Australia strike early, England’s middle order fight back and then the planets align as a certain happy
all-rounder batsman all-rounder steals the day from Lord Ron and Queen Liz.
Remember when Ian Bell was getting in and then getting out cheaply? Well now he’s getting in and getting out for 109 – which is probably a bit better. If his Trent Bridge century was match-altering, today’s hundred may be match-shaping. Although it was clearly a good toss to win and a day for batting, the pitch offered enough for the seamers; at 28/3 onlookers may have had reason to think England had been overawed by meeting a little old lady in an expensive dress. Yet Bell, in partnerships of 99 with Jonathan Trott and 144 with Jonny Bairstow, steered England first to respectability and then to a position of authority. He was aided by the worst bowling we’ve yet seen from James Pattinson (who was probably troubled by the Lord’s slope – or was possibly disappointed that the delay to play starting wasn’t caused by Brian May, Roger Taylor and John Deacon), but his batting was excellent. At the 76-over mark, Michael Clarke was forced to turn to the man who 51allout have patiently been explaining for two years is not an all-rounder. Suddenly, from 274/4 England were about to have one of their semi-regular mini collapses. That Bell was the only one of the final four wickets not to fall foul of a lousy shot is worrying.
It looked like Michael Clarke was going to have a fine day when he decided to replace Pattinson with Shane Watson after Darren’s brother had bowled just two overs and was promptly rewarded with Cook’s wicket. As we said above, 28/3 after being asked to field was a brilliant start. However his moment of quasi-genius was throwing the ball to Steve Smith. Not only did he dismiss Bell with a frankly brilliant leg-break (the familiar combination of flight, drift, turn and orgasm) but he continued to mop up England wickets like a teenager wiping clean his laptop screen when Clarke continued to let him bowl – even though the new ball was available. Both Bairstow and Matt Prior stupidly gave their wickets away and the day belonged to Australia – and to Clarke and Smith in particular.
11.50: the bowling average in Tests at Lord’s of Steven Peter Devereux Smith – identical to that of Glenn McGrath.
Devereux to get on to both honours boards. This website to self-combust in smug, drunken, sexual bliss.