Smith made light of the dried out pitch to make 142 before Chris Woakes finally required his wicket, but by the harm got already been done then. England ended your day on 13 without loss but it’s Australia who are in the driving seat heading in to the final day of play on Monday.
Sportsmail columnist DAVID LLOYD appears back again at a annoying day for England on day four of the first Ashes Test. I did so the pitch statement for day four and it was displaying signs of deterioration and was unbelievably dried out. It probably started too dried out and breaks were needs to appear.
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It was a genuine test of concentration, application and skill as soon as again Steve Smith exceeded with soaring colors. But day four actually turned out to be the best day to bat so far – perhaps because England’s spinner in Moeen Ali was so below par – and history tells you that is frequently the case here.
Stats for Edgbaston tell you wickets average 40 a piece on day four of the Test which is higher than the first three. But it drops dramatically for day five! On Monday So all eyes will be on Nathan Lyon. He was out at tea and lunchtime looking at the pitch and it certainly will look tailor-made for him. He’s the most accomplished finger spinner in the world with 343 Test wickets and his perfect scenario is always to have works on the board to try out with and England seeking to survive on the worn pitch. He’s got the lot.
What a player Smith is and everything the talk in the commentary package among some world-class former players was how on earth do you get him out? Well, I reckon three who have fancied themselves would be Glenn McGrath, Curtly Courtney and Ambrose Walsh because they might have been relentless and dangerous accurate bowling at the ‘fourth-stump.’ With extra bounce too.
Enter Jofra Archer at Lord’s! England will obviously want Archer to be always a hundred % fit for your second Test in 10 days’ time but he only appears to have been bowling left-arm spin in the nets here at Edgbaston. At least he’s playing another team game for Sussex on Tuesday and which will be crucial.
If it’s not him it offers to be Olly Stone. It’s clear England need that bit of extra pace. They also may need another spinner because Moeen has been out of types completely. I’ve never seen him so devoid of confidence. There has been no snap in his action and it just seems he has something on his mind.
It could well be England freshen it up at Lord’s with Jack Leach – Smith hasn’t got quite such a fantastic record against left-arm spin! I’ve not been up to any antics in this Test because I am rushing back again to my hotel to watch the T20 Blast. I’ve seen a couple of cracking fits, too, with great crowds at Northants against Derbyshire and Lancashire against Notts. But there is certainly one big problem with the Blast – it’s too much time!