Well, what to make of that?
England, I think, would probably have taken the position they are in at the end of this day. It’s not dominant, but it’s not disastrous either. The first thing that England needed to do was convince us, and themselves, that this opposition isn’t some sort of unrelenting tide of aggression and superior skills. This was a day that England found themselves three down early, recovered, and made 343/7. That’s not too bad at all.
It’s too tough to gauge really how things went while you are in the office and not able to watch. I got to see a little of the play after lunch, and I saw a pudding of a pitch and a team with positive intent. I like the latter. This is a team that needed to have a result for that attitude today. If they’d gone all guns blazing and been bowled out for 150, it would have been horrendous. And who knows what would have happened had Haddin held on to that catch from Root.
Joe Root was amazing, once over his let-off. He’s making a lovely habit of making hundreds regularly. They are usually very watchable, and his reliability is massively important.
I’m going to hand it over to you lot who have commented away and kept me informed all day. Did Australia bowl badly (I thought Johnson looked decidedly unthreatening when I watched and Starc appeared to be floating it up at too full a length too often) or did England wrest the intiative? What do you think about Ian Bell’s alarming lack of form? What was the coverage like? Who or what caught your eye?
I leave you with Martin Samuel. A man who makes me almost pine for Paul Newman:
And then there was Alastair Cook, the captain’s rhythm expertly broken not by Australia’s bowlers, but by the practice of knocking off for a round of refreshments every hour, no matter the weather.
This meant that on a chilly morning when most were regretting not packing a second jumper, rather than sun cream, spectators had to sit through the arrival of the drinks tray roughly 55 minutes in. Maybe they were dispensing hot toddies.
Cook had batted like a dream until then but lasted just two balls after the interlude, before clipping one to Brad Haddin off the bowling of Nathan Lyon. The distractions were proving as valuable as Australia’s bowlers, and Test cricket has plenty of them these days.