England lost the wicket of Jonathan Trott just before tea was taken on Day Three of the fifth Ashes 2013 Test at The Oval. England are at 181 for three with Kevin Pietersen batting on 29 and Ian Bell on four. They trail Australia by 311 runs in their first innings. Joe Root was the other batsman to be dismissed in the session for 68.
The session began with James Faulkner being brought into the attack as England’s score was 97 for one. He proved a little wayward as his wide delivery was slashed by Root past the gully region for a four. Then a few balls later, a full delivery outside off-stump was driven by Root in the mid-off region to get another four. England crossed the 100-run mark with those boundaries.
As soon as Root and Trott added 50 runs for the second wicket, Nathan Lyon struck. The increasingly confident Root top-edged a sweep and Shane Watson took a simple catch at short fine-leg. The ball just bounced a little more than usual.
Pietersen was the new batsman and he opened his scoring with a gorgeous straight drive for four through mid-off of Mitchell Starc. Trott then almost gifted his wicket as he flicked a short-of-a-length delivery from Starc to the leg side. The ball just landed in front of Siddle at long-leg. By this time Lyon was getting the ball to spin and bounce.
Pietersen then flirted with his running. First he pushed a full delivery from Starc to short extra-cover and took off for a single. David Warner picked the ball up, turned while jumping and threw in mid-air and struck the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Aleem Dar referred it to the third umpire, but Pietersen had grounded his bat and was in. Then a few overs later he pushed a Lyon delivery towards mid-on and went for another single. Again Warner was the fielder, but this time his throw went way over the stumps and Pietersen was safe despite being short by a long distance.
In between all the risky running, Pietersen was also finding it hard to read Lyon. He edged a delivery onto his pads and the ball just evaded Steven Smith at forward short-leg. Immediately he went hard at a length delivery next up and missed. The ball hit the pads, but Pietersen was slightly down the wicket and replays showed that it would have missed the leg-stump. Seeing the ball spin, Michael Clarke brought on Smith to bowl his leg-spin. Pietersen then impatiently stepped out slightly and sliced a low full-toss over the bowler’s head for a four.
Trott then pushed a short delivery from Smith to get a four through mid-wicket. It was clear that both the batsmen were trying to target Smith. As tea was approaching, Clarke brought Starc into the attack and he struck immediately as Trott was given out leg-before. The batsman asked for the review, but replays showed that the ball was hitting the stumps after pitching in line with the leg-stump. Ian Bell was the new batsman and got off the mark with a four towards the point region.
Tea was taken as England’s score was at 181 for three. Pietersen was batting on 29 and Bell was on four.
Australia 492 for 9 decl. (Shane Watson 176, Steven Smith 138*, Ryan Harris 33; James Anderson 4 for 95, Graeme Swann 2 for 95) lead England 181 for three (Joe Root 68, Jonathan Trott 40, Kevin Pietersen 29*) by 311 runs.
(Shrikant Shankarpreviously worked with Mobile ESPN, where he did audio commentary for many matches involving India, Indian Premier League and Champions League Twenty20. He has also written many articles involving other sports for ESPNSTAR.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Shrikant_23)