@Yas_Wisden 4 minute read
After an abandoned first day, Tim Paine won the toss and made the brave decision to bowl first.
The pitch, which was criticised by England captain Joe Root after England’s recent one-off Test against Ireland, was noticeably less green on this occasion. And if you couple that with the clear overhead conditions, it was not a simple decision for Paine.
‘A good toss to lose’ perhaps for England. Maybe Paine was influenced by recent Tests at the Home of Cricket – in the last 14 completed innings at the ground, only five have passed 200. Whatever Paine’s thinking, he was instantly rewarded.
Josh Hazlewood, recalled to the side at the expense of James Pattinson, struck with a fairly innocuous third ball to dismiss Jason Roy for nought. Well wide and well short of the stumps, Roy needlessly fended at the ball, only managing to feather it to an obliging Paine behind the stumps. After his first four innings as a Test opener, he averages just 10.75.
He soon had Root lbw for 14, getting one to nip up the slope into the England captain’s pads. It continued a worrying trend for Root. Since the start of 2016, he averages just 15.28 against balls that would have gone on to hit the stumps off pace bowling, as opposed to more than 65 in the preceding three-year period.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) August 15, 2019
Joe Denly joined England’s Edgbaston centurion Rory Burns at the crease as the pair, just 12 Test matches between them, were tasked with a rebuilding job after yet another unconvincing start from the England top order. The pair battled hard to get England to lunch without losing any further wickets. They were both fortunate – Denly was on the receiving end of two marginal lbw decisions and Burns was dropped badly by Usman Khawaja off Peter Siddle.
Denly eventually fell to Hazlewood after the interval for 30 before Pat Cummins had Burns superbly caught at short-leg for 53, reaping reward for a spell of hostile, short-pitched bowling on a reasonably docile surface. It triggered a somewhat customary England collapse – 116-3 soon became 138-6 – before Jonny Bairstow (52), in the spotlight after four consecutive low scores, and Chris Woakes (32) pulled England above the 200-mark.
England were eventually bowled out for 258, leaving Australia with a tricky mini-session to navigate past to get to the close. Stuart Broad and debutant Jofra Archer were superb – bowling full, moving the ball in both directions and regularly threatening the edges of the Australian batsmen. Broad snuck past the defence of David Warner for three, but Cameron Bancroft and Khawaja stayed resolute until the close. Australia look in fine shape ahead of day three.