Friday, 6 September 2019

Day Three

I spent the morning in the fresh air, in and out of the shed sorting fishing gear for the autumn ahead.  With me was TMS but it was raining in Manchester so no play, still it was great listening.  I was outside at the start of play and by the time I settled in front of the TV Overton was already out, 25/2.

On the other side of the world an Aussie mate is still awake and enjoying what he's watching.  Burns and Root are digging in, there's a dry spell with tight bowling followed by a couple of boundaries.  Dare I say it, so far these two batsmen are doing OK.  This is proper test batting, what we haven't seen enough in recent years.  Of the next four batsmen to come, three of them should feel they are batting for their test careers.


Meanwhile Burns and Root overcome another tricky spell then Starc comes back and they pick him off.  Burns makes fifty, he looks like he's learning and improving with every game.  He's making hard runs against a very good bowling unit, at last I think we've found an opener.  He's made runs consistently in county cricket for a few years so what took the selectors so long to pick him?  Root gets moving again too and the score passes 100.  The score keeps ticking on, the partnership reaches a century and at tea we are 125/2.

Scoring is slow after tea but Root nurdles his way to fifty.  Cummins is bowling very well, there's a review, Root knicks two and survives it all, he's been hit too, something's got to give.  Cummins brilliant seven over spell comes to an end, somehow it's passed without a wicket and the score is up to 165/2  But Hazlewood comes on and has Burns caught at slip for 81 with only one more run added.  This brings Roy to the crease...  From feeling comfortable to feeling nervous all in a few seconds.  It gets worse Root is LBW for 71, another one of those good innings that hasn't been cashed in.  Roy looks nervous for a few balls but plays some nice shots to reach 22 before he misses a straight one and it's 196/5.  Bairstow and Stokes remain unbeaten when bad light brings an early end to the day.

At 200/5 and a new ball a few overs away Australia are well on top at this stage but England were in a far worse position after two days in Leeds.  There is hope that the remaining wickets can put enough runs together and we will avoid defeat.  In a post Headingley alternative universe Stokes will score a double century, England will post a 150 run lead and Jofra will bowl them out.

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