Rain played havoc for a couple of hours but Steven Smith and the rest of the lower-order lit up the day for Australia with some cracking batting on a docile Oval pitch in the fifth Ashes Test against England. We’ll have live scores and commentary from 8.00pm AEST.
The second day was going to be about England needing early wickets as compared to Australia looking to see off the second new ball and then piling on the runs.
What was not imagined in the script was inclement weather.
It seemed like the play would begin on time despite moist conditions a hour before the start but it began raining just moments before play could start.
Early lunch was taken and nearly 30 overs were lost in the day before the teams could resume play.
Following the early loss of Peter Siddle, Steven Smith and Brad Haddin stalled the English hopes of picking up wickets in a heap.
Haddin did get out to the part-time bowling of Jonathon Trott but by then Smith had brought up his maiden Test century. It meant he could cut loose immediately after tea.
The lower-order comprising of James Faulkner, Mitchell Starc and Ryan Harris did not hold back either as Australia scored at more than eight an over for their near-100 runs.
The declaration, which was in line with Clarke’s aggressive captaincy, came with about 90 minutes remaining.
While the easy-paced pitch, combined with some doughty batting from the English openers allowed them to go through to the end of the day without loss, they will need a massive batting effort on the third day.
The pitch has shown no sign of deterioration so far and the spinners may not come into play yet, nor will it reverse swing as much.
If England can bat through the day without losing too many, much like they had on the third day at Old Trafford, their chances of escaping unscathed will brighten considerably.
If, on the other hand, Australia can get early wickets and expose the soft English middle, things could get interesting for them for the rest of the game.