Ball One 11.50pm – Ryan Harris is a wholehearted cricketer who served his time in Shield matches before getting his chance in the Test and ODI XIs. His keeling over in his run up reminded older England fans of David “Syd” Lawrence’s hideous snapped knee and collapse that finished his career. One can hope that Harris’ less dramatic reaction speaks of a less serious injury, but at his age, he won’t limp from the field much more often, if at all.
Ball Two 1.15am – With England leading by 414, Jimmy Anderson walked out to bat. Why? England didn’t need any more runs and Hilfenhaus soon hit him on the hand, fortunately without injury. England probably should have declared when Swanny was out, giving Australia’s openers a rush to strap on the pads and an awkward ten minutes before lunch. As it is, Australia have the full forty minutes to compose themselves and prepare for seven sessions batting to save The Ashes.
Ball Three 3.40am – England have considered their referrals very carefully, knowing that the two they hold are precious and may prove crucial later in the Test. Close calls have already been closely considered, but temptation resisted. Very wise.
Ball Four 3.50am – Watson edges and the ball fails to carry to Prior. On most wickets, especially on a dying drop-in pitch, were I captain, I would wait until the ‘keeper and slips took up position, and then insist on everyone taking two steps forward. It’s worth the odd ball flying over the shoulder for the chance to catch the feathered, soft-handed edge. Too many catches have fallen short of England’s slips in this series.
Ball Five 4.45am – Was that really Ricky Ponting’s feet splayed all over the crease as the ball took the inside edge and clattered into the stumps? Of course he has much on his mind, but, after 73 balls, to make an error like that was terminal for his team’s slim hopes of surviving and may prove terminal to his own career as a successful captain and an all-time great batsman. Unless the selectors are sentimental and, if ever there was a case for sentiment, Sydney may be it.
Ball Six 5.00am – England will be ecstatic, not just at getting Mike Hussey out for 0, but in exactly the way they planned – caught at short extra cover, driving at a ball that wasn’t quite there. Tim Bresnan has justified the faith shown in him, not just with his discipline, but with his skill in extracting movement from reversing swinging the Kookaburra. It’s been a long time since England’s selectors were rewarded as handsomely as they have been by Trott, Tremlett and Bresnan, not to mention the faith shown in Cook, all of whom had their detractors before the Tour started, but have very few now.
The Tooting Trumpet, whom you can often find at Testmatchsofa.com and on Twitter at @garynaylor999 and @Fakeadil.