The Bell tolls for thee – Australia wrung out in Durham

Ian Bell and Ryan Harris. Easily the two best contributors to Day Three of the fourth Ashes Test. Ian Bell is emerging as an almost certain candidate for player of the series after striking a third century, and he’s looking very good at returning on the 13-1 bet I had for most runs.

Who reckons Australia can claw back from here?

Nothing that occurred on Day Three indicates Australia possess the collective strike power to win this Test Match. Perched perilously on the precipice of an enlarging deficit showing no signs of abatement, Australia can pretty much kick themselves, again.

Losing 5/40odd at the beginning of the day was never going to achieve them a pass mark, even from the easiest of graders. Like most of Australia, who I hope had just watched the Federal election debate – and not one of those pathetic, mind numbing, commercially driven, spew worthy “talent”, singing, dancing and cooking shows – I set up post-debate in the hopes of seeing Brad Haddin and Chris Rogers bash out a worthy lead.

Perhaps I should have been clutching myself and gushing at some trumped up rubbish singer from the boonies hitting it big in front of wanker pop stars who I’ve never heard of, or convulsing with electrified tension as a contestant who “I really relate to” was about to stuff up the application of sauce in a competitive cooking show.

The Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and the Liberal opposition leader Tony Abbott failed to inspire and instead delivered the usual broad language, two-sided populist dross indelible to Australia’s rapidly declining political spectrum. A dull conservative quagmire and restrictive, short-sighted approach aimed at appeasing the lowest common denominator isn’t quite what the Australian cricket side’s approach could be described as. So the similarities between it and Australia’s major political parties aren’t entirely extensive, but as if depicting the standard of Australian politics and capturing the times, the cricket side squandered their resources and surrendered a position of ascendancy.

England’s bowlers barely had to raise a sweat and only Ryan Harris resisted gainfully, but it didn’t stop the rot and Australia were required to bowl before the luncheon.

Chris Rogers’ century was a fine knock – a tough, unattractive, but mightily admirable 110 run collection. Without this Australia would be absolutely miles behind. As I stated yesterday with Australia having to bat last at Durham I think that a first innings lead of 100 was required. There’s no evidence that Australia can chase down England, especially if the total required reaches beyond 250…

Australia now trail by 202 and England retain five wickets. It’s only Day Four tonight so theoretically England have plenty of time to amass a chase total beyond 300. Tim Bresnan came out to bat ahead of Matt Prior so the three lions have kept some serious fire power in the sheds. Prior hasn’t exploded with the bat this series, but the scene could be set for a serious lower order assault on Australia’s one-short bowling attack.

At some point tonight Australia will have to bat. I really hope it’s because they’ve knocked England over in the first session and not because their hosts have declared sitting atop a highland of runs.


  1. well played sir!
    Arguably the best of all the fine pieces you have written. Loved the political references- Abbott failed to answer a single question with any other than a three-word-slogan.

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