Stuart Broad complicated Australia’s bid for victory in the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, with both bat and ball as England avoided the follow-on yesterday.
First Broad made a fluent 32 as he shared an eighth-wicket stand of 58 with Matt Prior (30) that ensured Australia would have to bat again in a match the tourists have to win to stand any chance of regaining the Ashes.
The pair then combined to remove Australia opener Chris Rogers for just 12 when Broad took the left-hander’s outside edge and wicketkeeper Prior, diving in front of first slip, held a good catch.
At lunch, Australia were 24-1 in their second innings, a lead of 183 runs after they dismissed England for 368.
David Warner, a noted one-day opener, was sent in at the top of the innings instead of all-rounder Shane Watson in a bid to score quick runs after missing the first two Tests of the series after being banned for his bar-room attack on England’s Joe Root in June. He was 12 not out, while Usman Khawaja was on nought.
Australia captain Michael Clarke, who made 187 in his side’s first innings 527-7 declared, faced a tricky dilemma.
He knew that as long as Australia batted in their second innings they were reducing the amount of time they would have to bowl England out again, but he also knew too early a declaration could give England a chance of victory in a match so far largely dominated by Australia.
England resumed on 294-7 after Kevin Pietersen’s impressive 113 on Saturday and needing 34 more runs to make Australia bat again, with Prior 6 not out and Broad 9 not out.
Clarke opened the bowling yesterday with off-spinner Nathan Lyon, a move that made sense given that England’s eighth-wicket duo, who have eight Test centuries between them, both prefer the ball coming on to the bat.
That was demonstrated in the second over when Prior drove a Ryan Harris outswinger through the covers for four and when Harris dropped short, Prior hooked him for four in front of square to take England to 300.
Left-handed batsman Broad later cover-drove Lyon in classic fashion for a well-struck four.
Frustratingly for Australia, Broad twice edged Harris through gaps in the slip cordon for four and then drove him off the back foot for a far more convincing boundary to ensure England avoided the follow-on, but his enterprising innings ended when he edged Lyon to Haddin, having scored all but four of his runs in boundaries.
Broad, who controversially stood his ground in the first Test when he got a much thicker edge to slip, only for the umpire to give him not out, walked off without waiting for New Zealand’s Tony Hill to raise his finger.
Prior was last man out when he top-edged a pull off Peter Siddle to Warner at point to give the paceman figures of four for 63 in 29.3 overs.
On Saturday, Pietersen said he was facing rehab work on his knee problem for the rest of his career after becoming England’s leading run scorer across all international formats.
It has been a largely frustrating year for Pietersen, sidelined for several months after returning home early from England’s tour of New Zealand in March with a knee injury.
Then a calf problem he suffered during England’s mammoth 347-run second Test win over Australia at Lord’s last month left Pietersen doubtful for the third Test.
Pietersen said he had contemplated an operation, but that it would have meant yet more time out of action.