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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Smith 215 propels Australia forward. then bowlers make inroads into England batting: T2D2

England 4/85 (29 Ov, Stokes 38*, Cook 21*'Johnson 2/16) trail Australia 8/566 dec (149Ov, Smith 215/346b/1x6 25x4, Rogers 173/300b/28x4, Nevill 45/59b/5x4, Warner 38, Broad 27-5-83-4,Root 2/55) by 481 with 6 2nd inns wkts in hand: T2/5 D2/5 at Lord's.

The first ball of the day's play, bowled by Jimmy Anderson, struck Chris Rogers on the helmet. After receiving attention on the field he continued, but only added 15 before Stuart Broad bowled him: 2/362 Thereafter Steven Smith continued to stamp his mark on the Test, rarely looking in much trouble as he moved to a double century. He was given reasonable support by his teammates, except for Michael Clarke who made a scratchy 7/32b, but who would have been delighted by his team's performance' which enabled him to declare just after tea. Then his quick bowlers tore into the top of the England order taking 4/30 before Ben Stokes counterattacked with 38*/50b/1x6 5x4, while Alistair Cook 21*/85b/3x4 held his end up until stumps.

11 wickets for 314 in the day suggested that the piytch was not the flat track demonised by many after day 1. Broad, once again England,s best bowler,bent his back and showed what was possible; then Mitchells Starc and Johnson and Josh Hazlewood indivually surpassed him, scything through Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell and the prize scalp (although somewhat casually offered up on this occasion) of Joe Root.

The Australians bowled better than at Cardiff. They bowled more accurately and were rewarded for doing so. They would of course have been grateful to Smith for giving them such a huge total to bowl at, not to mention the extra time off the field.

Smith's innings was masterly. It was amusing to hear some English commentators on TV and radio trying to explain his huge score. They acknowledged his big innings at home but some of them have erred by assumimg that his double failure at Lord's in 2013 - 2 &1 - and modest returns at Cardiff a week ago were evidence that England's bowlers have his measaure. Those misjudgments can now be consigned to the dustbin of cricket history.

Wary of making misjudgments of my own as I am, I won't go too far out on a limb and predict a swift or large (or both) Australian victory. But at the moment a victory of some sort for them looks likely.

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