The Ashes 2015 – First Test, Day Three: Lions Still Hold the Whip Hand

Day 3 at Sophia Gardens

If you woke up this morning thinking Australia had taken charge of the game – then think again.

It was the home team that took charge with their enterprising attack on an Australian bowling line-up that fared much better than Day 1.

Going in to day 4 the visitors have to make a record fourth innings of 412 to take what has been an entertaining and enterprising game.

Walked to the game today via the city of Cardiff.  Mainly to buy some wholesome food to eat during the day.  Pleasantly surprised to get sandwiches for $1.95 each. Certainly beats those prices that I have whinged about. Noticed most of the people in the shops where compatriots of mine.

Walking to the ground on a delightful sunny day in Cardiff is equal to the walks in Melbourne and Adelaide.  In fact it might be better.

I started the walk at the Millennium Stadium and walked the boardwalk which is overhanging the river. Once you cross the main road you are in picturesque gardens with a variety of trees in full bloom.  Walking is the main way of getting to the ground as there is very little parking for cars.  When there are hundreds of people doing the same thing it creates quite a buzz.

Was puzzled by an advertising sign which read “Queensland meet Land of Our Fathers”.  Help please?

The Yorkshire Tea band entertained us once again as they done on all three days plus the luncheon break.

There are many shortcomings at the ground the most obvious is getting in.  There are only three entry points and they become very congested.

Most of the eating stalls are actually outside the ground. The powers that are in control close the adjoining street for a Test Match and just drop each of the eateries in. Quite a novel idea. But, as I continuously mention, the variety of food is appalling.  If you like stodge, well and good.

England continued to control the game and wheedled out the last 5 wickets for 43 runs.  Watson (31), by going lbw again gave his critics more ammunition and they have their pencils sharpened again.

“Salty” from Mowbray has great delight in coming down and telling me Richmond won. Played cricket with The Punter and is great mates with Flea.

With a substantial lead of 132 England went on the attack.  Full credit to them as they had dictated the play since the first day.  Full on attack would mean that they lost quick wickets, but fines knocks by Bell and Root (60 each) and Stokes (42) made sure the England would have a tough task for Australia by the end of the day.

Rain is forecast for the final 2 days and the home team wanted to make sure they were in a winning position by day’s end.

Australia bowled much better than on day one with good line and length, but still plenty of “pedwars” (fours) were hit.  Bell and Root both played some majestic shots.

To bowl England out for 289 was a good effort by Australia, although there were some injudicious shots from some of the English batsmen.  The fielding highlight was a magnificent catch by Captain Clarke off Lyon to dismiss Lyth (37) early in the innings.  Diving hard to his left there was no signs of a bad back as he grabbed the ball in his left-hand. Is his wife pregnant?

Talking of fielding, it is rare to see England outpointing Australia in this area. They have not made a mistake throughout the three days.

Nathan Lyon again was the best of the bowlers taking 4 wickets and in so doing became the first off- spinner to take 150 wickets for his team. I am sure that there are still pundits out there who say he can’t play.

My new friends from WA are pondering whether to watch the battle of the birds today or come straight to the cricket. They suggest I should do the same.  I have no doubt they will take the former and give me a running commentary if the Eagles win.

There now seems to be a more attacking attitude amongst captains world wide and Captains Cook and Clarke should be congratulated.

Day 4 looms as an intriguing day.  Will the Aussies get the runs? Will they get them today?  Or will the Poms, backed up by the voices of Wales, take all before them?

Can only wait and see.  Must go and buy my sandwiches now.

About Bob Utber

At 75 years of age, ‘Citrus Bob’ Utber is doing what he wanted to do as a 14-year old: writing, talking and watching sport. How good is that!?!

He lives in Mildura with his wife and ‘furry kids’; a labradoodle “Freddy Flintoff” and a groodle named “Chloe on Flinders”.

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