It was a great day on day one for Australia with the English 9 for 238 at stumps after the last wicket partnership kept Australia at bay and added 20 runs to the total.
As day 2 beckons, here are my keys for the day:
1. State of the pitch: The Chester-le-Street wicket has been difficult for sides in the first innings of games in first class cricket this year and, whilst the 2nd day of use of a test match cricket wicket is by custom considered to be the best, how this pitch plays today (and which team takes advantage of the conditions) could have a large determinant on who wins today.
2. Oh Jimmy Jimmy: I mentioned in my preview of the test match that Anderson struggled for wickets at Old Trafford. He will be looking to right that “wrong” in this test match and, if as expected, he will have “fresh meat” to bowl to with the new ball in the form of “The Myth” Warner.
3. Captain Clarke: When Clarke scores runs for Australia, Australia generally wins the day of play and, by extension, the test match. He is the biggest wicket in Australia's top 6 and his innings will be keenly watched by English fans hoping for brevity and Australian fans hoping for a long stint alike.
4. The Myth rises?: Davey Warner is projected to be at the top of the order for Australia at some point today. Australia's opening partnership has actually performed better, when considering average opening stand, than the English and yet Australia seems certain to make this change. The weight of expectation will be on him and it is fair to say that if he does conjure a way to score some runs then Australia will inevitably be off to a good (although quick) start.
5. Umpiring sponsored by OPSM: It stood out like the proverbial that the umpires in the game, particularly Tony Hill, are down on confidence. Missing the Root edge was indicative of that and they really need to lift their game today to avoid one of the teams being disadvantaged by the terrible decision that one senses is not far around the corner.
Play starts at 8pm Australian time.