Monday, August 12, 2013

Bell Tolls for Australia

A finely balanced test match swung back ever so slightly in England's favour yesterday as a fine century from Ian Bell gave England a lead of just over 200 with 5 wickets remaining. It has become rather a cliche but again the first hour this morning will be critical just as it was yesterday with England dismissing the Australian lower order cheaply. Australia need to return the favour today.

England's top order showed far more intent than in the first innings but again it was again blown away. A superb delivery from Ryan Harris took Joe Root's top stump and Cook uncharacteristically flashed at a wide one getting himself out poorly in much the same way that Clarke did in the first innings.

Australia clearly have a plan for Jonathan Trott and they executed it again well yesterday tempting him into gloving a very high bouncer that he simply didn't need to play. He had been going well until that point.

England have never looked better in this series with the bat than when Bell and Pietersen have been at the crease together and again they led the counter-attack with England in deep trouble. Whilst Bell merely continued serenely on, KP changed his game plan to Nathan Lyon and appeared to be well set before getting a leading edge as he attempted to work everything to the onside.

Johnny Bairstow showed much intent but again got out and remains desperately short of runs along with Joe Root, his huge innings at Lords aside.

England again inexplicably persisted with a nightwatchman, this time the No8 batsmen acting as the nightwatchman for the No7 batsman - make of that what you will - but they appear to be in a handy position if they can bat until at least lunch.

Australia however will be firmly fancying their chances also as the pitch appears to be holding up not too badly and we are after all today only on day 4. If they can chase less than 250 then they will probably be favourites. The first hour has not gone well for the batsmen on any day of this test and given Australia will be avoiding it today with the bat and enjoying it with the ball things may well yet swing back their way - No Nonsense.