England v Australia, 5th Investec Test, The Oval, 1st day August 21, 2013

Watson takes it firmly in the neck

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the first day at The Oval

Blow of the day 1
Stuart Broad troubled Michael Clarke with bouncers but it was Shane Watson who suffered the most painful blow during Broad's challenging post-lunch spell. Watson initially wanted to hook the ball but turned away when it became apparent the pace was too much, and as a result copped a fearsome blow on the left side of his neck, just below the helmet. Watson whipped his helmet off and kneeled on the ground with his head down, clearly in significant pain. After some attention from the team physio Alex Kountouris and doctor Peter Brukner, Watson was able to bat on, though with what appeared to be some pain-killing medication.

Spin of the day
The selection of Simon Kerrigan alongside Graeme Swann meant England included two specialist spinners in their side for the first time in a home Test since the Cardiff 2009. On that occasion Monty Panesar was Swann's partner. The previous time that England had included two specialist spinners in an Oval Test was in 1996, when Ian Salisbury and Robert Croft claimed combined match figures of 3 for 141 against Pakistan.

Drop of the day
Watson had scored 104 when he came half forward to a delivery from James Anderson that bounced a little more than anticipated and took the edge of his bat. But Alastair Cook, a much improved slip fielder in recent months, was unable to cling on to the relatively straightforward chance and Watson was able to progress to his highest Test score and build his side a formidable platform.

Blow of the day 2
Michael Clarke has been unsettled by Stuart Broad throughout the series. Perhaps as a result of his back injury, he has struggled to play the short ball, in particular, and as a result has sometimes appeared hesitant to come forward as quickly as he might have done in the past. Here he was fortunate to survive a bounce when he had scored just 1. Taking his eye off the ball, flinching and holding the bat up in front of his face, he was lucky to see the ball hit the handle and fall just out of the reach of Ian Bell at short-leg. It was another false shot for such an accomplished batsman and the reflection of some well-directed pace bowling from Broad.

Stage fright of the day
Kerrigan endured a chastening start to his Test career. With Watson in fine form and determined to attack, Kerrigan conceded six boundaries in his opening two overs including a second over that cost 18. Suffering painfully from nerves and a lack of confidence, the nadir of Kerrigan's opening day came when he produced a horrid, head-high full toss that was pulled to the boundary with dismissive contempt by Steve Smith.

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  • Cameron on August 22, 2013, 12:34 GMT

    @Vinay Kolhatkar, posting the same comment everywhere doesn't change the fact he scored 176 and was never on 10. He went from 8-12 with a 4. I didn't think any of the LBW decisions were close really, good umpiring. I don'tthink marginal LBWs are good for the game. @Pankaj I don't think either team is great but to call them pathetic is a bit harsh.

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2013, 10:39 GMT

    "Posted by on (August 22, 2013, 5:25 GMT) These two pathetic sides will be whipped by SA and India"

    Yep, India gave England a 4-0 thrashing last time around.

    Oh, wait...

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2013, 9:57 GMT

    Oh no. Aus turned into nz! One hundred and a player we be in the team for the next 2 years. Pull your head in guys lets get some fresh faces in there.

  • The on August 22, 2013, 6:13 GMT

    @Vinay Kolhatkar Watson was never on 10, he hit a 4 to go from 8 to 12. There was an umpire's call snicking leg stump when he was on 4 but it was correctly given not out as too close to call, and he's been on the wrong end of plenty of those this series.

  • John on August 22, 2013, 6:03 GMT

    @ToTellUTheTruth on (August 21, 2013, 23:27 GMT), Kerrigan had a shocker, no doubt, but do you realistically believe that he would have been selected in the first place if that was the way he usually bowled? He got a terrible case of stage fright. If he can get over it and bowl at Test level as well as he has done domestically then he should be successful. If he can't then he won't. It's now a question of whether he gets another chance any time soon after this game to prove that he can perform. England would be loathe to take him to Australia if they thought that he might have to step in for an injured Swann and might bowl like that again.

  • John on August 22, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    @Vinay Kolhatkar on (August 22, 2013, 0:17 GMT), Australia certainly had a bit more luck with LBWs this time around. Watson was more out this time than he was at Durham but it was close enough in both cases that you can't really fault the umpire for calling either of them either way. I saw another replay of his dismissal in Durham and I'm quite sure that the reason the umpire gave it out is the fact that it looked like Watson's leg stump was exposed. That only happened after the ball hit the pad though, because Watson was falling across so much. It's one of those where the umpire only has a spit second to make his judgement and it legitimately appeared more out than it was. Australia could learn something from the fact that England didn't review this latest decision against Watson or the even closer one against Rogers earlier. They weren't completely sure so they didn't review. If you gamble then you deserve what you get, e.g. Broad not out caught at slip and no reviews left.

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2013, 5:25 GMT

    These two pathetic sides will be whipped by SA and India

  • John on August 22, 2013, 4:00 GMT

    The funny thing about Watson getting hit is that, if he had been able to overcome the human reflex to flinch, he could have just let the ball hit the grille of his helmet and suffered no real ill effects. Batsmen turn their head and put their hands up when they'd be far better just letting the grille do its job. Easier said than done though, as it's pure reflex.

  • John on August 22, 2013, 3:57 GMT

    Cook's drop of Watson was a big moment. Australia would have been 151/4 with two new men at the crease and keeping them below 300 was a realistic possibility. That would have pretty much made it England's session but, instead, honours were pretty much shared with Australia well on top in the other two. England would have been very happy if they could have kept Australia to 300-350 but anything under 450 looks like a real challenge now. They must bowl well while the second new ball still has some shine. Hopefully Woakes at least will look better on day 2 and we probably won't see Kerrigan again until later in the day, if the innings lasts that long.

  • Dummy4 on August 22, 2013, 0:17 GMT

    Forget the post-lunch spell. Watson was out lbw when on 10, given not out, and the rest as they say, is history.

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