Ashes 2013: First Test, Day 3: England Take Control Amid Broad Controversy
England have taken control of the first Test of the Ashes after batting all day, frustrating Australia's bowling attack, and building up a lead of 261.
On a wicket which has yielded little in the first two days, England's run rate was unspectacular and even very poor at times, but their batsmen were careful and stubborn. They didn't take the risks which had outdone them on the first day and it paid off with long stays at the crease.
Resuming on 80-2, the hosts added 41 before the dangerous Kevin Pietersen edged a James Pattinson delivery onto the stumps on 64. Alastair Cook quickly followed on 50 after a magnificent catch from Michael Clarke.
It was the fourth-slowest half-century of Pietersen's career and tied for the slowest of Cook's. This was a day when large contributions were made with patience rather than flair.
As the runs slowed, Australia looked increasingly threatening, but after the new ball was taken, it all changed. Clarke, who had gone with defensive fields all day, was forced to become more offensive, and England took advantage. Matt Prior raced to 31 off 42 balls but after he was caught for the sixth wicket, the Aussies had made all the progress they were going to.
Stuart Broad and Ian Bell battled for hours in the afternoon sun to run the score from 218-6 to 326-6 by the day's close, good for an English lead of 261. However, England's big third-day lead will not be the main talking point, nor will it be Bell's gutsy six-hour 95 not out. Instead, the headlines will be dominated by Broad's decision not to walk when he was clearly out.
Broad nicked a thick edge to Michael Clarke off Ashton Agar, deflected off the gloves of keeper Brad Haddin. It was a clear dismissal to everyone at Trent Bridge other than umpire Aleem Dar, who kept his finger down to the outrage of the Australian players. They had no referrals remaining and could not challenge the call.
When given not out by Dar, Broad remained at the crease and there was no question he would have known he hit the ball. That sparked a debate, as there is nothing in the rules of cricket explicitly requiring a batsman who knows he was out to walk off but it arguably goes against the "spirit of the game."
Some will argue that everyone does it and that no Australian batsman would have walked in the same circumstances. Others will retort that other players from other teams have refused in the past and will do it again in the future but that never excuses the act.
Either way, the argument has overshadowed a resolute batting performance from the hosts, who now stand on the brink of victory in the first Test.
Who will win the first Test?
Australia still have to take four wickets before they can have a shot at chasing the target. By then it will likely be over 300 and that is a very big task. Only four wickets fell on Friday, so they may feel like the pitch has some runs left in it, but they won't be able to rely on Ashton Agar to save them every time.
Day three in brief
- England resume on 80-2, 157-4 by lunch.
- 100 partnerships from Pietersen & Cook and Bell & Broad.
- Broad caught at slip, given not out, doesn't walk.
- England bat all day, end with lead of 261.
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