England head into day 4 of the 2nd test with a massive lead of 521 runs and with still 4 wickets left. It was another day of domination from Andrew Strauss’ team as they stretched their already impressive 1st innings lead further with some attacking batting during the final session of play before rain called an early halt to proceedings.
The first hour of play didn’t go as planned for England as they struggled to claim the last 2 Aussie wickets with Hauritz, Siddle and Hilfenhaus putting up strong resistance. In the end Graham Onions got the wickets of Hauritz(24) and Siddle(35), along with 6 runs from Hilfenhaus the three of them nearly got Australia beyond the follow-on score falling just short at 215 all out – they had started the day on 156/8.
It was probably the ease with which the Aussie tail enders played England’s bowling at the start of the day which prompted Strauss not to enforce the follow-on. With the general opinion that England would enforce the follow-on Strauss left the field with a supposed injury early on in the first hour – the cynics might wonder why!
Strauss and Cook took up were the Aussies tail end left off hitting the bowling all over the park, in general batting looked simple for most of the day. Nathan Hauritz produced a good spell after lunch to remove both England’s openers, then Bopara and Pietersen some how managed to steady the ship with the Aussies scenting blood, quite how they managed this no one knows as neither player ever really looked comfortable and both had a life early on as Ponting missed a simple run out and dropped a simple catch in a 10 minute spell he would rather forget.
After they had both gone Collingwood and Prior pushed the accelerator with both going on to make half centuries in quick time. There was also time for a quick cameo from Andrew Flintoff who is 30 not out off 27 balls overnight.
Flintoff should relish the chance to bat in his last test innings at Lord’s on Sunday with the match situation ideal for him, with quick runs needed in the morning and with no real pressure on him he has licence to throw the bat at anything – it could be an entertaining session.
Let’s just hope for the sake of the match England get bowled out after an hour of Flintoff. The last thing the match needs now is England trying to bat for time before declaring and leaving themselves not enough time to bowl the Aussies out. Lets hope Strauss has learnt his lessons from West Indies.
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