And what a day!
Perhaps 307-8 was not that bad a first day’s total after all? At lunchtime, it didn’t look too good, with Australia on 61-0 after an England innings of 332. While the England attack had been on target (with the odd LBW decision not given) and fairly frugal, Watson and Katich were looking fairly solid.
A spot of rain to give an extended break and a shortened afternoon session, and suddenly everything changed. First Broad and then Swann came in to bowl, and each of them took a wicket in their first over, followed by more in quick succession.
Broad’s first four wickets fell in his first five overs at the crease, and for under 20 runs, which was phenomenal. It took him only four more overs (at a cost of 5 runs) to get his five-for.
Swann came in during this period, and got a wicket in each of his first two overs, followed by two over the next five overs, again for around 20 runs.
By tea, the Aussies had lost 8 wickets and had added only 72 runs in the session and just avoided a possible follow-on. Siddle held out for a while at the end, but by the time Flintoff took the last wicket, the Aussies were in serious trouble.
England’s second innings has not, however, started too well. Cook, Bell and Collingwood all fell cheaply, leaving England on 58/3. However, Strauss and Trott are the night watchmen, and hopefully they can calm things down tomorrow.
With the way that the pitch is crumbling, it may not need much of a cushion for England to get a win, but it would be good if they could get a solid 200-250 runs to put the game well beyond Australia’s reach.
And unlike four years ago, we don’t want any rain!