Third Test – Day 2: Video Killed the Walkabout Star

England 2/52 (Cook 36*, Trott 2*, Siddle 2-7) trail Australia 7/527 dec (Clarke 187, Smith 89, Rogers 84, Starc 66*, Haddin 65*, Swann 5-159) by 475 runs

 

The TV depicts a glorious day at Old Trafford. The sunshine and vibrant crowd remind me of my own visit to the ‘Theatre of Creams’ , to take in days 1 and 2 of the Third Test of the 2005 series. I was fortunate enough to see Warne take his 600th, and Vaughan make a determined century. Now it’s 8 years later and they’re both in the commentary box, and I’m on the couch.

The partnership of Clarke and Smith had served Australia well late on day 1 and in this first hour of play, there doesn’t seem to be much danger about. To my untrained eye, it seems England are stacking the offside field and trying not to bowl on the pads. This results in a lot of shots to the fielders and not many run scored. It’s reasonably dull, but after the last couple of matches, I’ll take dull.

Just before drinks, there is a bit of excitement as Clarke tries to take on Bresnan, and nearly gives his wicket away as a result. In the commentary box, Strauss notes that Bresnan often gets wickets due to the fact that batsman try shots against him that they wouldn’t try against others. I have a single friend who is about 5ft 5in and has a sharp tongue. His approach to meeting the opposite sex is remarkably similar.

Swann comes on after the drinks break, and Smith gives his wicket away. In isolation, it is a ridiculous shot, but he had nearly given a bat-pad chance a few balls earlier and he had been struggling to get into a rhythm all morning.

Unfortunately, the warm applause he should have received while making his way off the ground was drowned out by the arrival of Walkabout Warner. His combination of public enemy #1 and renowned swashbuckler has everyone falling over themselves to capture the moment. As usual, SK Warne senses this and drops more ‘Root’ lines during the commentary box than is probably required.

Having only reached 5, Warner defends a ball from Swann which turns sharply and heads to first slip via a clip of the keeper. From my couch it looks like he’s hit it, by Davo is adamant that’s not the case. Before he gives the review signal, he checks with the skipper…

Warner: “Mate, I didn’t hit it. No way. My bat hit my pad. That’s the noise”

Clarke: “You sure about that? Looked out from here”

Warner: “Definitely”

Clarke: “Well, let’s see, you’ve got in a blue before the series that ended up getting the coach sacked. That coach has now sued Cricket Australia for a couple of million. You’ve been banned for two matches, but still hung around for the first test to show off your new mo. Then you went to South Africa, made runs and you’re back again. You’ve been booed out here, have been copping it all over place, the poms are in your ear, you’re pumped up, you’re proud and it looks like you’re going to be out after only 10 minutes. Now you’re telling me, after I’ve told you it looks out, that you haven’t hit it and you want to burn a review on it?”

Warner: “Yep”

Clarke: “…….Righto. Whatever. I’ll just have to make a few more then”

He smashed it. He’s out.

By now Clarke has passed 150 and is well on his way to a double hundred. Whilst he’s given the occasional chance, it’s been the innings that we’ve needed. The captain is our only batsman capable of a big test score and he has delivered.

But alas, he doesn’t get to 200. Broad has hardly fired a shot all innings, but he produces a fine effort which cramps Clarke for room and the ball bounces back onto the stumps. The bowler just stands there smugly. I tell you what, he may have learned to ‘harden up’ in Hoppers Crossing, but Broad wouldn’t have wanted to pull a face like that down at Hogans Road after dark. 200 test wickets though. Not a bad effort.

With Siddle following soon after, there was a large concern that the Aussies would not get a good enough score to really put some pressure on the home side. Thankfully, some clean hitting from Haddin and another 50 from Starc gave the Aussies a total of over 500. Say what you like about a flat track and good conditions, that effort seemed a world away just two weeks ago.

After Clarke called a change of innings, Cook and Root set about their innings with minimal intention to score. Given the advantage that England hold in the series and in overall experience and talent, I’ve been surprised at how they’ve been happy to revert to their cynical, dour selves when the opportunity arises. By avoiding extra bowling overs before lunch, setting defensive fields early in the piece and batting for the time, they don’t seem to have the killer attitude that defined our Waugh era. Mind you, they’ve been getting results so far so who am I to question?

Either way, it was wonderful to see Nathan Lyon bowling well and showing his character (again) and to see Siddle throw everything into his final overs (again) to knock over Root and the nightwatchman Bresnan.

Bresnan wasn’t actually out, but he decided not to review. Yep, he knows where he sits in the scheme of things.

17 wickets to go.

About Andrew Else

Andrew has self-reported to this site as a lifetime Essendon supporter. He also played local footy for Lara and Melbourne Uni Blacks.

Comments

  1. Loved your take on Warner’s “thought” processes, Andrew. Warner and Watto remind me of the Monty Python sketch “Spot the Brain Cell”.

  2. Luke Reynolds says:

    Great stuff Andrew. A ton just thrown away by Smith. Thoroughly enjoyed us being on top for two days in a row. Big chance for Lyon to do well on a pitch that will assist him, Siddle always bowls well in these type of conditions. Bring it on.

  3. Andrew. You’ve nailed the Poms’ attitude here. They hit the front and protect the lead. No thought for playing a good game for the audience and crowd. No thought for entertaing, aggressive cricket. That’s why the Aussies are still a rough chance.

  4. Andrew Starkie says:

    Should win from here if they’re any good. And if it doesn’t rain and Cook and Trott don’t bore us to death. Still think we need a second spinner on this track. F-king, Come on Aussies! I am beside my self with excitement.

  5. John Butler says:

    Nice work AE.

    I think Smith was just doing what Smith does when he got out. He’s improved, but he still plays with the air of bit-part player rather than leading man. He’d ridden his luck to get that far.

    Personally, I think you defy the weight of evidence to suggest Warner has a thought process – satirical or otherwise.

    The Poms are no world beaters, but can we sustain the effort?

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