After a rather exciting third day of the first Test at Trent Bridge, England piled on more misery for the visitors as they set a target of 311 for victory, helped by some more umpiring controversies.
It seems to me that Australia might have been psychologically affected after Broad-gate yesterday, so much so that they collapsed from a healthy 161/3 to 164/6 in the space of just 18 balls. Still, with debutant Ashton Agar and veteran wicket-keeper Brad Haddin at the crease, the team from Down Under does have a shot at chasing the target.
Here are the Heroes of the Day:
Peter Siddle (3/85 in 33.5 overs)
Aussie spearhead Peter Siddle followed up his five-wicket haul in the first innings with another three in the second, as he returned to polish off the tail.
Having dismissed Matt Prior the day before, Siddle removed the struggling Graeme Swann with a good-length delivery outside off, before getting rid of James Anderson with a full-length ball on middle stump, inducing a catch to short mid-wicket.
With eight wickets in the match, Siddle is definitely one of the few bright stars for Australia in this game.
Stuart Broad (65 runs off 148 balls – 7 fours; 2/34 in 16 overs)
After being the centerpiece of all the drama the day before, the blond-haired southpaw settled down to play a more conventional innings as he posted his 10th Test half-century in the second over of the day – an edge that was steered through the slips off James Pattinson.
He signed off with a boundary off Siddle, before finally edging Pattinson to the keeper and walking off without a fuss.
With the ball, the local boy removed the well-set Shane Watson and dismissed Australian captain Michael Clarke to leave the Kangaroos in deep trouble. If England are to wrap up this game quickly today, Broad will be one of their key bowlers to do so.
Chris Rogers (52 runs off 121 balls – 8 fours)
Playing in only his second Test match after a six-year hiatus, bespectacled Aussie opener Chris Rogers did everything correct until a brilliant piece of bowling from James Anderson ended his flourishing stay at the wicket.
Almost all the England bowlers were whacked for at least one boundary by the Victorian as he cruised on to his maiden Test half-century. He used the leg-side flick to perfection, but one shot too many eventually brought about his downfall – Ian Bell taking a relatively simple catch at short mid-wicket.
Nevertheless, his knock and partnership with Shane Watson gave the perfect start to the Aussie chase.
Shane Watson (46 runs off 74 balls – 8 fours)
The all-rounder bowled his heart out yesterday as he sent down 11 maiden overs in a 15-over spell, though being unable to pick a wicket.
With his side facing a stiff target of 311 in order to secure a win and go 1-0 up in the series, Watson came out all guns blazing as he took on the English bowlers. The highlight of his brief innings was a lovely drive through extra cover off James Anderson.
Like his opening partner, Watson also fell to the flick shot, as a length ball from Stuart Broad rapped him on the pads, and despite taking a review, he had to make the long walk back to the pavilion. It was a tame end to what could have been one of the greatest innings in Ashes history.
With six wickets down and another 137 runs to be scored, it is still anybody’s game. After a long time, I got to see a Test match that has gone into the fifth day in order to force a result. Agar is at the crease, and England will not breathe easy until he and Brad Haddin are both dismissed quickly tomorrow. Day 5 beckons!