If the first three days of this Test provided a whirlwind tour of the very best (and worst) of Test cricket, the fourth day was a more traditional slow-burner, with bowlers plugging away for their wickets. The advantage gradually ebbed and flowed; every time Australia looked to be getting away from England they were pegged back as the home side ground their way past the top order before blasting through the middle order to (in theory) set up a victory charge in the morning.
Plus Mitchell Starc bowled the worst ball we’ve ever seen, presumably due to being unable to see anything from behind his ridiculous eyebrows.
With all the debate and discussion around Stuart Broad not walking on Friday evening, Ian Bell’s magnum opus innings didn’t quite get the praise it deserved. Today he added the five runs needed to reach a well-deserved three figures. Without that innings, England would have been distinctly screwed; with it they had an extremely challenging total for Australia to chase, albeit on a pitch that was far from a minefield.
Ed Cowan really is rubbish. We know this doesn’t exactly count as insight.
We love the DRS system. Even though it seems to create more problems than it actually solves, there’s no debate about the sense of theatre that it creates, with the players and spectators all watching the big screen together (and the viewers at home watching them watching the screen). Australia’s use of reviews in this game has been pitiful: there was the shambolic review against Jonny Bairstow yesterday (that would have missed a second set of stumps) before today saw Shane Watson and Michael Clarke piss them away as vanity projects. Compare that with England, who were extremely patient with theirs before successfully gambling on an LBW shout against Phil Hughes.
Isn’t this exactly like Edgbaston 2005 all over again? 51allout fact: we never drank gin before that fateful final morning in Birmingham. There hasn’t been a day since when the craving for juniper berries hasn’t overtaken us. We could probably sue Channel 4 for an awful lot of damages.