Ashes 2013: 1st Test, Day 4 – Flops of the Day

The fourth day was as dramatic as the previous one, what with all the hullabaloo surrounding Broad’s decision to not walk. Australia got quite a few things wrong, especially after getting a good start in the chase of a stiff target of 311 to win the game.

Inexperience and nerves might have led to more than half the side cooling their heels in the pavilion, with over a hundred runs yet to be made for victory. I can only hope they show enough fight in order to at least get close to the target.

Here are the Flops of the Day:

Ed Cowan (14 runs off 43 balls – 3 fours)

Ed Cowan

I still don’t understand why Ed Cowan should even be in the line-up. He flopped in the first innings as well, and here, he had a golden chance to establish himself at the No.3 slot. Instead, he flattered to deceive, scoring three boundaries before playing a needless drive and edging the ball to Jonathan Trott at first slip.

It’s bad enough that he threw his wicket away, but what makes it worse was that the bowler in question was Joe Root, a part-timer of all people. Cowan will be hugely disappointed with this.

Michael Clarke (23 runs off 70 balls – 3 fours)

Michael Clarke

The Australian captain has had the worst game so far, with just 23 runs in the match. He did hit a few boundaries, but Australia needed him to play a long innings to anchor the chase.

Clarke still hasn’t understood the nuances of using the review system, and he wasted another one after Broad produced the thinnest of edges off the skipper’s bat. Coach Darren Lehmann has plenty of work to do in order to bring his boys – including his former teammate – back on track as soon as possible. Not good, Pup!

Steve Smith (17 runs off 48 balls – 2 fours)

Steve Smith

Young Steve Smith was unable to replicate his first-innings heroics as he, too, fell after looking set to score big. And in the process, he became the third Australian batsman to be dismissed playing the flick.

Prior to that, Smith struck a couple of well-timed fours off Anderson and Broad – the highlight being a short, wide delivery outside off that was stylishly caressed through covers. It took a loopy off-spinner from Graeme Swann to remove the young all-rounder, thus snuffing out the brief fightback mounted by the Kangaroos.

Phil Hughes (1 catch; 0 runs off 8 balls)

Phil Hughes

His unbeaten 81 in the first innings now seems to be a long-forgotten illusion for the Australians. After taking a good catch to end England’s second innings, and walking in when his side were tottering at 161/5, Phil Hughes was tasked with helping to bail the side out once again.

But Swann had other ideas, and he trapped the left-hander plumb in front with another looping off-spinner. DRS rescued England once again with Alastair Cook opting for the review immediately after the umpire turned it down. Despite hi knock in the first innings, Hughes may have to cool his heels in the dressing room for the next Test if Lehmann intends to make drastic changes if Australia lose.

Kumar Dharmasena

Kumar Dharmasena

The former SL off-spinner has made one horrendous decision after another since he became an umpire after retiring from international cricket. After Aleem Dar’s “Broad” mistake yesterday, everyone hoped some semblance of normalcy would return with Dharmasena at the helm, but the Sri Lankan had other ideas.

How on earth can he turn down an appeal for lbw when it was clearly obvious that Swann’s delivery would have clipped the top of Phil Hughes’s leg-stump? Not only in this game, Dharmasena has also rankled the Indian team in the past with some ridiculous decisions. Time for a serious umpiring revamp, I think.

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