On a day when the SCG went pink in memory of Jane McGrath, Alastair Cook again looked in prime form as his plunder from the series rose to three hundreds and 766 runs. In the process, Cook became the 2nd highest run accumulator ever in a test series for England going past Denis Compton (753 vs South Africa in 1947) and his mentor Graham Gooch (752 against India in 1990 - in just three tests). Gooch is fond of the phrase 'Daddy' hundred to describe the importance of aiming big when a batsman passes 100. Cook has certainly done that in the series with scores of 235* at Brisbane, 148 at Adelaide and 189 here. And with Cook also passing John Edrich's record of batting 2,006 minutes in an Ashes series, he can ask Gooch 'who's the Daddy now?'
From Sherminator to Terminator
After 18 Tests and 12 scores of 50 plus, Ian Bell finally got to three figures against Australia. In the process, he enjoyed the luck he perhaps hasn't previously in the Ashes. First, a decision to give him out caught behind off an inside edge when he had 67 was contentiously over-ruled on review when hot-spot failed to spot a mark on the bat. Then on 84, he was dropped by Steve Smith off a sharp caught and bowled chance. But as throughout the series, Bell's innings was one of the highest class and came when England needed it - countering all the old arguments that Bell only scores runs when the pressure is off. When he came in, England were still 49 runs behind, but when he was out just before the close, he walked off with his side in complete command. As Shane Warne joked on-air, Bell has gone from sherminator to terminator.
Pup whimpers for Glenn on Jane McGrath Day
It was wonderful to see the support from players, supporters and broadcasters alike for Jane McGrath - although we're not sure about Nasser Hussain's shocking pink suit, but Michael Clarke may suggest simply re-naming day 3 at the SCG 'McGrath Day'. With Glenn McGrath so omnipresent on this day in particular, Pup will have been forgiven if he spent most of the day whimpering for the former all-time great to be in his attack. The fact that Shane Watson looked Australia's most dangerous seamer said everything and Clarke even had to turn to Mike Hussey for an over before tea. With Australia's next Test assignment being in Sri Lanka things are unlikely to get any better for Clarke's impotent attack.
What is the point of Steve Smith?
We're not quite sure what Steve Smith is supposed to be, and neither so it would seem is Clarke. With Smith demoted to seven in the order for this Test, it would seem that the selectors have him down as an all-rounder. But he failed with the bat again and then Clarke didn't turn to him with the ball until the England innings was over 100 overs old. When he failed to hold on to the admittedly difficult caught and bowled chance from Bell, it dawned on us that Smith could well be the first f***-all-rounder in Test history. As D-Ream once sang, 'Things Can Only Get Better' for the youngster.
Third time lucky for Beer could spell doom for Colly
Twice Michael Beer thought he had his first test wicket and both times he was foiled by the video umpire correctly reprieving Cook on 46 and 99. So it was hardly surprising that he gave a quick look at the umpire before celebrating the wicket of Paul Collingwood. A case of third time lucky for Beer, but not for Collingwood who probably hasn't had a worse taste in his mouth since he last sampled some of the local Australian brew. We're big fans of Colly here at the Reverse Sweep, but even we're not confident that we'll see him drinking again at the Test Tavern now.
Player of the day
Alastair Cook has broken more records on this trip than a pious Radio 1 DJ who had been given a stack of gangsta rap vinyl, and he shares the plaudits with Ian Bell who finally removed that Ashes monkey from his back. Their partnership of 154 transformed a game that had been in the balance to one where England are now utterly dominant.
Zero of the day
Although there were plenty of candidates amongst the Australian bowlers, it has to be Phillip Hughes. You could tell from his initial reaction that he knew that he hadn't caught Cook when he was on 99, but instead of asking the umpires to check the video he got carried away with the appeals of his team-mates. Did he really think that the footage would miss the obvious bounce before the ball went into his hands?
What happens next?
With the lead already 208, Australia's hopes of squaring the series are gone. England will likely try and bat until lunch before even considering a declaration with Matt Prior hoping to top the 85 he made in Melbourne. With the pitch likely to deteriorate, Australia will do well to combat Graeme Swann and avoid what seems a likely defeat.
Day 2 @ Sydney: England progress after Johnson's sting in the tail
Day 1 @ Sydney: Rain interrupts war of attrition
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