Third Test – Day 4: Bad light? No, bad decision

Australia 7/527 dec. & 7/172 (DA Warner 41, MJ Clarke 30*, TT Bresnan 2/25, JM Anderson 2/37) v England 368 (KP Pieterson 113, PM Siddle 4/63)

Australia lead by 331 runs


Once again Test cricket has shot itself in the foot with its archaic rulings. Despite the floodlights being on and the batting team’s captain at the wicket and desperate to bat on, umpires Marais Erasmus and Tony Hill, as is their right, made a judgement that the light was too poor to continue and took the players from the field. While the rain eventually came, that decision cost the Australians at least half an hour and makes the job of winning this Test and staying in the series much harder. Even the crowd in attendance booed the decision to walk off, the only ones happy would have been Alistair Cook and his men who with their slow over rates are already in playing-for-a-draw mode.

England resumed on Day 4 at 7/294, still needing 34 runs to avoid the follow on. Prior and Broad had little trouble in reaching this target and not long after Broad edged Lyon to Haddin and decided he was a walker after all and promptly took off to the pavilion.  SCJ Broad is as genuine as a Zimbabwean election. Walking then showed signs it may be contagious as Broad’s Nottinghamshire mate Graeme Swann was also afflicted with the condition after edging Siddle through to Haddin. After successfully farming the strike Prior was the final English wicket to fall, the Poms 159 behind on the 1st innings. Siddle’s great series continues, taking 4/63 and further justifying his world number 5 Test bowling ranking. Lyon bowled tightly but without penetration, he has quickened his action and pace of his deliveries, no doubt to counter players like Pieterson and Bell who are quick to use their feet. The trade off is that he looks far less likely to take wickets. A big career day ahead on Day 5 for the off-spinner.

In another attacking (presumably) Lehmann move, Warner is elevated to open alongside Rogers as the Australians chase quick runs. The New South Welshman looks much more comfortable against the new ball than starting against spin like he did in the first dig. He bats well until pulling a short Bresnan delivery straight to Joe Root of all people at deep mid wicket. Despite losing regular wickets the Aussie batsmen score at nearly 5 an over. Khawaja bats brightly until being bowled around his legs by Swann, Smith hits a couple of cracking straight drives until running himself out, Watson and Haddin get out playing very ordinary but understandable shots given the situation of the match. At least Watto was actually playing for the team and not himself this time.

7/172 when the players are taken from the field, Clarke on 30 and Harris yet to score. The forecast for Manchester on Monday is 18 and rain. If the rain holds off it appears likely Australia will bowl straight away. England will be playing out time as all they need is a draw to retain the Ashes. Time for Lyon to toss the ball up, give it a rip and try and take some wickets. Or he will end up on the scrapheap like Dan Cullen and Nathan Hauritz who both started out just like Lyon did, bowling well flighted, turning off breaks. And finished bowling like Lyon does now.

About Luke Reynolds

Cricket and Collingwood tragic. Twitter: @crackers134


  1. Good call, Luke. I have gone to bed angry twice this Test. I turned off in frustration after the Khawaja dismissal and again last night over the lunatic umpire’s bad light call. Who was in danger – the fieldsmen or the bowler’s average? Clarke might have declared and got in a few overs of Lyon and Watson. I thought entertainment and a result were supposed to be the goals of sport. Not cricket apparently.
    ICC, IPL, DRS, BCCI – I’m just over all of it.
    I know I only watch the game out of habit, and out of a desperate hope that something entertaining might happen. A lot of waiting in the expectation of what?
    An Agar moment every tenth game? When its good its very good, but most of the time its crap to mediocre.
    I got home Saturday night and watched 10 minutes hoping for something to happen and then switched over to the Rockwiz episode we had taped. Much more reliably entertaining. I missed Petersen’s dismissal but not much else. Much of cricket is just waiting in the hope that something interesting may happen. Like a lot of European films.
    Watching cricket is just a culturally ingrained excuse to drink beer. Watching the Ashes is an excuse to drink red wine. Nowadays I don’t need an excuse so I may as well have something entertaining as accompaniment.
    Soccer will be bigger than cricket as our summer sport in 10 years time.
    Baseball offers better career prospects with similar skills. There are 7 Australians on major league rosters, and many more on their farm teams.
    Vale’ cricket.

  2. Peter Flynn says

    Thanks Luke,

    I reckon Clarke ran Smith out.

    There was an easy two there.

    Clarke dawdled the first with his back turned.

    Lyon’s problem is one of homogeneity in pace, flight and length.

    Broad was just havin’ a laugh.

  3. “Homogeneity in pace, flight and length”??? Geez Flynny what happened too ‘tossing up the same old tripe’.
    Are you looking for a gig on TMS?

  4. Thanks Luke, I didn’t see much of it last night.

    The Poms are playing for a draw whilst leading the series 2-0. Phewk. If they had a go and got stuck into the game they were still a chance to win themselves (given the Aussie’s fragile batting). No one should ever back the Poms to win a series 5-0. It just isn’t in them.

  5. While I am giving cricket a spray, what about this home pitches crap. I know it is something of a tradition, but remember when Sheeds would leave the sprinklers on overnight and tie down the windsock at Windy Hill. We thought of that as an aberration but its de rigeur in Test Cricket. India having low slow wickets is one thing, but crumbling heaps from Day 1.
    I don’t mind ‘traditional wickets’ that reflect a country’s climate and conditions, but can’t the Poms beat us with Anderson, Broad and Bresnan etal on wickets with some grass?
    To me it just shows how much the lunatics run the asylum in world cricket, and we are just Pavlov’s Dogs slavering over whatever crap they dish up.

  6. Peter Flynn says

    Good call PB.

    I’ve been Baulderstoned.



  7. Flynny,
    Thanks for the nod. As the Almanac’s cricket doyen but also a lover of golf, AFL etc do you reckon cricket has long term legs or are we just habituated to it from childhood?

  8. Andrew Starkie says

    Peter, there’s always a place for Test cricket. When it’ good it’s the best of all sports. When it’s bad, it’s bad, I suppose.

    Some really good calls here Luke. Intelligent observations from someone who knows what;s he’s talking about. Well done.

    Weather will bet Aussies. It’s a bloody shame. Do you think we needed a second spinner? Also, if Clarke had referred KP’s LBW when on 60, things could’ve been different.

    Rain, rain, go away.

  9. PB – Anderson is a front runner. He plays like a Carlton half forward flanker in their heyday; flashy and neat and well groomed, until it gets hard. The Poms know they can’t rely on him when the going gets tough so they doctor the pitches to be safe.

    See how he’s sulked and scowled around the ground in this Test as he has zero impact. They should send him to bed without dinner.

  10. Andrew Starkie says

    Dips. loving your work during this series. Such anger. Love it. Spot on about Anderson. Big sook. A bully when things going well. Drops his head when they aren’t. Same as Broad. They laugh at Aussie batsmen when they come out to bat or play and miss. But can’t take it when returned. Keep it up Dips.

  11. AS – I’m loving the outlet too!

    George Costanza

  12. Luke Reynolds says

    Peter B, we are culturally ingrained to watch cricket. The administrators are pushing T20 onto us all to attract a younger market while at the same time alienating the traditional fan. Games that mean something are still engrossing to watch, no matter the length. I also never miss a Rockwiz episode, always reliably entertaining.

    Flynny you are right, though Smith wasn’t watching Clarke.

    Dips/George the playing for a draw mentality is something the Poms cant quite shake.

    Andrew sounds like the weather will beat us, from all reports it has rained most of the night in Manchester. Don’t know if playing 2 spinners would have helped us much given our spin artillery currently over there. I think we are lucky England didn’t play Panesar, he would have been much harder to handle on that pitch than Anderson, Broad and Bresnan.

  13. Andrew Starkie says

    yep, thought monty was going to play

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