The Ashes 2013: 1st Test, Day 3 - Five players to watch out for
The second day of the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge was full of surprises.
The 19-year-old Ashton Agar who raised eyebrows for his surprise selection did not need to contribute much with the ball, but he bailed out Australia from a catastrophic situation with the willow.
The last batsman on the Australian team sheet looked much more comfortable than most top-order batsmen against the likes of Steven Finn and Graeme Swann as he broke the record for the highest score by a number eleven batsman in Test match history. He was well supported by Phil Hughes at the other end as the partnership took Australia from 117/9 to a total of 280.
Australia managed to take some advantage of the 65-run lead as they made early inroads in the English line-up. Mitchell Starc played his part in the first innings in an understated manner, but he struck two lusty blows to the English batting order upfront in the second innings.
He was lucky to get the wicket of Joe Root who edged a ball that was going down the leg-side, whereas Jonathan Trott was controversially dismissed off his very first delivery after he was trapped leg-before wicket. The decision-review system was brought into play, but the side angle of hot-spot being unavailable, the umpire gave the decision in favour of the bowler. However, Mitchell Starc deserves the credit for being on the money on the very first ball to the new batsman.
The third day of the match is likely to decide the fate of this encounter. England have eradicated the Australian lead and will start Day 3 from a score of 80/2. Here is a list of five players who will play a major part in the action of Day 3:
5. Matthew Prior
The wicket-keeper batsman disappointed in the first innings as he was dismissed playing an extravagant shot to the bowling of Peter Siddle. He could only get a single run in that innings.
Prior has been a vital cog in the English wheel in their last two successive Ashes victories, batting in the lower-middle order. He has the ability to get quick runs once he has settled in his stride and can bat with tail-end batsman.
That job becomes all the more critical when England’s tail is failing to show the patience and the skill required to get those additional 80-100 runs. He will be hoping that Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen wither out the first two hours of the day’s play so that it becomes a lot easier for him and the likes of Ian Bell and Jonny Bairstow.