Michael Clarke

Michael Clarke missed his double century by 13 runs against England at Old Trafford © Getty Images

By Sarang Bhalerao

Aug  2, 2013

Australia scored 507 for 7 at the end of second session of the third Test against England at Old Trafford. Graeme Swann (5 for 149) was pick of the bowler as he bowled tirelessly on a placid track. Michael Clarke was dismissed for 187 which is his highest score overseas in 46 Test matches.  Brad Haddin and Mitchell Starc’s eighth wicket unbeaten stand of 77 ensured Australia got to the 500-run mark.

Haddin (57 not out) and Starc (54 not out) piled on the runs after Australia looked like losing their way in the first hour of the post-lunch session. But the duo ensured that Australia got to a strong position courtesy of their sense of purpose. Starc started his innings with a slog-sweep over mid-wicket. He then chipped Swann over deep mid-wicket for another four. There was an in and out field employed by Cook which ensured that Starc took singles with ease. There was a similar field to Haddin as well.

The best shot of the session was an on the up drive towards mid-on against James Anderson. The ball raced to the boundary like a bullet thus showing the batting prowess of Starc and the confidence of Australia batting on the placid track and against the quality English attack. The session belonged to Australia as they added 115 runs in the session.

The first hour saw England making early inroads. Clarke was the first to fall in the second session as he tried to guide Stuart Broad’s incoming delivery towards third-man. Clarke bottom-edged the delivery into his stumps thus giving Broad his 200th Test wicket.

Soon after Clarke’s dismissal Peter Siddle attempted a wild slog against Swann and had his stumps rattled which brought the England back in the game.

As has been the case with Australian batting the tail has wagged. In the first Test Ashton Agar’s 98 was one of the highlights of the Australian Ashes campaign. At Old Trafford Mitchell Starc was the played an enterprising knock. Australia counterattacked after the fall of seventh wicket. Haddin was intent on playing his shots while Mitchell Starc too took on the England bowling. He started his innings with a slog-sweep off Swann for a four.

In the first session Australia scored 89 runs and lost two wickets. Steven Smith missed his maiden Test century by 11 runs while David Warner scored only five runs. For England, Swann got prodigious turn on many occasions and troubled Australian batsmen especially with the variable bounce.

Australia might well look to declare their innings before the close of the day’s play and apply pressure on the tired English team.

Brief scores:

Australia 507 for 7 (Chris Rogers 84, Michael Clarke 187, Steven Smith 89; Graeme Swann 5 for 149) vs England.

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(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)