Monday, August 03, 2009
Long day's journey into night for Australia: T3 D4
Australia 263 and 2/88 (28 ov) trail England 376 (93.3 ov, A Flintoff 74, A Strauss 69, S Broad 55, I Bell 53, B Hilfenhaus 4/109) by 25 runs with 8 second innings wickets in hand. Ashes 09 T3D4 at Edgbaston.
It seemed like a long day after no play on D3 , an hour's delay at the start today and a late finish to compensate for some of the time lost. In fact 85.3 overs (less than the standard modern ration of 90) were bowled from which 344 runs were scored and 10 wickets taken.
Most significantly England are well on top.
Once again the Australian attack couldn't finish off the job it had started reasonably well. After converting the over(Friday & Saturday) night total of 2/116 to 5/168 (hon mentions to Andrew Strauss' 69 (134b/11x4) and Ian Bell's 53 (114b/7x4/1x6)) the wheels loosened, and some came off as Andrew Flintoff 74 (79b/10x4/1x6), Stuart Broad 55 (64b/9x4) and Matt Prior 41 (59b/6x4) took advantage of some modest bowling.
Ben Hilfenhaus persisted well until he flagged late in the innings, Nathan Hauritz was steady, Mitchell Johnson looked better than he's previously done in the series, yet Peter Siddle (3 wickets notwithstanding) was too often erratic and Shane Watson's 3-0-23-0 showed that no matter how much his batting has improved his bowling has not.
Australia have yet to wipe out the first innings deficit and have already lost two wickets: one of them Ricky Ponting bowled by a beautifully flighted and turning offspinner from Graeme Swann. Mike Hussey was almost out first ball when Graham Onions nearly caught a return catch: fortunately Swann subsequently gave him a few to boost his confidence. If Australia are to save the match - they've Buckley's chance of winning - he and Watson, who's looking assured, will need to wipe out the deficit and start to build a lead.
The last day will be, needless to say, mandatory viewing,