Steve Smith‘s decision to not enforce the follow on got the tick of approval from former captain Mark Taylor, who said that load management and the amount of time remaining in the match were key in making the call.
Taylor said he wasn’t surprised that Smith elected to bat again, but and said it was always unlikely that they’d send England back out once their score passed 200.
“They looked at it thought ‘well it’s either tonight and then tomorrow night with the second new ball, or we wait a day and do it with a big lead’,” he told Wide World of Sports.
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“I think it’s more about player workload than anything else; it’s also quite a congested series with no big gaps between Tests matches.”
Instead, Australia braved the bright lights and comfortably saw off the English new ball — save for a mix up that saw David Warner run out.
The home side will look to push the lead beyond 400 tomorrow, before an expected declaration late in the day.
“I’m thinking probably two sessions, let’s say that’s 55 overs (or the rate England bowl at, maybe only 50). A lead of 280 at the moment, if you make 150 to 170 tomorrow you’re leading by 450, and giving yourself two good opportunities under lights with the new ball to take a 2-0 lead and all but win the Ashes.”
The former captain said that Australia never stopped believing that they were only one or two good balls away from turning the tide of the day, despite the fine starts made by Joe Root and Dawid Malan.
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“Seriously, it’s chalk and cheese looking at the two sides in the field,” Taylor said.
“There’s a real lethargy in this England side. They haven’t shown anything in the field, or with the ball and I think that’s cascaded through to their batting.
“You look at Australia today and even though England played well in that first session, Australia still came out with plenty of energy and you always felt that if they got one wicket they’d turn it into two, three, or four — and they did.”
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