Australia reinforced their dominance of the third Test on day two at Old Trafford to post a commanding first innings total of 527, as England’s bowlers got little encouragement from a kind batting track before going on to lose two wickets in the evening session.
Australia are now 11/8 to win the Test, with England 14/1 and the draw a 4/6 shot. Judging by the nature of the wicket over the first two days the latter should garner much attention.
Steve Smith reached 89 before playing a loose shot to get caught off Swann, while pantomime villain David Warner went caught behind to the spinner soon after – the batsman proving unsuccessful with a quite baffling review.
Michael Clarke was eventually dismissed for 187, playing on to Broad. The captain had delivered in emphatic fashion, making it nigh on impossible for England to win the Test and wrap up the series in Manchester.
Brad Haddin came in and accrued apace – six of the keeper’s Test half-centuries have come against England – before Mitchell Starc hit 50 off 53 balls in what was a hugely profitable afternoon session for the tourists. Australia eventually declared on 527/7, Starc finishing unbeaten on 66, Haddin likewise on 65. Swann was the pick of England’s bowlers with figures of 5-159.
Cook and Root progressed at a slow pace due to some excellent pressure bowling from Darren Lehmann’s side; Nathan Lyon more than vindicated his inclusion as Australia’s spin option, and could have had Cook caught behind in his first over.
Australia gained the wicket their efforts deserved when Peter Siddle had Root caught behind for 8, prompting England to send Tim Bresnan in as a nightwatchman with half an hour to play – the Yorkshireman was incorrectly adjudged to have edged a pull off Siddle with just a run to his name.
Deciding not to review, Jonathan Trott joined Cook at the crease, leaving England 52-2 at the close of play in a Test that looks increasingly beyond them.
Cook certainly tempts at 2/7 to amass the further 14 runs required to reach his 50, while Trott is 6/4 to achieve that same feat. Both are 5/6 to be the next England batsman dismissed.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing