Ball One 12.09am – Having batted so beautifully yesterday, both England openers fell early to indeterminate shots. Strauss made a sharply bouncing delivery from Siddle, look like an unplayable snorter by failing to get his feet moving at all. Getting started again has long been a problem for Strauss with little sign of its being solved.
Ball Two 12.51pm – Slow play in the first session, but that will suit England who need only to bat time to get themselves into a winning position. This series has been characterised by batsmen looking too much to the scoreboard and not enough to the clock and getting themselves out in endeavouring to get on top of the bowlers. Sometimes it pays to sit in the game and wait for the runs to come.
Ball Three 1.25pm – Steve Smith is being bullied in the way so many Australians have bullied England players for years. The Australian selectors are now reaping the benefits of sticking with Shane Watson for so long, but whether they can afford to treat Steve Smith as a project player within this generation is open to question.
Ball Four 2.38am – Captain Ponting is fielding at mid-on, saving his injured finger. Vice-Captain Clarke is in the covers, but seems unavailable to bowl as all the evidence suggests that he is the best spinner in this XI and he is yet to turn his arm over. Katich, another man who would present a spin threat, is likely to return at the SCG and will not bowl either. Selecting players less than fully fit used to be an English trait, much criticised by Aussies – rightly so.
Ball Five 2.45am – Dismal gamesmanship from Ponting, who uses a refused review to enter an argument with both umpires neither of whom can have anything to say, since the review was in the hands of the TV umpire. I believe such dissent is intended to upset umpires and opponents in periods when the game is going against the complainant – John McEnroe freely admitted such. There’s no place for it in cricket and Ponting may be suspended at the SCG (his final Test?) as a result. KP was out soon after, so the tactic may have worked. Indian fans will look particularly closely a how the match referee deals with the Australian captain.
Ball Six 3.30am – Thanks Colly, but I think that’s enough now.
The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.