Ashes 2013: Ian Bell, Stuart Broad help England wrest control of 1st Test on controversial Day 3

The Australians appealing to umpire Aleem Dar (right) for Stuart Broad’s (not seen) wicket. Broad had appeared to have nicked the ball to first slip, but the appeal was turned down by the umpire © Getty Images

By Jaideep Vaidya
Jul 12, 2013
Controversy was back to hound the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge on Day Three in the form of umpire Aleem Dar and England all-rounder Stuart Broad, who appeared to have nicked the ball before it hit wicketkeeper Brad Haddin’s gloves and deflected into the hands of Michael Clarke at first slip. However, to the utter shock of 11 Australians on the field and a few more in the dressing room, Dar did not see it and turned down the appeal.
The Australians had exhausted all their Decision Review System (DRS) referrals for the innings, having wasted one on Jonny Bairstow earlier, and were understandably incensed. Broad, for all his cherubic boy-next-door looks, put on a poker face and carried on with his game. It was the second DRS-related incident in the match, after Jonathan Trott was given out to an inside edge on Day Two that Hot Spot failed to catch. You win some, you lose some, goes the saying. Both sides have now benefitted from umpiring and technological errors, but Australia would consider themselves to have gotten the rough side of the deal as Broad (47 not out) went on to share a potentially match-winning unbeaten 108-run seventh-wicket partnership with Ian Bell (95 not out) to take England to stumps on Day Three at 326 for six, with a healthy lead of 261 runs.
The incident provided for an interesting final hour of the day with the Australians charged up and throwing everything including the kitchen sink at the two Englishmen. However, Bell and Broad were stubborn as ever in their resistance and occupied the crease like they were guarding the Crown Jewels. Bell, who had just one half-century to his name in his last 10 Test innings prior to this one, fashioned a responsible knock, playing second fiddle to Matt Prior’s aggressive innings at first before guiding Broad along to take England to safety. When he reached his half-century in the second session, it made him the 14th Englishman to cross 6,000 runs in Test cricket.

Earlier, in the morning session, England lost both their overnight batsmen, Kevin Pietersen (64) and Alastair Cook (50), after the duo brought up their 13th century stand in Test cricket. Pietersen and Cook had provided England with a steady start and negotiated the nervy first hour of play well. Pietersen was looking confident and struck a few glorious boundaries before bringing up his 31st Test half-century. However, at the stroke of the hour, the talismanic batsman chopped James Pattinson‘s fullish delivery wide of off-stump onto his middle stump to end a responsible knock.
Cook, meanwhile, had begun to show his first signs of aggression as he approached his half-century, which was brought up in 164 balls, equaling his slowest ever. But the England captain was to fall soon after as he nicked Ashton Agar to first slip to give the teenager his first Test wicket. The left-arm spinner got a second in the afternoon session after finding Bairstow’s edge less than half an hour after lunch. Wicketkeeper-batsman Prior then launched a counterattack and scored a quick 31 before his aggression got the better of him. England took tea at 230 for six, with a lead of 165 but not completely in the safety zone.

Fortunately for the home team, an under-pressure Bell decided to show and took the game away from the Australians, with some help from Broad and Dar.
Brief scores:

England 215 and 326 for 6 (Ian Bell 95*, Kevin Pietersen 64; Mitchell Starc 2 for 66, Ashton Agar 2 for 82) lead Australia 280 (Phil Hughes 81*, Ashton Agar 98; James Anderson 5 for 85) by 261 runs.
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(Jaideep Vaidya is a correspondent at CricketCountry. A diehard Manchester United fan and sports buff, you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook)