It was another fruitless day in the field for the beleaguered Australians after collapsing for 128 in their first innings. None of the bowlers managed to make any significant in-roads into the English line-up, especially after Siddle’s triple strike gave them some advantage going into the third day.
Joe Root’s marathon knock also did not help matters as the lead has now swelled to 566 runs. Tough times for the Kangaroos. They are going to have to make a superhuman effort if they want to save this game from slipping away from their grasp completely.
Here are the Flops for the Day:
Steve Smith (1/65 in 14 overs)
After he took three quick wickets to peg back England’s charge on the first day, Australia would have expected the Sydney all-rounder to break a blossoming partnership between Root and Bell as soon as he was brought into the attack. He eventually did manage to get the latter out with a rather poor delivery, but not before being taken to the cleaners.
Root, in particular, was severe on the leg-spinner, tonking two massive sixes in one over. If he continues bowling long hops and full tosses, Australia may well have to chase 700 for a win. Poor bowling!
Ashton Agar (0/89 in 27 overs)
The 19-year-old left-arm spinner has been highly ineffective in this match. Both Root and Bell played him with ease, even scoring boundaries off his bowling at will. Agar is a capable batsman, as was evident in the first Test, but Australia need him to fire as a bowler too.
If he keeps continuing to be profligate, Australia may have to bring back off-spinner Nathan Lyon for the remaining games. Unimpressive bowling doesn’t inspire your side to great heights, Mr. Agar.
Peter Siddle (3/65 in 21 overs)
Having delivered a triple blow to England on the second day, much was expected of the Victorian pacer on the third. But his swing, pace and venom seemed to have deserted him at the most inopportune time. Two streaky boundaries from Bresnan set the tone for the rest of the day, as the other English batsmen played him with gay abandon – particularly the enterprising Joe Root.
With Ryan Harris and James Pattinson also struggling to make an impact, much was expected of Siddle since he is the most experienced bowler in the Australian side at the moment. But he simply had an off-day, to be honest.
Tony Hill’s Debatable Decision
In the 69th over of the England innings, Ian Bell attempted to defend a short-pitched delivery from Ryan Harris that had a bit of an extra bounce in it. The ball took the outside half of the bat and flew to gully where Steve Smith plucked it inches off the ground – at least that’s what it looked like to the fielders. But after having the matter referred to him, third umpire Tony Hill watched a few replays and decided that the ball had in fact touched the grass before plopping into Smith’s hands. Bell survived and went on to score 74.
Tough call for Australia, and a somewhat dubious decision from umpire Hill; it only compounded the fielding side’s misery even more.
There is no sure hope of victory yet for the English, even with a healthy lead of 566 and Joe Root looking good for his maiden Test double century. But Australia are completely demoralized, and they just seemed to be going through the motions towards the end of the day’s play.
Whatever be the outcome, Day 4 promises to bring some more action and excitement to the second Test. On to Sunday afternoon then!