Australian fans found their voices towards the end of play as England lost 3 quick wickets for 11 runs.
Final Session Summary - 103-3 (36 overs)
Ian Bell and Jonny Bairstow continued their magnificent partnership after tea, frustrating the Australians on a baking hot afternoon in London. Bell reached his 3rd successive hundred against the Australians and Bairstow followed it up with a half century of his own. They'd successfully helped England recover from 127-4 with a defiant 144 run partnership before Bell's wicket began a mini collapse. England were reduced from 271-4 to 283-7 in 8 overs. They finished on 289-7 on a day in which the advantage shifted back and forth between the two sides. At stumps however it's the Australians that'll be the happier of the two camps going into day two.
Man of the Session
Steven Smith: Ian Bell easily dominated the previous session and had he seen his side home at stumps England would've found themselves in a very strong position. However Clarke's decision to delay taking the new ball and letting Smith carry on bowling paid great dividends. With a delivery that drifted in and then spun away sharply, smith lured an edge from Bell's blade, and it was easily taken by Clarke at slip. Bairstow scored a handy but scratchy 67 before tamely hitting a full toss back to Smith. And when Prior was deceived by a top spinner, edging to Haddin, Smith had swung the game firmly in Australia's favour.
Bell dismissal: With the new ball imminent, had the well set Bell stayed he would've scored quick runs tomorrow morning and a total of 350-400 was easily achievable. His dismissal put the brakes on England and with the Australian bowlers refreshed tomorrow, new ball in hand, it's likely they'll take the remaining wickets quickly.
End of day verdict
Australia won the battle of the sessions 2-1. Ryan Harris' accurate fast bowling helped the Aussies win the first session when they reduced England to 80-3 by lunch. Half centuries from Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott, plus a Siddle no ball then helped England wrestle back the initiative, winning the second session, recovering to 183-4 at tea. Smith then helped the visitors win the final session making Australia the happier of the two sides at stumps.
Prediction for morning session tomorrow?
I expect Australia to take early wickets in the morning. However if they do manage to bowl out England cheaply, not losing wickets is the only way they'll win the first session. England's chances of winning the morning session lie with Tim Bresnan and how long he can bat with the lower order. Broad did look much better with the bat in the second innings at Trent Bridge, but that was arguably down to the nature of the pitch and the ineffectiveness of the Aussie quicks on it. Even if they are bowled out cheaply, the home side will look to Anderson to provide early breakthroughs as always. The yoyo nature of the shift of balance on the first day's play means it's very difficult to predict the outcome of day 2. However that only goes to prove that this Test match is already turning out to be yet another gripping contest.
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