England Put to Toil on Day One of the Third Test of the Ashes
Aussie Chris Rogers batted impressively after captain Michael Clarke won the toss on the first day of the third Ashes Test. He missed what would have been a maiden century at Old Trafford, finally falling for 84 after being trapped before the wicket by Swann.
The English were made to work in a hot and humid Old Trafford, on the opening day of the third test. At the heart of England’s misery was a resilient and determined Australian captain, Michael Clarke not out on 125 at the end of day’s play. He pushed his team to a commanding position, with perhaps one of his best innings of his test career and so much pressure bearing down on his shoulders. With the English all but claiming the Ashes, Clarke proved he is indeed a man of steel. The captain was not alone, as Chris Rogers batted impressively, but went lbw on 84 to England off-spinner Graeme Swann. Steve Smith also showed up to the party with a solid display.
Australia’s top-order batting problems have been one of the principle reasons why they came into this match having lost their last six Tests and seen them lag 2-0 against current Ashes-holders England with three to play. But, Rogers rose to the challenge after Clarke won the toss Thursday. His innings helped Australia to a first day total of 303 for three, with Clarke making 125 not out and Steven Smith unbeaten on 70.
The English were beaming with confidence and gave the new ball to the home-ground boy, James Anderson. It was quickly revealed that conditions were tilted to the batsman’s favour as it has been the whole series. The English were delivered a stroke of luck with some highly questionable umpiring when Usman Khawaja was given caught behind by Graeme Swaan. The replays gave no evidence of an edge whatsoever, but the third umpire Kumar Dharmasena upheld the decision to the astonishment of not just Khawaja, but everyone else in the ground.
The umpiring on day one could have been better as the English also faced the blunt of bamboozled and farcical umpires. Stuart Broad’s delivery against Steven Smith was a straight forward lbw shout that was given not out and unfortunately no reviews were left for the English to alter the umpire’s blunder.
Clarke and Smith ended the day on an unbroken partnership of 174. England may be winning the war but Clarke’s men are ensuring that the battle is kept alive. Tomorrow is another day and after a couple of loose shots and gem of a delivery, suddenly things are not looking so bad for England. One thing is for sure, if captains can be fined for slow over rates, then the umpires should face more consequences for single-handedly altering the course of the game.
- by Yhanick Scott