Lessons from Snow White

England need to dig dig dig just like the seven dwarfs starting at 1/29. May have escaped a collapse with the rain last night but today dawns less ‘fresh’ a bit warmer and less breezy. Australia have the upper hand and with 98 overs today is that enough for Australia to force a win today?

Forecast lunch 2/140

Drinks 3/76 Cook 36 Malan 11, Root back in the pavilion alongside Vince neither of whom made much of an impression this afternoon. Patience is the watchword on both sides but especially England as the pitch today will be the best it will be for batting. Dig in and dig for victory- or in England’s case survival as I can’t see them rolling over this Australian side for v little. Starc and Lyon upping the pressure- the next half of the session will be key.

Forecast 5/135

Short break/tea 5/128 Ali 22, Bairstow 17. Cook fell to a poor attempt at a cover drive whilst Malan looked more positive against Lyon but feathered one behind for 19. Overall this is becoming increasingly embarrassing and there must be some question as to whether England can save the follow on and would Smith enforce it?

The Barmies are exceptionally quiet or I’m so far away and up in the gods that I can’t hear them (thankfully).

Forecast for the long break 7/210

Drink 7/169 Ali and Bairstow out to two of the most spectacular caught and bowled you will ever see mean that the English tail is now exposed. General view is that Smith will enforce the follow on to have a go at England in the twilight zone.

Forecast for long break – England all out 210.

Long break England 8/219 Overton 36 Broad 0 with Woakes out for 36 caught and bowled by Starc. All three wickets in the session went to caught and bowled – must be some kind of record/statistical freak which someone somewhere who has nothing better to do will research!

So…where does this game go from here? Option 1 is England dismissed within the next 23 runs, Australia enforce the follow on and the quicks run amok in the twilight zone. So we’re back to digging in again, survival and even a lead; heaven forfend it could be a lead to try and bowl to and sneak a famous victory; no, not suffering from heat stroke or too many XXXX but we you have to hope and have faith!

Option 2 England save the follow on or Australia don’t enforce it. More likely…Australia bat until mid-tomorrow with a lead of 380/400 and give themselves at least 4 sessions to bowl England out or for England to follow the dwarfs and dig!. At least that gives me five days of test cricket!

Either way this match still has a lot to offer and I still think wickets will fall in clusters- the highest England score to date is 37 but most have made a start: the same applies to Australia except for Marsh and his mellow century (sorry borrowed that from the local paper) so batting is not necessarily easy and under lights (ok it’s not normal for first class cricket but it’s also something to add add to the mental pressures).

Forecast for drinks in the last session – England 250ao; Australia 0/35.

An earlier blog discussed team dynamics and it’s interesting to observe the Barmy Army from afar. To date they have been (thankfully) peaceful but that may be because I’m 250+ yards away and on the top floor of the stand but they were again outdone on Day 2 but the 250+ Richies as they were in Brisbane (seems Richie can only make Day 2 of each rest). So they seem to resent (too strong a term perhaps) the attention the Richies are getting but also they don’t join in any other antics started by others eg Mexican waves! And finally they may be quiet since there’s so little to cheer and chant about, the way England are playing.

twilight zone drinks follow on not enforced England 227ao Australia 1/35 – a lead of 250. Warner 9 Khwaja 19. England bowling with passion and fire – just how they should have bowled on Saturday afternoon. Still bowling too short, need to be a bit fuller and Bairstow needs to move forward one pace as catches are falling a shade short of slip. The evening is less cool as opposed to more warm than days 1 and 2 but one wonders if it was too cold for the ball to swing and seam because we’ve seen that in spades over the last 90 minutes. So far it’s the best England bowling of the match but if batsmen are determined to dig in then the rewards are there- no least batting tomorrow afternoon!

Forecast for close 1/78

Close of play 4/53 – a lead of 268 with two days to play. Smith was out cheaply for once proving that everyone is fallible but did ride his luck with the DRS reviews. At the correct temperature and humidity the pink ball is almost unplayable and one wonders if Smith will come to rue his decision not to enforce the follow on. Given the lead and the power to add tomorrow a target of over 400 could be facing England as well as a tricky late afternoon session and the twilight zone! England need cheap wickets and good batsmanship to get out of this one but we shall see.

Overall a brilliant day of test cricket but we still don’t know who’s the fairest of them all!