Day 2 at The Oval had me feeling like an excited child! A day sitting in the Pavilion, albeit in the shade! I still have to pinch myself when I find myself in such places, I am easily pleased! (A warning – the photos are a bit all over the place – that’ll teach me for having 2 folders for the same day!)
After a slow first day Australia were looking to build on their runs total, Steve Smith and Adam Voges arrived to carry on where they’d left off.
Voges had been under pressure having failed to make an impression with the bat, until he made 51 not out at Trent Bridge to help give an air of respectability to the Australian performance. Steve Smith had been swapping the No 1 batsman in the world rankings with Joe Root and AB de Villiers all summer.
Both men were in determined mood and it has to be said the English bowlers in common with Day 1 seemed to be doing nothing with the ball. Both men took full advantage and continued to give a batting masterclass.
I’m 100% an England fan but I confess I was happy to see the Australians do what the world knows they can.
England needed a breakthrough and Ben Stokes was the man to break what was becoming a deadlock – he claimed the wicket of Voges LBW, he’d made a creditable 76. Australia had moved from 186 for 3 to 332 for 4!
The next 3 wickets however fell with only 42 runs added to the score, with Mitch Marsh out for 3, Peter Nevill 18 and pantomime villain Mitch Johnson for a duck! With Moeen Ali despatching Nevill and Johnson in the same over.
At 376 for 7 things didn’t feel disastrous for England and it looked like we might get our first 5 day test of the summer! I had a peach of a seat for Day 5 so I had everything crossed!
Mitch (so many of them) Starc joined Steve Smith and not for the first time this summer showed his prowess with the bat! He made some very fine shots, several of the top order batsmen of both teams could have taken tips!
Starc and Smith who’d been working on building a huge personal total put on a further 91 before Smith finally fell to one of those very unusual balls – one that hit the wicket! Steve Finn was the ecstatic bowler Smith exited with a mighty 143 to his name. Taking his total to a remarkable 508! And pushing him back to the top of the ICC Rankings.
Starc was next to go, LBW to Stokes he’d made a very useful 58 runs! The tail enders didn’t last long and and Australia were all out for 481.
Now England had reached a top score of 430 at Cardiff and were high on confidence after winning at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge – they’d compete surely.
Well, no as it turned out they didn’t! I’m not going to linger on the England batting shambles – just say that they finished Day 2 on 107 for 8!! It was all very reminiscent of Day 4 at Lords, Alastair Cook was top scorer on the day with a paltry 22.
We had the unusual sight of 3 wickets falling to the ball hitting the stumps (and I missed every one!) with Nathan Lyon bowling Cook and Jos Buttler and the newly picked Peter Siddle taking Ian Bell’s bails.
I had another lovely day as far as meeting and chatting to people was concerned and even managed to find some sun in the afternoon, oh and I did the being a fan thing and got a photo with West Ham greats Tony Cottee and Tony Gale! I just couldn’t help myself!
As far as my Rose Army challenge was concerned I nabbed another 2 Australians and a Welshman to boot! He was almost shrinking inside the shirt but he did it!
Lunch was Waitrose again and I managed to snaffle a slice of Victoria Sponge to have with my afternoon tea! Perfect!