Slow batting tactics by England in fifth Test
by Andy Jalil

Scorecard:England v Australia
Event:Australia in British Isles 2013

DateLine: 23rd August 2013


Andy Andy Jalil at The Oval
In association with INVESTEC


Andy Jalil - Cricket Writer and Commentator
Andy Jalil at The Oval
In association with INVESTEC
© Pakistan Cricket Website


London Ė A ponderous third dayís play, in which the run rate barely went above two an over, saw England grindingly reach 247 for four. Ian Bell, 29 not out and Chris Woakes on 15 were in an unbroken stand of 30 from 93 balls with England trailing by 245 runs and needing 46 to avoid the follow-on.


It took just over an hour before Australia could claim the first wicket of the third morning and it came with Alastair Cook, on 25, edging a ball from Ryan Harris well outside off stump. By then England had put up a solid opening stand, having resumed on the overnight score of 32, Cook and Joe Root had cautiously taken the total to 68 at the rate of just above two runs an over.


A second fifty partnership then followed between Root and Jonathan Trott during which the former reached his third Test half century from 145 balls shortly before lunch which was taken on 97 for one. The slow morningís play had produced 65 runs in 29.3 overs with the fall of one wicket.


After the break the pattern of play remained unaltered with both batsmen playing watchfully although Root, in adding 16 to his score from 35 balls was a shade quicker than Trott who, in defensive mode, didnít strike his first boundary until the 78th ball that he faced. The second wicket came for the tourists not long after the leg spinner, Nathan Lyon came on. In his fourth over he had Root held at backward square leg from a top-edged sweep shot.


Englandís slow batting continued during the third wicket stand between, Trott and Kevin Pietersen. Despite the latter being an attacking batsman, he played a restrained innings hitting his first boundary in eleven overs which took him to 23. The second of Trottís two fours, hit to wide mid-wicket off Steve Smith, took him to 39 and the total to 174 for two.


Two runs later, with a run added to his score, Trott fell leg before wicket to Mitchell Starc on the first ball with the second new ball. He asked for a review of the decision but that didnít help with the replay showing clearly that the ball was hitting leg stump. The third wicket stand had brought the third fifty-partnership for England and each one of those had dragged on slowly, nothing to entertain the sell-out crowd with attractive strokeplay.


The session between lunch and tea was no quicker in terms of scoring with just 84 runs coming from 38 overs while two wickers fell. Englandís 200 came up at the rate of 2.23 and Pietersen brought up his 32nd Test fifty when his mistimed pull shot off James Faulkner went for his fourth boundary. It was his slowest half century in an Ashes series coming from 127 balls in over three hours. Prior to that shot he had not struck a four in fourteen overs.


On 217 England lost their fourth wicket with Pietersen chasing a ball outside off stump and edging to Shane Watson at first slip. The wicket gave Starc two for 48.


(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2013 Andy Jalil)


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