Welcome to day three at Edgbaston!
Clears throat for a necessary cliché. Big first hour, innit?
Isn’t it ever. The sun has successfully burned through the morning cloud cover here at Birmingham and we’re in for what will probably be the day that defines the outcome of this First Ashes Test of 2019. What a lovely way to spend a Saturday? Welcome to you all.
In 45 minutes from now we will pick up the action with Rory Burns and Ben Stokes some 17 runs away from banking a first innings lead, the former having batted through the duration of day two for his maiden Test ton. It wasn’t pretty but do you think he cares? This isn’t a beauty pageant. Stokes can do the pretty for both of them.
The all-rounder was the most assured man at Edgbaston yesterday. Walking in at the moment Australia were threatening to ruin the afternoon for Joe Root and co, he picked up where he left off at Lord’s a few weekends ago. If he can bat for a couple of hours this morning, Tim Paine’s men are in a lot of trouble.
To their credit, despite only taking four wickets yesterday, the Australian bowlers did very little wrong. Epecially James Pattinson, who was outstanding in his first Test since February 2016, and Pete Siddle landed it in a shoebox all day. Pat Cummims bounced back well late in the day and Nathan Lyon was Nathan Lyon. They will bowl a lot worse and bowl teams out. That’s their job today: ripping through England’s lower order and keeping the deficit in check.
Righto, I’ll leave it there for the time being as we make our way towards the first ball of morning three. Do drop me a line in the usual way, or ping me a tweet if that’s more your style. This should be fun.