Brad Haddin sees the ball a bit late. He dives as quick as he can. It's reckless and desperate, he overruns the ball, twists in mid air and then crashes to the ground clutching at the ball. The ball hits the ground, and Haddin instinctively grabs at it again. Shane Watson says oh. Michael Clarke looks confused. Mitchell Starc grabs at his head.
Brad Haddin fixes his pads, shrugs about whether it was even a catch or a bump ball and gets up. Australia don't know it, but that is their last chance in the first Test.
Chris Rogers swings at one he shouldn't, the ball flies over slips in a way that it won't again that day. Rogers is squared up by a ball he thought was going down leg, but he almost scoops up on the offside. Warner leaves the ball, off the middle of his bat; it goes straight to Buttler, after it bounces. Rogers leaves the ball off his bat as well. Warner plays and misses. Rogers plays and misses. Warner playes and misses. Rogers plays and misses.
Then Warner stands still in his crease, he blocks the ball through covers, it flies. He barely moves. In the same over he's screaming "Come on!" at missing another boundary. Next over, from the Pavilion End, Warner starts down on one knee, whamming a Moeen Ali full toss over midwicket, slogging another one there, and then, with ten already from the over, he tries to triple dip and is caught at mid off.
There would only be one more chance for a wicket on that day.
Steve Smith and Chris Rogers found themselves on the same flat pitch that David Warner did. They sought endless accumulation; he sought instant gratification. There are pitches that Australia struggle on; there seem to be no pitches that Steve Smith struggles on. Chris Rogers has this pitch tattooed on his memory. He probably only feels truly at home when standing on the slope.
They both batted like men who weren't planning on going anywhere. When Stuart Broad was on, they kept him out, when the rest bowled, they scored. It was an entire day of batting in such a way that it looked like it would never end. Smith danced down the wicket when he wanted to, Rogers late cut like a single purpose automaton. They moved past milestones like the members ate pork pies - with gusto. They made almost as many runs as the MCC made pounds over the bars. It was the perfect batting, on a pitch made to order, from a top order which needed to step up.
The next day, Rogers leaves, but Smith stays. While Broad is at his best, Smith handles him, when a poor ball is bowled, he smokes it. Strange bowling tactics are tried to him but he doesn't seem to notice. Strange fields are set, and he just finds new places to score. If he has to flick a length ball outside off stump fine of deep backward square, he does.
There is something supernatural and inhuman about his whole innings.
But he and his late-cutting friend were the only two Australian batsmen to score more than 50. An Australian batting line up that is prone to collapses made over half its runs from one partnership. The other nine players managed 178 between them. Clarke looked uncomfortable for all of his 32 balls and seven runs. Voges was worked over by Broad. Marsh was undone by variable bounce and an angled bat. Nevill looked good, before moving it on a bit, largely off Root. Australia made 566, Rogers and Smith put on 284. Had their partnership been broken, Australia would not have made it to 566. Without that panic-inducing pile of runs, England might not have batted the same way.
Adam Lyth might not have pushed at a wide, swinging ball that he had no business being involved with. Australia might not have screamed in delight. Gary Ballance would not have been able to show his weakness to the super full swinging ball. Australia might not have cackled with glee. Ian Bell's mind might have pushed straight to a beautiful swinging ball. Australia might not have howled in unison. Joe Root might not have forced himself at a straight ball so recklessly. And Australia might not have taken four wickets.
In less than an hour England produced a cacophony of cack with the bat and Australia ignored the surface and swung it.
Smith has already edged wide of slip. Bell flung himself at it, in vain. There was no third slip. Now Cook has him in. Ben Stokes is having his best spell of the match. Smith walks into a drive, but Stokes takes his edge. The ball loops to Bell. It is low, but it is very close to regulation. The ball goes through his hands, low to the ground. Bell looks down to see where it has gone, it's behind him. Cook dives behind him in desperation to save the boundary. Stokes bends over at the waist. His hands cover his face.
Bell looks back at Cook, then at his hands. England don't know it, but that is their last chance in the second Test.