By BV Swagath
After three days of intense action at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, England find themselves in the driver’s seat to win the opening Ashes Test. The hosts are looking pretty with an overall lead of 261 with four wickets in hand. Most importantly, they still have Ian Bell batting on 95* along with all-rounder Stuart Broad who is on 47*.
The third day’s play saw a huge controversy that indeed changed the fortunes of the game, in favour of England. Batting on 37, Stuart Broad got an obvious edge to slip in a cut shot off left-arm spinner Ashton Agar. Broad stood his ground and Umpire Aleem Dar gave him the benefit of doubt assuming that the ball had gone to slips only off the deflection from Haddin’s gloves. Poor Australia didn’t have any reviews left and were simply robbed off a precious wicket at that stage. England would have been 297 for 7 had Broad been given out rightly with the lead at a modest 232.
The pair of Ian Bell and Stuart Broad has almost taken the game away from the tourists with an unbroken stand of 108 for the 7th wicket. England resumed Day 3 at 80 for 2 in 43 overs to end up with 326 for 6 in 133 overs.
Kevin Pietersen, who failed in the first innings, came up with a crucial 64 (from 150 balls with 12 fours) before he was dismissed by Pattinson in the morning to end a 110-run stand for the 3rd wicket with Cook. Australia bounced back when Ashton Agar had his maiden Test scalp having Alastair Cook (50 from 165 balls) caught nicely by Michael Clarke at slip with a leading edge.
Agar went onto take his second wicket when Bairstow edged a turning ball to the keeper to leave the hosts at 174 for 5 with the lead at just 109! Matt Prior came out to join Ian Bell to score a 42-ball 31 to push the lead past 150. What happened after that was the Bell-Broad show that turned things around for the homeside. By close of play, Bell is on 95* from 228 balls with a dozen fours while Broad is on 47* from 122 balls.