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Friday, August 21, 2015

Better too late than never in this Ashes series as Warner & Rogers lay foundation for Smith: T5D1

Australia 3/287 (79.4ov, Warner 85/131b/11x4, Smith 78*/132b/1x6 9x4, Voges 47*/87/8x4, Rogers 43/100b/7x4) v England T5/5 D1/5 at The Oval, London. England won toss and sent Australia in to bat. England: unchanged; Australia: M Marsh, Siddle in, S Marsh, Hazlewood out.

David Warner and Chris Rogers hung on grittily until lunch against some sharp England bowling, especially (again) that of Stuart Broad who began with a 5-3-4-0 (initially 4-3-1-0) spell which tested the pair's judgment and resolve, but failed to part them.

0/82 at lunch in English conditions was English Test cricket at its best, and  not only because the openers had responded so well. I exhaled a sigh of relief as the players walked off, relieved that Australia hadn't imploded once more, but well aware that its brittle middle order needed, unless the Warner-Rogers stand went on and on, to show more than they'd done in most of tis series.

Well, it did (Michael Clarke's 15 excepted). After Rogers, and then Warner, fell Steve Smith stepped in, and up. He had his scratchy moments (and I'm not referring to his restlessness before facing the bowling) but he persevered and in time, as he got his eye in and took the measure of the home attack, flourished' leaving Australia, at the end of a day curtailed by bad light, comfortably placed to at least save the Test (which no Australian supporter would wish for) on with what looks (perhaps through rose tinted spectacles0 a half decent chance of winning the dead rubber.

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