Live Commentary: The Ashes: Third Test, day two - as it happened

Live Commentary: The Ashes: Third Test, day two - as it happened
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Relive Sports Mole's text commentary of day two of the third Test between England and Australia at Old Trafford.

Australia started day two of the third Test against England looking to build on a positive opening day at Old Trafford.

Beginning the day on 303-3, the tourists continued to take advantage of the friendly batting conditions as both Michael Clarke (187) and Steve Smith (89) added to their overnight totals.

Graeme Swann recorded figures of 5-159, but unbeaten half-centuries from Brad Haddin (65*) and Mitchell Starc (66*) helped Australia to a total of 527-7 before Clarke declared shortly after tea.

Peter Siddle took two crucial late wickets to reduce England to 52-2, a deficit of 475, at the close of play.

Read below to find out how events unfolded on day two.

10.30amGood morning. We finally saw the best of Australia yesterday. Michael Clarke (125*) brought his best to Old Trafford to guide his team to 303-3 at the close of play. England will be desperate for a breakthrough this morning.

10.31amSteve Smith was the perfect partner for his captain yesterday as he gave us another glimpse of how much he has improved as a cricketer over the last couple of years. He will begin the day on 70*.

10.33amWe've had some rain overnight, and this morning, at Old Trafford but the conditions look good at the moment and the pitch still looks perfect for batting.

10.35amChris Rogers provided the platform for the tourists yesterday with his fluent 84 at the top of the order. The Middlesex ace came into this match under some pressure but that innings will surely secure his place.

10.38amEngland didn't bowl too badly yesterday, considering the position they find themselves in this morning. Stuart Broad was better than his figures of 0-80 from 21 overs suggest. Graeme Swann battled well for his 2-82. It's a flat pitch and Australia are finally taking advantage.

10.40amWe've seen Australia perform poorly on good batting pitches already in this series. It was a different attitude yesterday. They batted positively but their shot selection was excellent, which is something we haven't seen too often this summer.

10.43amClarke was teaching us all how to bat against spin yesterday. The Australian skipper had an answer for everything Swann delivered and his performance against the slower bowler was certainly the highlight on Thursday.

10.46amIt's quite simple for England this morning. They must take wickets in the first hour of the day. The second new ball is only 10 overs old, so James Anderson and Stuart Broad should get some movement this morning.

10.48amIf Clarke gets in again this morning, it could be another long day for England's bowlers. The visiting skipper often makes big scores once he passes three figures in Test cricket.

10.52amThere is a chance of some showers at some point today. There's a few dark clouds close by but I'm assured that any stoppage would be a short one, hopefully.

10.55amPlay is around five minutes away now. Australia begin the day on 303-3. Clarke 125* Smith 70*

10.58amBoth teams are back out on the pitch. Alastair Cook needs a big first hour from his bowlers. The current partnership is worth 174. Anderson will bowl the first over of the morning.

AUS 304-3Decent start for Anderson. Three dot balls are followed by a delivery which nips back slightly to catch the inside edge, allowing Smith to collect his first run of the morning. Anderson persists with a straight line to Clarke, who defends well.

AUS 304-3It's now been 45 overs since Broad has taken a wicket. He'll get another chance to claim his 200th Test victim now.

AUS 307-3Broad begins with a very full delivery to Smith, who does well to guide the ball through third-man and pick up three runs. Clarke attempts to pierce the field on the off-side on two occasions but some sharp work from Jonny Bairstow denies him a run. Broad finds a bit of extra bounce to beat the bat just as Clarke was thinking about an expansive cut shot.

AUS 312-3First-class cover drive from Smith to earn four early in Anderson's over. The bowler settles on a great length following the boundary and he almost sneaks through the defence when Smith edges the ball onto his pads. Smith pushes another run through extra cover to keep the strike.

AUS 312-3Broad looks to be in good rhythm so far this morning. His pace is good but Smith is in no mood to give his wicket away by playing needlessly outside the off-stump. Maiden over.

AUS 312-3Anderson is getting some movement back in towards Clarke, who continues to trust the pace of the pitch as he allows the ball to pass over his stumps. The bowler adjusts his length later in the over but there's no false shot from the touring captain.

AUS 312-3Smith plays some good shots in Broad's over but he can't pick the gaps on either side of the wicket. Broad isn't finding the same movement in the air as Anderson, but it's a good over nonetheless. That's the third maiden in a row.

AUS 320-3Clarke plays a rare loose drive outside off-stump but he's safe as the ball sails through a gap wide of second slip. Four more runs to the centurion. Clarke displays far better timing with a back foot cut through the off-side for another boundary. Anderson's face paints a picture of frustration. England are desperate for a wicket.

AUS 321-3Bresnan is brought into the attack for the first time to replace Broad. Smith gets off strike with a single to wide mid-on early in the over. Bresnan goes very straight to Clarke, who blocks out the remaining deliveries. Good start for the Yorkshire bowler. Clarke 133* Smith 80*

AUS 326-3More frustration for Anderson. There's a big appeal for lbw when Smith is struck on the pad. However, the umpire signals a no-ball due to Anderson hitting the bails with his hand during his action. He can thank Steven Finn for that rule. It wasn't lbw, so don't panic England fans. Smith pushes a single through the covers and Clarke nudges a run behind square on the leg-side. A late cut brings two more to third-man for Smith.

AUS 331-3Clarke drives through the air, with the ball dropping just short of Anderson at extra cover. The Australian skipper takes advantage of the block to pick up two runs. Close! Clarke plays the same shot and almost finds Swann, who fails to take a very difficult chance at short cover. A single to deep mid-wicket brings up the 200 partnership between these two. That's a great effort. Smith then adds two more through square-leg.

AUS 333-3Broad is back into the attack following a short break. I think it could be time for some short bowling to Clarke. The batsman is struck in the stomach by a fierce delivery, but he's alert enough to sneak a leg-bye. Smith steers a single past point to rotate the strike again. No more short balls for Clarke from Broad. It could be a good tactic though at some stage soon. Clarke 137* Smith 86*

AUS 333-3Bresnan is Mr Dependable for England. His accuracy really is something to be admired. Smith is happy to sit deeper in his crease to defend against the seamer when the ball is doing so little. It's a maiden over.

AUS 335-3It's all a bit easy for Australia at the moment. Clarke guides a single to deep point. Smith miscues a pull shot and still manages to cruise a run. It could be time for Swann very soon.

AUS 341-3Smith nudges the ball towards mid-on and reacts well to complete a single. Clarke plays the latest of cut shots but his effort is stopped by Root, who is placed at about third slip. More woe for England as Clarke mistimes a lofted shot but still manages to get the ball over Anderson at mid-off. Four more to Clarke. Five runs and a no-ball from the over. It's time for a drinks break. Clarke 142* Smith 88*

AUS 341-3There's been a couple of risky shots from Clarke in the first hour but it's been Australia's morning so far. Smith is edging closer to a well deserved century and this is the most desperate we've seen England during this series.

AUS 343-3Swann is into the attack for the first time this morning. Smith uses his feet immediately to nudge a single to long-on. Clarke plays a defensive shot but a good call from his partner allows another run to be taken. There's some extra bounce for Swann but an inside edge goes wide of Bell at short-leg.


AUS 343-4Where did that come from? Smith has batted sensibly throughout his innings but he misses out on a brilliant century when he skies an ugly slog-sweep. Bairstow steadies himself and takes a good catch. Jeers can be heard all around Old Trafford. Guess who? David Warner has arrived.

AUS 347-4Root, the man who took the shot from Warner in that Birmingham bar all those weeks ago, appeared to greet the batsman with a word or two. Warner ignores the booing to get off strike by nudging Bresnan behind square on the leg-side. Clarke is tested by a couple of good bouncers from Bresnan. Big appeal later in the over when Bresnan delivers a beauty which nips back into Clarke. No movement from the umpire and that's a good decision. Clarke cuts through third-man for three at the end of the over, with Bairstow doing brilliantly to prevent the boundary.

AUS 348-4Clarke clips a single to deep mid-wicket early in Swann's over. Big turn for the spinner and the left-handed Warner can do nothing but hang his bat outside off-stump aimlessly. Warner survives the over but Swann might fancy his chances of dismissing the new batsman.

AUS 361-4150! Clarke cruises past another milestone in style as he cuts Bresnan away for four runs. The Australian captain makes it two boundaries in two balls when he clubs the next delivery straight down the ground for four more. Brilliant! Clarke continues to punish England with a cracking cut shot in front of point for a third boundary. Bresnan concedes an extra when he goes too high with a bouncer.

AUS 365-4Positive batting from Warner as he skips down the pitch to drive through extra cover for four.


AUS 365-5Warner departs to more booing from the jubilant England supporters. Trott claims a catch at slip when an edge appears to deflect off Prior's thigh. Warner reviews the decision following some deliberation. I'm really not sure why. Hotspot shows a clear edge. Ridiculous review from the returning batsman. Swann has four wickets.

AUS 369-5Haddin walks out to the crease and gets off the mark in confident fashion when he launches Swann over mid-wicket for four. I just wonder what was going through Warner's mind when he reviewed that. He struck his pad with his bat but you would think he would have felt the edge too.

AUS 374-5Anderson returns to the attack for a new spell. Clarke gives the strike to Haddin with a single. The new batsman continues his positive start to his innings with another lofted four over the leg-side. Australia looking to attack.

AUS 378-5Swann breezes through his over but he can’t prevent the two tourists from helping themselves to four runs from the six balls. No surprise to see the spinner enjoying success on this pitch. England know that the next wicket is crucial.

AUS 380-5Chance! Prior will be disappointed with this drop. Anderson catches a bottom edge when Haddin cuts but Prior can't cling onto the ball diving to his left. Anderson is disappointed, as is the wicketkeeper. Two from the over.

AUS 384-5A mistake from Root allows Clarke to collect a single early in Swann's over. Haddin continues to target the leg-side, picking up just one run with a nudge off the pad. Clarke cuts to deep point for another, before his partner tucks the fourth single of the over to fine-leg. 15 minutes until lunch. Clarke 166* Haddin 12*

AUS 390-5Haddin only wants to play one way. Australia's newest arrival at the crease launches another four over mid-wicket early in Anderson's over. A quick single gives the strike to Clarke, who opens the face of the bat to earn a run to third-man.

AUS 392-5Sloppy from England. Anderson hits the stumps with a needless throw from backward point and Clarke takes advantage to steal a single. Swann strays onto the pads, allowing Haddin to knock the ball away for another run. Just two from the over.

AUS 392-5Haddin hangs his bat outside off-stump and he's close to delivering an outside edge to Prior behind the stumps. Anderson has a couple of words with his rival but Haddin isn't interested. The over is dragged out, meaning it will probably be the final one of the session. It's a maiden.

AUS 392-5LUNCH: The umpires decide they've had enough this morning and send the players back inside. Australia have once again batted impressively on a very good pitch. Smith missed out on his century, but Clarke has looked at his best on his way to 168*. Haddin 18*

1.03pmSwann now has figures of 4-103 and he'll be desperate to claim a fifth wicket after lunch. Australia will be hoping for another big partnership from the duo out in the middle. Join me in 30 minutes for the second session of the day.

1.32pmWelcome back everyone. Just two wickets fell in the morning session, with Smith falling short of a century before Warner was dismisses to a chorus of boos. Clarke is still out there now on 168* and you won't catch me backing against him reaching his double century.

1.36pmEngland must be positive in the next session. One more wicket will expose the tail and, although Australia's lower order is fairly decent, the hosts will back themselves to take a flurry of wickets with Swann on the hunt.

1.37pmHaddin batted well before the lunch break. The veteran went on the attack almost immediately and he seems happy to back himself on such a good pitch.

1.39pmBoth sides are back out in the middle. Swann will bowl the first over of the session. Clarke 168* Haddin 18*

AUS 395-5There's good turn and bounce for Swann early in the over to make life uncomfortable for Clarke. The spinner strays onto the pads to allow Clarke to earn a couple to fine-leg. A flick past mid-wicket brings Haddin on strike but there's no more runs on offer in the over.

AUS 396-5Broad comes into the attack following the interval. There's two men out in the deep on the leg-side but with no short-leg in place, it doesn't look like Broad will go for the short-ball tactic. Clarke plays with soft hands outside off-stump to pick up a single to third-man. Prior collects the ball well down the leg-side when Broad strays late in the over. Just a single from the over.

AUS 403-5Clarke walks down the pitch to nudge a single to long-on. Haddin backs away to give himself room and cut Swann past point for three. Clarke finds another run to deep mid-wicket, before Haddin shuffles across his crease to flick a single through square-leg. One more makes it seven from the over.

AUS 409-5Clarke is happy to deal in singles at the moment as he rotates the strike early in Broad's over. Haddin is greeted by a good short-ball and despite taking it on with the hook, he fails to make contact with the ball. A push off the back foot runs away quickly past the sluggish Pietersen and Haddin earns four. Bairstow fumbles the ball at backward point to gift Haddin another single. Broad is not pleased with his teammates. Six from the over.

AUS 413-5Swann is slightly too short and that allows Haddin to pick the gap on the off-side for two runs. A forward defensive is enough to earn Haddin another quick run and Clarke rotates the strike once more with a push to long-off. Australia have been cruising since lunch.

AUS 418-5Clarke continues to target third-man as he picks up another run with a familiar open-faced shot. Haddin does the same to bring up the 50 partnership. Despite some sloppy fielding in the deep, Clarke is restricted to two when he flicks the ball off the hip. Broad goes very full to Clarke, who rolls his wrists perfectly to pick up another run to fine-leg.

AUS 421-5Long-on is back, which means Clarke has an easy passage to a single early in Swann's over. The spinner comes round the wicket to Haddin, who lunges forward to clips a run to deep mid-wicket. One more on the leg-side for the skipper. Clarke 183* Haddin 32*

AUS 424-5Broad starts the over with a tame short ball that Clarke pulls away for a single. A much more fierce bouncer has Haddin ducking away from the danger. Haddin readjusts to pull the next delivery away for a run. Bairstow dives to his left at point but he's treated to another stare from Broad as he allows Clarke to pick up a single.

AUS 427-5Clever over from Swann as he gets the ball to turn back in towards Clarke's pads from round the wicket. The spin isn't quick enough to cause too much problems though. Australia deal with the threat well and the batsmen help themselves to three runs.


AUS 427-6Broad has his 200th Test wicket, finally! The seamer surprises Clarke, who was targeting third-man again, with one that nips back and hits the handle of the bat before striking the stumps. Relief for every single England player. Old Trafford rises to applaud Clarke's wonderful innings.

AUS 430-6Siddle is the new batsman and we know he's certainly no amateur with the bat. Two short balls are followed by a full delivery which is clipped to fine-leg for a single. Haddin thinks it could be time to attack as he plays a wild pull shot over mid-wicket for two. Three runs and a wicket from the over.


AUS 430-7I was just about to ask why Swann didn't have more fielders close to the bat, but now he's taken a wicket so I guess I'll leave it. Siddle swings wildly across the line and his stumps are punished as a result. Swann claims his 17th five-wicket haul in Test cricket in the process. Mitchell Starc in next.

AUS 434-7Starc defends just two balls before launching the ball over mid-wicket for four runs. Australia have clearly had instructions to begin scoring quickly. Despite the boundary, it's another successful over for England's spinner.

AUS 438-7Haddin calls for a risky two when he clips the ball behind square on the leg-side. Starc reacts well though and the duo make their respective creases safely. Haddin gets on top of the bounce to push the next delivery into the off-side for another run. Broad comes round the wicket to the left-handed Starc, who drives unsuccessfully at a full delivery. Starc finds a quick single to ensure that he'll keep the strike.

AUS 439-7Starc nudges a single into the leg-side early in Swann's over. England's spinner knows Haddin will want to attack but he restricts the batsman's freedom with some quicker deliveries. Just one run from the over. Good bowling from Swann.

AUS 439-7Clever work from Broad as he follows a good bouncer with a full delivery that just nips away from Starc's outside edge. Starc maybe realises that he won't get far playing so loosely outside off-stump and he proceeds to block out the remainder of the over. It's a maiden, time for a drinks break.

AUS 439-7Those two wickets have definitely made a difference. Australia may have been thinking about a score close to 600 but they now face a battle to reach 500. The tourists will be looking to attack, so we could see some exciting action in the next hour.

AUS 444-7Haddin gives the strike to Starc early in the over. Starc, who boasts a Test-best of 99, punches four runs wide of mid-on to display his ability with the bat. There's a painful moment for Haddin when his partner fires the ball at his thigh. Haddin winces, but he's fine. A few laughs are shared out in the middle when a plastic bag drifts across the pitch just as Swann delivers the ball to Starc. No harm done. Haddin 40* Starc 10*

AUS 447-7Bresnan comes into the attack for the first time since the lunch interval. Haddin drives firmly to long-off for a single. A thick inside edge squirms away to fine-leg to give Starc a run. An open-faced shot brings Haddin another single through point. Starc plays across the line slightly but he keeps out the final ball of the over from Bresnan.

AUS 452-7Haddin eyes the mid-wicket boundary and executes his shot perfectly to earn four off Swann. Good response from the spinner to keep the batsman tied down following the early attack, with just one more single being scored.

AUS 460-7A single to third-man brings Haddin his 48th run of the day. Starc takes on the short ball from Bresnan but makes no contact with his pull shot. Root chases after a sliced drive, however, the outfield is quick enough to earn Starc four more. Bresnan goes full again later in the over and Starc drives much more convincingly through the covers. Root does superbly in the deep to prevent a boundary this time. Eight from the over.

AUS 471-7Starc shows us his power with two brilliant shots early in Swann's over. The left-handed batsman punches the first ball back past the bowler for a boundary, before smashing the next delivery over mid-wicket for four more. A thick outside edge brings two more to the same batsman. Starc adds a single to make it 11 from the over.

AUS 479-7Starc gets off strike with a single early in Bresnan's over. Haddin adds another run to move within one of his half-century. Starc attacks again as he fires the ball past the bowler for four. Haddin gets the strike back later in the over and he reaches 50 with a single to third-man. Clever, positive batting from a veteran of the game.

AUS 484-7Swann gets a well-deserved break as Cook turns to Anderson. Haddin plays a wild heave across the line but fails to make contact with the ball. A much more measured shot brings a single on the leg-side. Starc continues to bat with attacking intent as he unleashes a brilliant on-drive to collect four. Haddin 51* Starc 39*

AUS 486-7Haddin rocks back to cut a single through the off-side. Bresnan wants lbw when he fools Starc with a good slower ball. The umpire shakes his head and it looks a good decision with Starc being struck high on the thigh pad. A leg-bye is stolen in the process.

AUS 491-7Anderson is doing his best to find some reverse swing out there but it's not enough to cause too much trouble for the Australian duo. It's a decent over, but the seamer is still taken for five singles. Starc has 43 from 47 balls.

AUS 495-7Starc pulls powerfully through mid-wicket for a couple of runs. Bresnan once again dips into his bag of variations to deliver a slower ball, but Haddin adjusts well to push a single to long-off. Starc flicks a run to fine-leg and Haddin ends the scoring for the over by guiding one to third-man.

AUS 497-7Anderson delivers a good yorker midway through his over to force Haddin into a decent defensive shot. Bairstow does some impressive work in the deep when Haddin pulls for a couple of runs. Quiet period in the match at the moment. Cook may turn to Swann again soon.

AUS 507-7Starc lives dangerously when he flirts with a wider delivery from Bresnan. The left-handed batsman is quickly back on form with a perfectly time shot past mid-on for four. Bresnan delivers a slower ball bouncer but he's punished for a wide. HALF-CENTURY! Starc pulls to the rope at mid-wicket for another boundary and he passes 50 in the process. Good batting from Starc, that's his third Test half-century. One more run makes it 10 from the over. That's the end of the session.

AUS 507-7TEA: Australia continue to accumulate runs at a good rate. Despite losing Clarke and Siddle, the current duo out in the middle have batted positively to make a tired England side work very hard. There's still 38 overs left in the day. Will Clarke be thinking of a declaration soon? Haddin 57* Starc 54*

3.44pmAustralia's lower order continue to impress in this series but this time the runs have come alongside some big knocks from the top six. Clarke has once again shown us why he is one of the best players in the world. I doubt anyone in Old Trafford will be forgetting that innings of 187 anytime soon.

3.49pmEngland haven't bowled badly. They've just ran out of ideas on a flat pitch. Australia would expect to pass 500 on a track which, in all truth, is a batting paradise.

3.52pmI'd suggest that a declaration could come very soon. Remember, Australia must win this match to prevent England from retaining the Ashes at Old Trafford. To give themselves the best chance of claiming victory, Australia need a lot of time to take 20 wickets.

3.55pmEngland won't be too worried about batting on this pitch. It hasn't changed much over the last couple of days and I wouldn't expect any big spin until day four or five.

3.59pmBoth sides are back out in the middle now. Swann will bowl the first over of the session. Haddin 57* Starc 54*

AUS 514-7Starc's stay at the crease looks like it might just come to an end when Starc top edges a slog-sweep. Root runs in from the boundary but he can't get to the ball to take the catch. Swann is too short to Haddin, who gets a touch on the ball to earn four to fine-leg. A similar shot brings two more. Seven from the over.

AUS 521-7Cook, sensing that the declaration could be coming, turns to Root instead of one of his tired front-line bowlers. The part-time spinner thinks he has a wicket immediately but the umpire quickly rejects an lbw appeal. A lofted shot for two by Starc is followed by an ugly bottom edge off a slog-sweep. Starc sweeps again to collect two to deep square-leg. Two more runs are taken to fine-leg before a miscued shot lands safely on the off-side to give Starc another run.

AUS 524-7Starc gives the strike to Haddin early in Swann's over. The right-handed batsman sits deep in his crease to find a single of his own behind square on the leg-side. Just one more run added. Are the big shots coming soon from Australia?

AUS 527-7Starc eyes a maximum when he attempts the slog-sweep but his miscued effort travels straight to Cook at mid-wicket for no run. A nudge to long-on brings a single, before Haddin adds another to fine-leg. One more run from the over makes it three scored. Haddin 65* Starc 66*

AUS 527-7AUSTRALIA DECLARE: Clarke decides that's enough on the board and Australia declare on 527-7. Rogers, Clarke, Smith, Haddin and Starc have all impressed with the bat but now it's time for the bowlers to take centre stage. Can Australia make a breakthrough this evening?

4.17pmAustralia finally take advantage of some friendly batting conditions to post an imposing total. That's a positive declaration from Clarke, he knows that his side need as much time as possible to bowl out England twice.

4.19pmBig spell of cricket coming up at Old Trafford. The pitch is good, but it's always difficult to bat when there's a big score on the board. There's 32 overs left in the day and you feel that Australia must strike with the new ball to make the most of that good first innings.

4.21pmSwann deserves a special mention for his figures of 5-159. They may not look like the best figures in the world but the spinner battled well on a good pitch for batting. Can Nathan Lyon do the same for the tourists? His form could be key.

4.23pmBoth teams are back out in the middle. Root and Cook are greeted by loud cheers from the Old Trafford crowd. If these two can get a good start, Australia's bowlers will become deflated very quickly. Ryan Harris will bowl the first over.

ENG 1-0Cook is happy to leave early in the over. Harris does force the England captain to play when he brings one back in, but Cook times his shot well to get off the mark with a single to mid-wicket. Good start from Harris.

ENG 7-0Starc starts his opening spell with a gorgeous delivery, beating Cook's edge with one that nips away at the last moment. The left-arm seamer oversteps the mark and is punished for a no-ball. Cook reaches the boundary for the first time in the innings when he steers a full delivery past point for four. Good positive batting from Cook as he steals a single with a push into the off-side off the last ball of the over.

ENG 14-0Haddin does superbly to take a wild leg-side delivery from Ryan Harris. The bowler strays again and Cook clips the ball off his pads for four behind square on the leg-side. Cook loves it on his pads and he cashes in again to earn three through square-leg, thanks to some help from Starc's sloppy fielding in the deep.

ENG 14-0Starc settles on a good length to Cook, who is caught in two minds as to whether to play or not on a couple of occasions. Definitely some movement for the bowler but Cook survives. Maiden over.

ENG 16-0Root gets of the mark by hurrying a single to mid-wicket. Cook quickly hands the strike back to his partner. It's a much better over from Harris though. Root is forced onto the back foot, but defends well.

ENG 17-0Cook defends well throughout the over from Starc. There's a few groan when Starc almost sneaks past the bat but an inside edge saves Cook, and brings him a single. Steady start for England. Cook 15* Root 1*

ENG 17-0First bowling change of the innings as Clarke gives Lyon a bowl with the relatively new ball. The spinner has a big role to play in this match from here. Chance! Lyon almost immediately takes a wicket when he catches Cook's edge. The ball deflects off Haddin's thigh but Clarke can't react to take a diving catch in front of him. Cook breathes a sigh of relief. Good start for Lyon. Maiden.

ENG 17-0It's Watson's turn for a bowl now as the all-rounder comes on to replace Starc. Watson may seem like he's not a keen bowler, but he does a good job for his side with the ball. The seamer begins with a maiden, making life uncomfortable for Root with some late movement.

ENG 21-0Lovely bowling from Lyon as he gets one to grip and turn before beating Cook's edge. England's skipper then sits back to miss a cut shot, sparking more gasps from Haddin behind the stumps. Cook cuts the next delivery just short of Warner, who can't stop the ball or prevent the boundary.

ENG 21-0Root flirts with a ball that drifts down the leg-side early in Watson's over. Root sees the short ball coming and ducks easily to avoid the threat. The young Yorkshire batsman cannot be tempted into a false shot and Watson must settle for completing another maiden.

ENG 21-0Cook fires two cut shots towards Warner in the over but the hosting skipper isn't gifted any runs this time. Lyon needs to be a touch fuller to bring Cook forward. It's a decent, but not threatening, over. Maiden.

ENG 21-0Root, still on 1*, is remaining patient against Watson. The line is good from the seamer but Root is refusing to play at anything he doesn't feel is threatening his stumps. Good, stubborn batting from Root. Three maidens in a row for Watson.

ENG 22-0Cook, usually such a solid player against spin, is having his technique tested by Lyon at the moment. The returning spinner finds some extra bounce to beat the bat once again. Cook responds by nudging a single into the leg-side. Lyon gets his first look at Root, who chooses to use his feet to meet the spinning delivery. Root looks far from comfortable though. Excellent variations from Lyon.

ENG 23-0Starc returns to replace the economical Watson. A couple of inside edges saves Cook from some close lbw shouts. The left-handed opener guides a single through third-man for a single. Root once again leaves well outside off-stump as Starc searches for some movement back into the opener. Cook 21* Root 1*

ENG 24-0Cook nudges the ball past short-leg and rushes a quick single to get off strike. Lyon catches Root's inside edge but short-leg once again has no chance to collect the ball. Root makes sure he gets his glove away from a delivery that bounces considerably. Testing times against the spinner for England.

ENG 28-0Starc is wayward early in his over and he forces Haddin into an acrobatic take down the leg-side. Cook defends outside off-stump, before miscuing a pull shot to Rogers on the leg-side. Starc drifts down the leg-side and he's punished by four leg-byes. Time for a drinks break.

ENG 28-0It's been difficult at times for England, especially against Lyon, but this is a good start. If Root and Cook can stay out there until the close of play, they will be very happy with their work this evening. Australia are desperate for wickets. Cook 22* Root 1*

ENG 28-0Clarke gives Lyon a leg-slip, but the new fielder doesn't get a look at the ball as Root lunges forward to smother the spin. Good control from Lyon. Perhaps more importantly, he looks a threat and that's something we didn't really see from Agar.

ENG 30-0The returning Harris is too straight to Cook, who flicks a couple of runs into the leg-side. Cook almost edges one when he plays a loose drive at a fuller delivery. No more risky moments for Cook. Decent return for Harris.

ENG 37-0Root scores his first runs for 50 minutes when he pushes Lyon through the covers for three. The spinner gives Cook too much width but the batsman can't pick the gap to collect any runs on the off-side early in the over. A slightly shorter ball is cut much more convincingly through third-man for four. Lyon cannot afford to bowl like that to Cook.

ENG 37-0Harris clearly believes it is better to go as full as possible to Root, who definitely prefers to play his shots off the back foot. Nothing wrong with Root's defensive technique. The opener has 4 from 47 balls and continues to look like the calmest man at Old Trafford.

ENG 43-0Cook picks up a couple of runs early in Lyon's over. The spinner gets his length wrong again and he's punished as Cook sits back to cut past backward point for four. 11 overs left in the day. Cook 34* Root 4*

ENG 43-0It looked like Harris was struggling during those previous two overs. He's gone off the field now. Australia will be hoping it's nothing too serious. Siddle comes into the attack for the first time.

ENG 47-0Siddle starts with a juicy half-tracker and Root accepts the gift by pulling through mid-wicket for four. It doesn't take Siddle long to find his rhythm though and he responds with a delivery that nips past the outside edge. Root is then beaten by a delivery which keeps very low just outside off-stump. Just the boundary from the over.

ENG 47-0Watson is back into the attack to replace Lyon. The seamer is typically accurate with his line. An lbw appeal against Cook is rejected when the umpire suggests the ball pitched outside leg-stump, which it did. Watson is yet to concede a run off his bowling.

ENG 47-0Here's a fact for you cricket geeks out there. Watson has bowled 48 overs in this series and 26 of those have been maidens. That's brilliant.


ENG 47-1Australia make the breakthrough! That's exactly what the tourists needed and it's no surprise to see Siddle claiming the wicket. A hint of movement from the seamer is enough to catch the outside edge and give Haddin an easy catch behind the stumps.

ENG 47-1England have sent in a nightwatchman and, just like at Lord's, it's Bresnan who is given the responsibility. Two leaves on his arrival to the crease. Great over from Siddle.

ENG 47-1Watson breezes through yet another maiden over. That's important, it means Bresnan will be on strike to Siddle.

ENG 48-1Bresnan knows he cannot afford to play any loose shots at this stage of the evening. Siddle bowls a tight line to off-stump throughout the over. Bresnan sneaks a single to cover. Good pressure from Australia. England cannot afford to lose another wicket. Cook 34* Bresnan 1*

ENG 48-1Lyon is back into the attack as the close of play approaches. There's shouts for a catch and an appeal for lbw from Lyon when Bresnan lunges forward outside off-stump. Bresnan isn't the best player of spin but he manages to survive the maiden over.

ENG 49-1Cook flicks a single into the leg-side to get off strike at the start of Siddle's over.


ENG 49-2Australia are delighted as Siddle takes a second wicket, but it's a strange few moments at Old Trafford. The tourists appeals successfully for caught behind when Bresnan attempts to pull. Bresnan considers reviewing before walking off. However, replays have shown that the noise was the ball clipping the leg and not the bat. Why didn't he review that? Australia don't care, Trott in next.

ENG 49-2Trott's defence looks as good as ever. He negotiates the final few deliveries of the dangerous Siddle's over. Eight minutes left in the day.

ENG 51-2Lyon is slightly too straight to Cook, who flicks a single into the leg-side. Trott takes a big risk when calling for a quick run. Warner picks up the ball quickly and just misses with his throw at the stumps. Cook was about a yard short of his ground. Tense moments for the hosts.

ENG 52-2Close! Siddle is inches away from taking his third wicket. Trott edges the ball towards Clarke in the slips but the ball drops short of the Australian skipper. A flick to fine-leg brings a single. Cook has no problem with the final three balls of a difficult session. Cook 36* Trott 2*

ENG 52-2CLOSE OF PLAY: It's another very good day for the tourists. Clarke guided his side to 527-7 and they've put England under real pressure here with those two late wickets.

6.32pmThe England side collectively breathe a sigh of relief as a difficult day comes to an end. Those two wickets will hurt but they'll hope they can return and bat much more positively in the morning.

6.33pmSiddle has once again proved how important he is for Australia. It still looks a difficult pitch to force a result on, but Siddle's two wickets tonight have given the tourists the control.

6.35pmThanks for joining me today on what has been a brilliant Friday for the Australians at Old Trafford. Plenty of classy performances around, but can they turn this promise into a Test victory? Coverage of the third Test continues at 10.30am tomorrow. I'll see you then. Goodnight.

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Australian captain Michael Clarke celebrates after scoring a century against Sri Lanka on December 27, 2012
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