England captain Alastair Cook leaves the field after being dismissed by Ryan Harris of Australia during day three of 4th Ashes Test at Durham ICG on August 11, 2013 in Chester-le-Street, England. (Getty Images)
Despite a lead of 202, there were still some grey areas that England needs to address quickly. Australia, on the other hand, toiled hard for most of the day for five of the opposition’s wickets.
For a side that is determined to square the series 2-2 and return home with their heads held high, it was a rather ordinary bowling performance on Day 3.
Here are the flops of the day:
Joe Root (2 runs off 19 balls)
The Yorkshire batsman seems to have gone from bad to worse. He got out to a perfect delivery from pacer Ryan Harris, trying to play for the angle to a length ball that straightened after pitching around off, eventually clipping the top of the off-stump.
18 runs in one Test match do not do justice to a player of Root’s calibre, especially when that player is opening the innings. Andy Flower will be very disappointed with the young man’s incorrect technique and inability to score runs.
Alastair Cook (1 catch; 22 runs off 37 balls – 3 fours)
The England skipper took a regulation catch to dismiss Peter Siddle off James Anderson’s bowling earlier in the day. He looked to be in good touch with the bat, but once again fell prey to the wide delivery outside off stump. Footwork is an essential component of a batsman’s technique, and Cook’s legs were nowhere near the pitch of the delivery.
The inability of their skipper to lay down a solid platform for the likes of Bell and Kevin Pietersen to launch their assault on the Australian bowlers is hurting England. Once again, Flower will have to talk some sense into the left-hander, for his lean patch is beginning to trouble his side at the top of the order.
Peter Siddle (0/40 in 12 overs)
The Victorian fast bowler hasn’t really fired in this match at all. He has bent his back a lot, but hasn’t been able to deliver the partnership-breakers for a long time now.
Siddle has been guilty of spraying the ball at times, as the two consecutive boundaries struck by Pietersen suggest. Siddle can reverse the red cherry, but hasn’t been able to do that in this game. His away-going deliveries have been few and far in between.
Ryan Harris hasn’t had too much support from either him or spinner Nathan Lyon, though the latter has taken a couple of wickets in England’s second innings.
Siddle needs to step up his game soon and with Shane Watson out injured, it will add on to his workload. If Australia are to save this Test, they will need him to come out firing on all cylinders.