Australia have been brought back into the first Ashes Test against England on the back of Ashton Agar’s stunning knock of 98. We’ll have live scores and commentary from Trent Bridge at 8.00pm AEST.
At 9/117 in reply to England’s 215, it looked like Australia were staring down another crushing defeat after their 4-0 rout in India, largely thanks to James Anderson’s five-wicket haul.
In walked the 19-year-old debutant Agar and slammed his way to a rollicking near-century to guide the visitors to a 65-run lead.
Phil Hughes remained 81 not-out, first after watching some of his more illustrious teammates fall by the wayside to a superb combination of swing and spin and then having Agar dominate the strike and the opposition en route to his 98.
Stung by the onslaught that raised 163 runs in 31 overs, England went into bat second time around and soon slumped to 2/11.
Mitchell Starc was on a hat-trick yet again, having got rid of Joe Root and Jonathon Trott and it looked like the tide had turned.
Captain Alastair Cook was then joined by Kevin Pietersen and both players curbed their natural tendencies to grind out a 69-run partnership off more than 35 overs.
Neither player went after the bowling and both played quite straight, opting out of any risky shots.
There are two ways of looking at it. One, the English strategy is to tire the bowlers out and take advantage of the situation by the middle of the second session on the third day.
Australia, on the other hand, will feel that by controlling the runs, they only need a wicket or two to suddenly put the pressure right back on to the English side in the morning.
The pitch has certainly endured some wear and tear, as was evident from the way Agar was getting a few of them to turn back into Cook.
Come the third day that aspect of the bowling will increase, and expect Agar to come into his own too.
While it was not on display in the second innings, reverse swing could be a factor too.
The thing with the reversing ball is that it swings quite late if bowled well and a wicket could lead to a couple others as well – which is why England’s slow approach of garnering runs could help Australia again.
On the other hand, a sudden spell of explosive batting from Pietersen could suddenly take the game away from the visitors too – so Michael Clarke may not be able to put a lot of attacking fields.
All in all, a fascinating battle in prospect on the third day and live coverage of the game begins from 8.00pm AEST. You can join me for this live blog on the third day of the Test match and post your comments below.