I have a terrible confession to make when it comes to Day 3 of The 5th Test – I arrived a little late and forgot to get any cash out on the way. I had rugby shirts to persuade Australians to wear and a need to buy lunch, which needed said cash!
I decided to get all 3 things out of the way when I arrived, which means I missed something of a runs fest – well, I say that, but in the scheme of things Moeen Ali and Mark Wood went runs crazy. England were on 111 for 8 when I went on my mission, when I came back they were on 141 for 8 – miraculous compared to what had occurred the day before!
I was really keen to have a Day 5 of this Test as I had a prime seat in the Pavilion, could these 2 tail enders add enough runs to make that more likely?
Wood had a couple of useful innings during the series and this was no different, he’d made 24 before 2 of the Mitch’s combined to take his wicket. Johnson with the bowling Starc with the catch. England were on 149 for 9.
Steven Finn walked into the centre, but he didn’t need to be concerned – Moeen Ali fell victim to Johnson on his next ball – Peter Nevill catching the ball.
Michael Clarke did something he’d never doe in his career as Australian captain – he forced the follow on giving England a worrying 70 minutes to see out before lunch. In spite of the fact that Adam Lyth has struggled he faced what was in effect Johnson’s hat trick ball – he survived – phew!
However Lyth didn’t survive until Lunch – he was realistically batting for his future as a Test opening batsman, he failed again – I’d judge that his 10 wasn’t sufficient to see him keep his place. I also have to wonder why such patience was shown over 5 Test matches? Lyth was caught by Michael Clarke from the bowling of Peter Siddle. England were 19 for 1!
Ian Bell hadn’t had the best of performances but he was still in place when lunch arrived. I was able to have a leisurely lunch as I’d sorted my Wear The Rose mission for the day before I sat down. 4 shirts – one went to an England cricket fan at Liverpool street, the other 3? All to Australians!! Taking my tally to 7 in total! I was stupidly pleased by that!
This Test match wasn’t a joyful one for England or their fans so I’m not going to linger on the goings on for Day 3 too much further. The day became a case of – who could stay in long enough to keep Alastair Cook company?
Cook had similarly had a mixed series but on Day 3 of this match he showed his class, playing a captain’s innings with patience and good judgement as he saw his fellow batsmen depart around him. He battled virtually all day seeing Ian Bell – 13, Joe Root – 11, Jonny Barstow – 26 and Ben Stokes, on a disastrous duck, depart.
With Stokes wicket England were on 140 for 5 and Day 4 let alone Day 5 was rapidly disappearing! Joe Buttler was next up and like Cook he dug his heels in.
The pair very nearly saw the day through, that was until Clarke in what must have been an inspired piece of captaincy brought Steve Smith on to bowl – as far as I’m aware that was his first over in the series. (I may however be wrong!) I can only imagine that Cook was tired – on his way to his 1st century for England on home soil at 85 he was out! Caught by Adam Voges – and yes, the record books say Smith was the bowler!
Mark Wood in his now familiar role of Night Watchman came to the crease – He and Buttler managed to stay out of trouble and England finished the day on 203 for 6.
I’d again had lovely company during the day, one of my favourite aspects of red ball cricket, as you get to spend a whole day sitting next to people! I met 2 very nice, if quite – hmmm, under the influence – men after the day had finished and somehow ended up in a pub watching the England Rugby match against France. That didn’t go too well either!
Day 4 to follow!