Ryan Harris helped Australia edge the morning session against England taking key wickets of Root & Pietersen.
Steven Finn made way for Tim Bresnan in the England side, the only change. Early signs of pace and bounce in the wicket may make them rue that decision. "Finn might have been a more attacking option for England on this pitch" remarked former England captain Andrew Strauss from the commentary box.
Australia made two changes with Usman Khawaja and Ryan Harris replacing Ed Cowan and Mitchell Starc. Whilst Cowan decision was an unsurprising one, Starc's omission raised a few eyebrows. Perhaps the Australians were looking to rotate the fast bowlers and bring in some fresh legs.
Morning session summary
Lively start from bowlers didn't prevent an early flurry of runs, 18 coming off the first 4 overs. Clarke surprised everyone by bringing Watson on after only two Pattinson overs. Michael Atherton commented this was an attempted show of solidarity after Mickey Arthur had revealed a possible rift between the two players earlier in the week. Clarke probably wanted Watson to use the slower pace of Watson to utilize early morning swing. It worked a treat as Watson swung one back into Cook's pads, trapping him LBW for 12. Harris justified his inclusion by bowling wicket to wicket and trapping Joe Root and Kevin Pietersen to leave England at 28-3 after just 6 overs.
Trott and Bell then compiled a patient half century partnership in the next 20 overs to wrestle back some initiative, getting England to 80-3.
Man of the session
Ryan Harris: Running into bowl appears to be an almighty struggle for Harris, but his accuracy of line and length was unquestionable. He took the huge wicket of Kevin Pietersen, always a key wicket to take given his ability to win games single handedly.
Cook wicket: In an inspired change of tactic, Michael Clarke replaced Pattinson with Shane Watson very early. The change brought instant success. England have struggled when they lose Cook early. Bell and Trott have batted well but England are still reeling from losing their inspirational skipper.
Thanks for coming award
Joe Root: Harris drew KP forward with a delivery that was on a perfect length and moved away just enough to take a faint edge. Joe Root on the other hand just missed a straight one. Graham Gooch needs to get the young batsman into the nets as his technique was horribly exposed once more. Root needs to learn how to keep those full straight ones out, if he wants to continue to open the batting at Test level.
Early wickets after lunch, the Aussies will be looking for them and England will be avoiding them. Pattinson and Siddle could come out all guns blazing. Trott looked uneasy against the short ball. Trust Pattinson to bowl a few rib ticklers at England's Rahul Dravid.
image: © Greg Smith