|Ground:||Kennington Oval, Kennington|
|Scorecard:||England v Australia|
|Player:||SPD Smith, DA Warner|
|Event:||Australia in England and Ireland 2015|
DateLine: 21st August 2015
By Andy Jalil at Trent Bridge
Warner and Smith build Australia’s innings
London – The slump in Australia’s innings that took place after David Warner had given the side an excellent start, was rectified by a fighting unbeaten innings of 78 by Steve Smith, spanning three-and-a-half-hours, which saw the tourists to 287 for three when bad light stopped play after 79.4 overs on the first day of the final Test.
Australia did start with a fine century opening stand between Warner and Chris Rogers but then lost three wickets in a space of 76 runs putting pressure on their middle-order to revive the innings. Smith, with his 13th Test half century and Adam Voges 47 not out put on an unbeaten 101 stand for the fourth wicket.
Having been asked to bat in cloudy conditions, Australia, with all the batting debacles suffered in the series so far have finally shown some application. They began with caution to the extent that the first boundary wasn’t stuck until the fifteenth over when Warner struck off Ben Stokes to take his score to 20. Two balls later Stokes conceded another, this time to Rogers. Both batsmen were watchful and while that was not so unusual for Rogers’ style of batting, for his partner it was not the typical manner at the crease, being an aggressive batsman.
England used all five main bowlers in their effort to get a breakthrough but there were few risky shots played against any of the bowlers. Warner opened his shoulders gradually to enter the forties with two consecutive fours of Stokes. He picked the short ball for a powerful pull and followed that with a delicate late cut. He continued with his boundaries spree at that stage sweeping Moeen Ali to take his score to 46 and then after a single he reached his 19th Test half century with a lovely cover drive off Steve Finn for his sixth four.
By lunch Australia were 82 without loss from 27 overs with Warner on 53 and Rogers had slowly gone to 27 in just over two hours. Rogers ran three off the first ball after the break to reach 2,000 runs in his 25th Test and then drove Stuart Broad to the cover boundary to bring up the hundred of the opening stand from 187 balls.
England finally got the breakthrough half-an-hour into the second session when Rogers, having shown good judgement on balls outside off stump decided to play a shot at one outside off and edged it to first slip where Alastair Cook at first slip held the catch overhead at second attempt and the tourists were 110 for one with Warner on 64. Along with Smith, Warner put on 51 from 71 balls, taking his score to 85 from 131 balls when Moeen Ali claimed his wicket. He has 12 Test centuries to his credit but has yet to score one in England.
Ali who had dismissed him in both innings in the second Test, found the outside edge with the ball spinning away as Warner played forward defensively and a simple catch was taken at slip reducing the tourists to 161 for two. They progressed to 184 for two by tea with Smith on a watchful 29 in an hour-and-a-half and Australia captain Michael Clarke, who retires at the end of the series as his country’s fourth highest Test runs scorer, on 14.
Clarke has struggled for runs in poor form averaging just 16.7 in the series and his luck wasn’t going to change in this Test match as after the break, the sixth ball that he faced, accounted for his wicket. It was a thin edge that flew to the wicketkeeper off the bowling of Stokes and that was 186 for three. He asked for a review of the umpire’s decision but that did not help him.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2015 Andy Jalil)