Probably the most important day of cricket for whole Ashes series beckons in a couple hours time. If England win the day then they will go a long way to winning this test match and the series will be all but theirs. If Australia win the day a draw or an Australian win will be the likely outcome of this game and the series will be alive and kicking.
Here are my 5 keys to winning the day today:
How long England bat
This pitch is a 400 run par score type of wicket and today will be the best day for batting all test match by all reports. England will be desperate to get their score to at least 350 from their current position and much will hinge on runs coming from Broad and Bresnan. If they are able to bat into the second hour before lunch, given that they general score around 3.5 runs an over 350 will well and truly be in play. If they get to lunch then the target of 400 will be just around the corner.
How has Ryan Harris pulled up?
Ryan Harris was the star with the new ball yesterday for Australia and given James Pattinson’s lack of current form will be the go to man again for Australia. Given his history of injuries all eyes will be on him in the warm ups to see how his knee and shoulder have recovered from 20 overs yesterday. If he is “cherry ripe” then that will go a long way to helping secure the vital 3 wickets Australia need in the first hour of play.
Runs from Australia’s engine room
A hundred or a “red ink” from any of these three batsmen, Rogers, Watson and Khawaja, assuming time permits, will be massive in the context of the game. Both Rogers and Watson were looking solid in the second innings at Trent Bridge before inopportune dismissals and Khawaja is the new boy looking to secure his spot. That said, Australia’s success in much of the 90s and 2000s was built of someone in the top 3 scoring a hundred in the first innings of a test match and this formula will again be the path to success for Australia.
Support for Jimmy Anderson
Every one knows that Australia will be trying their damnedest to blunt the impact of Jimmy Anderson. It will fall to his support bowlers in Broad and Bresnan to shoulder a much larger load in this game, in part because of the short turnaround since Trent Bridge and, in part, given the heat in London. If these two very experiences players replicate their best Australia will be hard pressed to keep them at bay. Conversely if they are anything like the performance of Steve Finn at Trent Bridge the test could quickly be out of their team’s hands.
He who uses the DRS the best
DRS will raise its head at some point and given the impact of it on the outcome of the game (I am not saying that England would have been bested I am just saying that a more judicious use of the DRS could have seen a different complexion on the game) at Trent Bridge the winner of the in game competition between the captains as to who uses DRS the best could end up with a tactical advantage by days end.
All in all, another fascinating day of cricket is nearly upon us. As I said in the preamble, the stakes for this day are particularly high in my view which will only add to the drama!