that Australia's B bowlers are bowling. The gulf between the sides is not looking so enormous any longer.

  • Shan156 on August 11, 2013, 15:58 GMT

    This, definitely, should be the last chance for Bairstow. If he doesn't perform this innings, he should be dropped for the 5th test as well as the return series down under. I think he should be dropped regardless as it is affecting Root's batting too. Drop Bairstow, reinstate Compton as opener, and move Root to #6.

    Bresnan should be dropped too. What we need is genuine wicket-takers not trundlers who can bat a bit.

  • ClippedThroughMid-Wicket on August 11, 2013, 15:29 GMT

    the one consolation for australia at the moment is how difficult its been for england to get a lead of 100 runs. get one of these two out shortly and the rest will tumble i reckon

  • jimbond on August 11, 2013, 15:19 GMT

    With due respect to Trott and Cook, I think that it has been shown in this series that the best batsmen England have are Pietersen and Bell. Both Pietersen and Bell - often do not get the support that they deserve- given their worth- from the English fans.

  • notimeforcricket on August 11, 2013, 14:43 GMT

    The whole match hinges on this partnership. If they put on another hundred and the rest of the batting can chip in another 80 odd, England should win. If one of these is knocked over, I suspect the rest will follow pretty quickly and Australia will win

  • jmcilhinney on August 11, 2013, 14:29 GMT

    @Mitty2 on (August 11, 2013, 13:55 GMT), have to agree re Watson's importance to the team. I think that he may have been dropped as a batsman before now but not only does he hold his own as a bowler himself but he allows the other bowlers to remain fresher and therefore be more effective. England would dearly love to have a proper all-rounder. They're not going to get a Botham or even a Flintoff but someone who could bowl fast-medium and hold a bat would be great. Stokes is a chance but I still think that Woakes might be able to do the job. He's not a front-line Test bowler but he may be good enough as a fourth seamer and he would likely be good enough bat at #7 below Prior. His poor limited-overs showings would have undoubtedly hurt his chances though.

  • phoebeminder on August 11, 2013, 14:28 GMT

    Should Tony Hill be rested - he seems to have lost his nerve and confidence? Three on-field decisions incorrect in this morning's play. Also 12 overs an hour is a recurring theme when England are in the field.

  • ClippedThroughMid-Wicket on August 11, 2013, 14:22 GMT

    its all just too tame at the moment, england playing how they please and our bowlers with no real answers. try something damn it, try a short ball, throw down a yorker...this has been an issue with our bowling recently...weve been ok in this series but recently once it starts going against us its all same old, same old. england dealing with it all way too easily now.

  • ClippedThroughMid-Wicket on August 11, 2013, 14:12 GMT

    come on australia, letting the pressure right off here...still in the ascendancy with the poms effectively 3/69 but need to run through this partnership quickly...come on boys you can do it!

  • on August 11, 2013, 14:08 GMT

    Australia; besides Harris have bowled terribly. They have gone shortball crazy just because Harris got Trott with a good one. They could lose this test through this partnership alone if they dont dry up the runs.

  • Mitty2 on August 11, 2013, 13:55 GMT

    Oh and although he hasn't done anything of yet in this innings... I'm going to have to credit Watson - again :(. England's bowlers have seriously struggled at times when the partnerships have gotten out of hand and this is primarily due to either poor planning (I doubt it) or the lack of a fourth bowler. The Eng attack are lacking in variety and whilst they can destroy any batting line up, as seen against SA and NZ in NZ, once you get on top you can stay on top (600/2...). I'm not sure if any others will agree with me, but when Broad's rather fragile and when Bresnan's almost always innocuous, you'd think that England need an all rounder or a fifth bowler. Who knows, maybe losing that extra batsman will put extra onus on the batsmen and they'll price their wickets more heavily.

    But back on to Watson, our seamers have worked extraordinarily well so far, but it's not been in the blow 'em out of the water as predicted (if at all), and instead its been patience - led by Watto's presence.

  • ClippedThroughMid-Wicket on August 11, 2013, 13:37 GMT

    loving this bowling setup at the moment, how good is it having a player of siddles quality at number 4 bowler...although i do think he should be number 3 and watson 4th seamer.

  • Mitty2 on August 11, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    Ryan Harris is seriously world class. His record and strike rate is truly amazing and the way he's bowled this series... No one could have asked any more. The best I've ever seen him bowl was his 6 for against SL on a road, but for him to be repeating his efforts three tests in a row is, again, way more than anyone expected. People were labelling him as a short spell bowler which is seriously not true, as seen in the Shield Final and in this series he can bowl for long searching spells economically and at the same pace. If only his body was durable.

    England's top order failing miserably yet again. Justice for dropping Compton and inexplicably moving Root to the top I say. But, we have to credit Mccullum and NZ's seamers, their plans to each individual batsman have virtually been copied by us, but I'd say we've executed the plans better.

    To top it off, England have failed in favourable conditions. Winning the toss on a placid surface. Failed. Bowling in overcast conditions. Failed.

  • H_Z_O on August 11, 2013, 13:11 GMT

    @jmcilhinney I was opposed to Root opening because I didn't like Bairstow at 6 but I never expected Root to struggle this much opening. As you say, it's not the lack of runs that's the concern (openers can always get a good one early), but the way that he's gone into his shell.

    Think they may have a look at Robson, obviously would know conditions better than Compton having played in Australia when he was younger, and I think the selectors have an issue with Compton that goes deeper than his form with the bat.

  • ClippedThroughMid-Wicket on August 11, 2013, 13:09 GMT

    england technically now 3/17 and really needing a big innings from their own little master ian bell. pietersen always destructive, but if one of these two gets removed you worry for the lower order with bairstow and prior not on batting form.

  • SandipManjrekar on August 11, 2013, 13:06 GMT

    One morning doesn't make DRS an outstanding technology so that we offer a vote of thanks and rely for another 15 years as like D/L which finds same amount of detractors since its implementation.

  • roook on August 11, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    I am though very impressed by Australian fightback attitude. Though they have a very inexperienced batting lineup. Though they have a slim lead but still it keep the match interesting

  • jmcilhinney on August 11, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    @Chris_Howard on (August 11, 2013, 12:23 GMT), I disagree with you significantly there. It's the DRS proponents who are not against technology but are against the seemingly inconsistent or insufficient procedures while the majority of the DRS detractors will jump on every little perceived failure as vindication of the BCCI's position, which was specifically distrust of the technology, and reason to throw the whole DRS out. What they fail to consider is the fact that improving the technology is not easy and takes lots of expensive R&D whereas improving the procedures is relatively simple and just requires a few people to sit down at a table and work it out. That said, I'm not in favour of knee-jerk changes because many have offered solutions without considering their downsides. Also, the ICC is already trialling new systems and procedures that will hopefully take care of many, most or even all of the current issues.

  • RJHB on August 11, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    Ooh nice, Cook just out, game on!

  • on August 11, 2013, 12:59 GMT

    England may create a bit disturbance if they set a target of 260 or 270 because the pitch is not as easy for bat as it was in 1st or 2nd Inning . Trott should have to score 100 in this inning !!! but any ways let see what England do :)

  • ClippedThroughMid-Wicket on August 11, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    gotta pull one of the bowlers and inject siddle, siddle will keep it much tighter...

  • Shaggy076 on August 11, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    TommyTuckaSaffa; i have been a critic of the way DRS is set up and got to say the last couple of tests the captains are learning how to use it better and the umpires are interpreting it better (ie stay with umpire unless considerable proof). So Im starting to see the system work better, I do worry about captains using it as a tactic as its an umpires tool but if they continue to use it like they have in the last couple of tests then it looks good. Would like to find away where the umpires can use it themselves in the case of the Broad first test, Smith LBW in the third test so we get even more decisions right.

  • righthandbat on August 11, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    Bell is more suited to opening than Root. They could swap places.

  • TheBigBoodha on August 11, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK, a lead of 285? Are you kidding? Given that the higest score in the match is under 270, England won't need anywhere near that much. However this is a very two-faced pitch - varying from slow, placid, to pacy and unplayable. Basically the weather tomorrow will go a long way to determining the outcome. Today the track has flattened out again, minimal swing. Nice for England. Lyon might go well here.

  • Chris_Howard on August 11, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa I don't think there's many DRS detractors here who are against the technology itself.

    We're just against the terrible handling of it in the first three Tests by the third umpire himself.

    Congrats to the third umpire this Test though coz he has done well.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on August 11, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    Tony Hill needs a holiday. Has been a terrible umpire all series. But the problem is the choice is from only 4 umpires. As 8 of the 12 international umpires are from the two teams playing. And 1 of the 4 umpires has already been dropped. So that leaves only 1 other ump. Hill, Aleem Dar are in this match. Erasmus was dropped. Who is the 4th? Not Billy Bowden

  • TommytuckerSaffa on August 11, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    Where are all the DRS detractors now? Where are you! Outstanding morning for technology of DRS reversing at least 3 criminal decisions. Thank you DRS.

  • on August 11, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    Poor quality cricket from both the sides, not really living up to the hype... This happened in the first match and again... Hopefully the rest of the match would see good bowling getting wickets rather than batsmen gifting their wickets

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 11, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    Root needs something special here; that sole knock at Lords is beginning to look very lonely, and those of us that didn't want Root opening from the beginning are reigniting those doubts. Rogers showed England how to play on this pitch; let's see can they apply the same patience.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 11, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    I think England need a lead of at least 285 to be in with a chance of the win.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 11, 2013, 11:37 GMT

    I think England need a lead of at least 285 to be in with a chance of the win.

  • R_U_4_REAL_NICK on August 11, 2013, 11:46 GMT

    Root needs something special here; that sole knock at Lords is beginning to look very lonely, and those of us that didn't want Root opening from the beginning are reigniting those doubts. Rogers showed England how to play on this pitch; let's see can they apply the same patience.

  • on August 11, 2013, 12:01 GMT

    Poor quality cricket from both the sides, not really living up to the hype... This happened in the first match and again... Hopefully the rest of the match would see good bowling getting wickets rather than batsmen gifting their wickets

  • TommytuckerSaffa on August 11, 2013, 12:04 GMT

    Where are all the DRS detractors now? Where are you! Outstanding morning for technology of DRS reversing at least 3 criminal decisions. Thank you DRS.

  • Big_Maxy_Walker on August 11, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    Tony Hill needs a holiday. Has been a terrible umpire all series. But the problem is the choice is from only 4 umpires. As 8 of the 12 international umpires are from the two teams playing. And 1 of the 4 umpires has already been dropped. So that leaves only 1 other ump. Hill, Aleem Dar are in this match. Erasmus was dropped. Who is the 4th? Not Billy Bowden

  • Chris_Howard on August 11, 2013, 12:23 GMT

    @TommytuckerSaffa I don't think there's many DRS detractors here who are against the technology itself.

    We're just against the terrible handling of it in the first three Tests by the third umpire himself.

    Congrats to the third umpire this Test though coz he has done well.

  • TheBigBoodha on August 11, 2013, 12:32 GMT

    @R_U_4_REAL_NICK, a lead of 285? Are you kidding? Given that the higest score in the match is under 270, England won't need anywhere near that much. However this is a very two-faced pitch - varying from slow, placid, to pacy and unplayable. Basically the weather tomorrow will go a long way to determining the outcome. Today the track has flattened out again, minimal swing. Nice for England. Lyon might go well here.

  • righthandbat on August 11, 2013, 12:48 GMT

    Bell is more suited to opening than Root. They could swap places.

  • Shaggy076 on August 11, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    TommyTuckaSaffa; i have been a critic of the way DRS is set up and got to say the last couple of tests the captains are learning how to use it better and the umpires are interpreting it better (ie stay with umpire unless considerable proof). So Im starting to see the system work better, I do worry about captains using it as a tactic as its an umpires tool but if they continue to use it like they have in the last couple of tests then it looks good. Would like to find away where the umpires can use it themselves in the case of the Broad first test, Smith LBW in the third test so we get even more decisions right.

  • ClippedThroughMid-Wicket on August 11, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    gotta pull one of the bowlers and inject siddle, siddle will keep it much tighter...