Man of the day

Perhaps it was because it was a Sunday, perhaps it was because for once during this uncharacteristically hot English summer, the sun didn't come out. Whatever the reason, day four of the third Ashes Test never really seemed to get going.

Last Updated: 04/08/13 at 18:40 Post Comment

There were more than 270 runs before rain ended proceedings early, the most important 34 of them coming at the start of the morning as England avoided the follow-on before finally being bowled out for 368.

With a first-innings advantage of 159 Australia opted to promote David Warner to the top of the order. It was a move that not only showed their intent to score quick runs but also delighted the crowd.

Once he had aimed a blow at Joe Root in a Birmingham bar, Warner was consigned to become the new 'target' for England supporters (somebody had to replace the absent Mitchell Johnson, didn't they?).

After being sent to Africa, rather than Coventry, to find some form, he was recalled at Old Trafford. He has responded during the match to any barbs coming his way with a smile, as well as the odd wave to the paying public.

Every time he comes out to bat he will be greeted by boos (Steve Smith also got a chorus of them when he emerged from the pavilion in the first innings at no 5, simply because he was thought to be Warner). When he fields a ball in the outfield he is also booed. It all has a pantomime feel to it and the left-hander is very much the villain of the piece.

Asked to bat at six first time around, Warner lasted just 10 deliveries. Starting against spin was never going to be easy and he nicked Graeme Swann to depart for five, even if he thought differently and reviewed the decision believing he'd hit his pad, not the ball.

Root-ed out

If his first-innings dismissal was perhaps slightly embarrassing due to the DRS call, his departure second time around was just what England fans, and newspaper sub-editors, wanted, as he was caught out by Root.

The fielder punched the air in delight at clinging on out at deep square leg, though nothing should be read into that celebration.

What perhaps can be analysed is Warner's return to opening. It is the position in which he feels most comfortable - and one from which he has made his three Test centuries to date - and could allow the out-of-sorts Shane Watson to drop down the order whilst he struggles with some technical issues.

Warner is a fighter (sorry, couldn't resist) and seemed to relish the chance to face up to the new ball again. He was a little scratchy in truth, struggling particularly to time his horizontal bat shots.

England thought he'd nicked an attempted pull off Stuart Broad but 'Hot Spot' showed nothing (despite the home side continuing to ask the on-field umpires).

He definitely, though, made contact with a bouncer from Tim Bresnan when on 41, only to pick out Root. That's right; Root was on the end of a Warner hook. Let's wait to see what Monday's newspapers make of that.

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S

terling needs to be told though that upon entering the Arsenal squad he will re-enact the final scene from Highlander where he will be thrown around a warehouse by cartoon dragons and then be a mere mortal that will only ever spend three to four weeks a season playing football and the rest on the physio's bed. There can be only one.....player available at The Emirates.

rodger's gusset
Arsenal interest in Sterling

T

he game changed in our favour when Carrick came on. We were able to play further up the pitch due to having a player who can give and go with the ball and keep possession. Yet barkley made some runs and Townsend scored a good goal but carrick's inclusion and chiellini's withdrawal made the biggest difference to the flow of the game

ricky villa
Hodgson: Barkley was brilliant

N

o, you've not silenced anyone Andros, i'm afraid. We know you can score a great goal, and it's really handy to have your direct running and willingness to shoot on the bench. But until you can do the other things expected of a winger (beat the man, put a decent cross in, stay wide etc) then you can't expect more than a regular cameo. Wonderful goal though, what a hit! No wonder Buffon wanted the shirt.

badwolf
Townsend: I've silenced critics

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