2nd Test, Day Three, Lord’s.
Australia are well on the way to levelling the Ashes series after another dominant display at Lord’s on day three of the second test.
Mitchell Marsh took the two crucial wickets of Alastair Cook (96) and Ben Stokes (87), as the tourists eventually bowled out the hosts for 312.
A calm and collected David Warner and an ever reliant Chris Rodgers then saw out the day, reaching stumps in 108-0, 362 runs ahead of England.
At 30-4, England looked odds on to have to follow on, but a spirited effort from Stokes and Cook led to a 145-run partnership to save the team from any embarrassment.
With the England skipper leading from the front, it looked like Cook was heading towards a three figure score, but he lost concentration for a split second, costing him his wicket for 96.
He became the first English batsman to be dismissed seven times whilst in the 90s, a record he won’t want to remember.
Australia thought that they had Jos Buttler for just nine but replays showed that debutant wicketkeeper Peter Nevill had in fact grounded the ball. However, the England wicketkeeper could only add four before edging to Nathan Lyon.
Australia’s hero of the England innings though was Marsh, who took his opportunity with both hands. His bowling inflicted most of the damage, with a perfect delivery clipping the bails for Stokes on 87, before clean bowling Cook.
David Warner seemed much more composed than in the first innings, as he reached his 50 off 71 balls. However it could have been so very different. Adam Lyth could only parry a sharp edge from Warner to the boundary.
It was the third catch of the match England have failed to take, all of which would have changed the whole perplexity of the match. Rodgers and Steve Smith were dropped in the first innings before Warner in the second.
With the weather looking fair on Sunday, Australia could declare at lunch and try to make their job on day five a much simpler one. England are staring down a barrel of defeat unless they manage to stay in for five sessions, something only five teams have ever done in the history of the sport.
“At the moment, we’ve got to get our head around the fact that we are probably going to have to bat 150 overs to try and save the game,” said Stokes.
“If there’s ever a wicket to do it on it’s this one. There are no real demons in it, there’s not too much pace and there’s not too much turn.”
Australia’s Marsh told BBC: “We’ve got ourselves in a great position to really drive the game.
“I’m sure Michael Clarke has a total in mind, but I’m not sure. I imagine it will be around the 450 to 500 mark.”