Sunday, August 11, 2013

Durham Day 3

While it’s safe to assume we might get a question or two answered during Day Four at Durham the big issue is whether any additional questions raise their heads.

At the moment, after Day Three with England just over 200 to the good, you’d have to say things are delicately poised, but we’re not too far off the point where, on this wicket and under the conditions that seem to have run through the season at the venue, doable morphs into difficult.

Get the target up around 300 and difficult will turn into extremely tricky, and run it a bit further than that and we’re probably looking at virtually impossible.

Those calculations, by the way, would seem to apply to any batting line up.

The best score on the ground this season, and, unless I’m mistaken, the only first class score beyond 300 is the 6-339 Yorkshire put together in the fourth innings of their match against the local side, which was built around 182 from Root, who was dismissed just short of the target.

Bresnan came out and slapped the first ball he faced for four, securing the win, but the other double digit scores on the innings were 39, 26, 21 and 50.

So if there’s going to be a target near 300 here, someone is going to have to bat very long. Root needed 375 minutes and 283 balls to amass that score, and if we’re looking at a successful chase someone in a batting lineup that hasn’t demonstrated a great deal of stickability will need to get the head down and grind it out.

The key bit, in the morning at least, will be grabbing those last five English wickets, with the big question mark going over Watson’s fitness.

The time it takes to wind up the innings might not be as important as the runs that get added in the process, but with two days to play and fifteen wickets to fall you’d have to assume there’ll be a result. The scoring rate seems to be around three an over, so if England last to drinks you’d figure the total will be around 280, and if they make it to lunch you can probably pencil in 330.

Keep on adding around fifty an hour until the innings closes and deduct Australia’s 32 run advantage on the first knock and there you’ll have the target. On that basis if England make it to lunch you’d have to assume they’re close to home safe.

As far as the chase goes you’d have to look at another big innings from Rogers if we’re going to mount a serious chase. That’s fine, he’ll be batting to ensure an ongoing role in the short to medium term future.

Warner may or may not be capable of grinding, so we’ll see whether he can get patience, shot selection and stickability together. If he can bat long he’s capable of murdering anything loose, so if the head can go down...

Khawaja needs to deliver an innings similar to the one he managed on a minefield at Bellerive early in the last Australian season, and while you’d assume he’s still safe for the final Test here he’s definitely batting for his place in the side over the next three innings.

There aren’t too many question marks over Clarke, but Smith will also be looking to secure a place in the longer term, while we’ll just have to wait and see what happen with Watson’s groin as far as batting goes. On that basis the longer the top order can bat the better it has to look as far as he’s concerned.

So, with two days to go, we’ve got plenty to look at. What we don’t need are too many additional questions

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