What a day. While the last session was very sedate compared to what preceded it the efforts of Cook and Pietersen to steady England should not be underestimated. Cook undoubtedly has the concentration to bat for long periods, and if Pietersen stays with his the scoring rate will no doubt be handsome.
Day two was initially all about Anderson and his richly deserved five-wicket haul, but it finished as a mere footnote in Australia's stunning comeback from 9-117 to all out for 280. It was a privilege to witness - yes, even on TV - debutant Ashton Agar's record-breaking innings. That he fell two runs' short of a century must not taint what was an incredible innings. Credit must also go to Phillip Hughes for a stoic unbeaten 81. He was mature enough to assume a supporting role in his 163-run partnership for the last wicket once he saw the form Agar was in.
Keep an eye on the website for a match report and news from Chloe Saltau, as well as analysis from our other pundits at Trent Bridge, Greg Baum and Malcolm Knox.
Thanks for reading. Again, I apologise profusely for the technical issues that prevented us from accepting comments today. I'll be impressing upon our boffins the importance of fixing this in time for day three.
STUMPS: Cook and Pietersen survive the last session unscathed to take England to 2-80 after 43 overs at the close, having so far put on 69 for the third wicket. Cook will resume on 37 (128 balls, 4 fours) with Pietersen on 35 (98 balls, 6 fours). The home team leads Australia by 15, with eight wickets in hand.
The two English victims, Joe Root and Jonathan Trott, fell in successive deliveries from Mitch Starc, who has been Australia's best bowler so far.
Cook bats out a maiden against Watson. This next over, from Siddle, likely to be the last of day two.
Clarke evidently an avid reader of this blog. Gives Watto an over before stumps; maybe two if all goes to plan.
Pietersen and Cook both looking completely unfussed at the moment. With only 15-odd minutes until stumps it'd be a shock if either of them departed.Back to top
Siddle replaces Starc for the last spell from one end. Again, Michael Clarke employing a short mid-on to Pietersen, so close he's only barely got his left foot off the pitch. England 2-79 in the 39th over.
Given Watson was asked to bowl a two-over spell before I'm assuming he's fit. On that basis I'd bring him back for a three-over spell now. Just can't work out from which end... probably Starc's.
Game just ambling along at the moment, No reason it can't though, as not even finished day two. Ample time to get a result, England can afford to be restrained. England 2-71.
Cook's third boundary for the innings, and first for 100 minutes, takes England to 2-67, eradicating Australia's first-innings lead. Good encouragement from Agar from next delivery though, spinning sharply into the left-hander from well outside his off-stump. Cook tried to play with soft hands, had to kick the ball away to ensure it did not roll on to his stumps.
Very tough chance goes begging. Agar gets the edge from Pietersen - on 25 - as he opened the face and tried to guide through slips. Haddin barely had time to react, with the ball thudding into his right pad. With the next ball Pietersen crunches a boundary to bring up his half-century partnership with Cook (25*). England 2-62.Back to top
Lefties from each end, with Agar now joining Starc. I think this is a good move as Cook is looking at ease versus the seamers. Also will enable the 19-year-old to again challenge himself against Pietersen.
Pattinson benched, replaced by Starc. I picked Pattinson as my bowler of the series - yes, despite the presence of Anderson - but so far have been underwhelmed. Was decent in the first innings and while he has been accurate today he hasn't forced the batsmen to play and miss, or nick, as much as I would have expected. England 2-57 in the 29th over.
Quite a lot of English cricketing types suggesting the ECB has sought clarification on the circumstances of Jonathan Trott's dismissal, lbw as part of DRS - presumably because the side-on Hot-Spot cameras was unavailable because it was in "play" mode rather than "record" mode. Can't do both simultaneously it seems. Don't understand their objection - from my vantage point on the couch the non-stumping of Agar more contentious than Trott's departure.
Thought Cook had looked very restrained of late. David Gower just corroborated that on the TV commentary; said he'd faced 27 dot balls in a row before the single off Siddle that brought up England's 50.
Drinks taken in the last session: England 2-49, with Cook 20* (72 balls, 2 fours) and Pietersen 21* (46 balls, 4 fours). Still trailing Australia by 16 runs.Back to top
Ricky's last stand.
Siddle just nagging away on the same line, good-length deliveries angling across the left-handed Cook. While Cook nicked off in that fashion in the first innings he's not looking likely to be so rash this time around.
Watson used for only two overs; replaced by James Pattinson.
Elsewhere, Ricky Ponting has just completed his sparkling first-class career with an unbeaten 169 for Surrey. As stats guru Mohandas Menon explains it was a helluva career.
First-class career Ricky Ponting 289 mts, 24150 runs (ave 55.90) 100s: 82 Sachin Tendulkar 307 mts, 25228 (ave 57.86) 100s: 81 #legends— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) July 11, 2013
Punter, the cricketing world thanks you. You were a gem to watch.
Partnership between Cook (20*) and Pietersen (20*) now up to 37, with England 2-48 and trailing by 17. Snaring one of these two before the deficit is overcome would be relished by Australia (well, it would be anytime, but particularly before its lead is erased).Back to top