Live Commentary: The Ashes - Fourth Test, day three - as it happened

Live Commentary: The Ashes - Fourth Test, day three - as it happened
© PA Photos
Live text coverage of the fourth Ashes Test at Chester-le-Street as Australia look to take charge of the match again England.

England started day three of the fourth Ashes Test hoping to wrestle back some control following two tight days of cricket against Australia at Chester-le-Street.

The hosts wrapped up Australia's innings quickly, with Stuart Broad claiming figures of 5-71 to dismiss the tourists for 270. Chris Rogers failed top scored for his side with a gritty 110.

It looked bleak for England at one stage when James Harris took three quick wickets to reduce Alastair Cook's men to 49-3 but Ian Bell combined well with Kevin Pietersen (44) to get things back on track.

Ian Bell stuck around for the rest of the day to score his third century of the series and his unbeaten 105* means that England will take a lead of 202 into the fourth day.

Read below to find out how Bell stole the limelight on an entertaining day in Durham.

10.30amGood morning. Chris Rogers proved to be the hero on a difficult day for the tourists. The veteran managed to fight off the impressive Stuart Broad to reach 101* at the close of play. As always, the third day will be vital and Australia will be hoping they can take full control today.

10.32amAustralia are 16 runs behind their opponents at the moment. Any sort of lead will be a big positive, but if they can pass 300 this morning then they'll be in a powerful position. Brad Haddin (12*) might attack straight away this morning.

10.35amEngland know that they can't allow the current partnership to settle again early on. Australia's tail isn't as strong as it has been, so the host will believe that one wicket could spark a collapse.

10.39amBad news! The clouds have gathered and it's started to rain at Chester-le-Street. Let's hope it's just a shower and that the covers will be removed again soon.

10.41amIs James Anderson being overworked? The seamer looked an exhausted figure as he strived for wickets yesterday. Stuart Broad was probably more suited to the pitch, and he proved that by taking four wickets, but Anderson looked well below his best.

10.44amIt looks like the rain will pass pretty quickly, so I wouldn't be surprised if we still start at 11.00am. The overcast conditions should suit the seamers again this morning. Rogers will probably face another battle against the movement of the ball.

10.47amThe second new ball will be available in 5.2 overs. England will presumably take that immediately as they look for five quick wickets. How England play the new ball later on will be very important.

10.50amThe England women begin their own Ashes series against Australia at Wormsley today. I'll attempt to give you a few updates of that contest as the day goes on.

10.54amJust over five minutes before the play begins. Tim Bresnan has two balls left in his over. Rogers 101* Haddin 12*

10.58amThere's a nice reception for all of the players from the crowd in Durham. The grey clouds have disappeared and it looks like we're set for a nice morning. Bresnan to Rogers. Play!

AUS 222-5Close! There's drama immediately. Swann takes a good catch at second slip but Aleem Dar decides the ball struck the pad, rather than the bat. Good start.

AUS 224-5Haddin scores his first run of the day with a nudge to deep mid-wicket. Rogers shuffles across his crease to add a single of his own.


AUS 224-6Disaster for Australia before the second new ball has even arrived. Haddin sits back in his crease but misses the ball and is struck on the pad. The batsman reviews what looks like an easy lbw decision, but Hawkeye sends him back inside.

AUS 224-6Peter Siddle comes to the crease to defend his first delivery. Excellent start for Swann, who has claimed a priceless wicket early this morning.

AUS 225-6Rogers drives firmly through the covers for a single. It's difficult for Siddle out there. Bresnan gets one to drift away before nipping one back to make life uncomfortable for the batsman. Siddle manages to pass the test though. One from the over.

AUS 231-6A thick edge from Rogers races past Trott at slip and earns the opener four runs. The Middlesex ace then opens the face to steer a couple past point, before looking at Siddle to ask the question why a third run wasn't taken. Good defence on the front foot as Swann looks for that special delivery outside off-stump.

AUS 233-6Siddle is more than ready for the in-swing this over as he clips a single through mid-wicket. Rogers judges the line and length well outside off-stump, with Bresnan searching for the false shot which may bring the edge. A firm straight drive is stopped by Broad, but Australia still pick up a single.


AUS 233-7Massive wicket before the new ball for England! Prior reacts superbly to take a good diving catch when the ball loops up off the bad. England think there was another noise and choose to review Tony Hill's decision of not out. Hotspot does its job perfectly by showing a touch off the glove. Rogers is forced to depart but he does so to a wonderful reception. Fantastic innings.

AUS 236-7Ryan Harris is the new batsman. He gets off the mark by rocking back to drive the ball through cover for three. Siddle uses his feet well to negate the threat posed by Swann. It's another very good over from England's spinner.

AUS 240-7The second new ball becomes available and Cook wastes no time in giving it to James Anderson. Harris begins the new challenge confidently, playing a firm shot straight to Joe Root at mid-wicket. A classy straight drive brings the batsman four and sends Australia into the lead. The tourists have an advantage of two runs.

AUS 243-7Broad comes into the attack to share the new ball. He'll be desperate for a five-wicket haul. Siddle guides the first ball through mid-wicket for three. Harris is eager to drive outside off-stump but there's a hint of movement to prevent the batsman from making good contact. Decent start for Broad.

AUS 244-7Siddle once again finds the gap on the leg-side to earn a run. Anderson settles on a very good length to Harris, who has looked solid during his short stay at the crease. Plenty of bat on ball in the over. No runs for Harris though. The new ball hasn't done much yet.

AUS 244-7Beauty from Broad as some extra bounce beats a tentative Siddle outside off-stump. The seamer follows that delivery with a good yorker which Siddle is forced to dig out. A wider ball invites a false shot and Broad finds time to beat the bat once more in the over. Siddle breathes a sigh of relief. Excellent maiden over from Broad. Harris 7* Siddle 5*

AUS 245-7Harris gets off strike with a single at the start of Anderson's over. Siddle plays loosely at a wider ball and misses his target again.


AUS 245-8Siddle's luck finally runs out when he edges a ball just outside off-stump. Cook takes a very good low catch at first slip to give Anderson his first wicket. Nathan Lyon is the new batsman. Australia lead by seven.

AUS 245-8Anderson greets Lyon with a beauty which just nips past the edge of the bat. The newest arrival to the crease is clearly wary of the short ball when he ducks the wrong delivery and is struck on the arm. One run and a wicket from the over.

AUS 253-8Broad is punished for a wide when he attempts the bouncer. There's a delay in the over when the bowler decides there's something wrong with his boot. A wider delivery is steered through a gap on the off-side by Harris for four. The batsman then picks the gap again to collect three more. Lyon doesn't look quite as skilled with the bat in his hand as he drives, and misses, a fuller ball.

AUS 258-8Anderson goes slightly short to Harris, allowing the batsman to find a single behind square on the leg-side. Close! Lyon can't help but edge Anderson towards the slips. The ball drops short though and Lyon earns four from the false shot.


AUS 258-9Aleem Dar raises the finger and it's Lyon's turn to head back inside. The tail-end batsman shuffled across his crease but failed to make contact with the straight ball. Anderson has his second wicket of the morning. Australia lead by 20.

AUS 258-9Jackson Bird comes to the crease and is immediately beaten by a beauty from Anderson. Interestingly, Hawkeye has just shown that Lyon was unlucky and that the ball would have missed leg-stump.

AUS 258-9Jackson Bird comes to the crease and is immediately beaten by a beauty from Anderson. Interestingly, Hawkeye has just shown that Lyon was unlucky and that the ball would have missed leg-stump.

AUS 270-9Harris continues to impress with the bat as he beats a diving Bresnan at deep mid-wicket to reach the rope. Broad is left frustrated when Harris strikes the ball wide of mid-on for four more. Shot! Harris makes it three boundaries in a row when he drives a fuller delivery through extra cover. The batsman's growing confidence almost gets him into trouble when he swings wildly outside off-stump. Harris 28* Bird 0*

AUS 270-9Cook wisely chooses not to waste a review when Anderson strikes Bird's pad with one that would have drifted past leg-stump. Bird looks like a genuine number 11 but he manages to survive the over, despite the added threat of a good bouncer from Anderson. The lead is 32.

AUS 270-9A mistake from Root at cover goes unpunished when Harris fails to spot that a single is on offer. There's a sarcastic cheer when Root successfully stops the next ball that comes his way.


AUS 270Five wickets for Broad! The seamer ends the Australian innings when England successfully review an lbw decision. Hawkeye does no favours for Harris, who missed the straightest of deliveries. Tony Hill must have thought there was an inside edge. England will begin their second innings just 32 runs behind their opponents. Excellent start to the day for the hosts.

12.19pmBroad steals the limelight as he leads his teammates off while saluting the crowd with the ball which is now his to keep. When he gets it right, like he has done in this match, the seamer can be one of the best around.

12.22pmEngland could have been in for a potentially frustrating session of cricket but they approached things brilliantly to claim the five wickets they needed in just over an hour. The match is delicately poised. England need a good start with just over 30 minutes left in the first session.

12.24pmAustralia have wasted no time in coming back out. It's a bright morning now, so will batting be easier? How England play the new ball will be crucial. Australia's lead is 32.

12.26pmCook and Root are ready to begin. Harris will open the bowling for the tourists. Play!

ENG 0-0No thrills from Cook in the opening over. The England skipper leaves well outside off-stump and only plays when he needs to. It's a maiden for Harris. There seems to be some showers coming to Chester-le-Street very soon.

ENG 0-0England's Matt Prior dives forward to catch the ball and dismiss Australia's Chris Rogers on day three of the fourth Ashes Test© Getty Images

I think this picture shows you just how good Prior's catch was earlier today. This brilliant piece of wicketkeeping sent Rogers on his way.

ENG 5-0Jackson Bird is given the new ball to share with Harris. Root pushes the ball into the off-side and responds well to complete a quick single. Cook gets stuck in his crease and misses the ball just outside off-stump to spark a few groans of despair from the slips. The hosting captain readjusts and ends the over in style by driving through extra cover for four.

ENG 10-0Harris goes very straight to Root, who blocks a couple of deliveries before nudging a single into the leg-side. The change of batsman puts Harris off his length and he struggles to trouble the left-handed Cook. A leg-stump half-volley is punished when Cook flicks four through fine-leg. Root 2* Cook 8*

ENG 10-0Close! Root plays with soft hands outside off-stump, meaning an edge drops well short of Clarke at second slip. Bird can't believe his luck there. Root continues to favour defending on the back foot. Bird goes too full but he's not punished, with Siddle doing the fielding when Root drives to mid-on. Maiden over.

ENG 13-0Cook comes forward to push Harris through the covers for three runs. There's a sing of uneven bounce when Root misses a ball that keeps very low. Could that become a key factor as the match progresses? Root thinks twice about playing outside off-stump. Harris will fancy his chances of having Root caught in the slips.

ENG 17-0There's some movement in the air for Bird, who pushes a couple across Cook before drifting one down the leg-side to force Haddin into action. More low bounce outside off-stump but Cook isn't interested in playing out there. He does play a shot later in the over to collect four runs with a gorgeous straight drive. 10 minutes left in the session.


ENG 17-1What a delivery! Harris produces a beauty which straightens enough to beat Root's edge and knock back off-stump. Root's expression says it all. He knows he couldn't have done much to stop that. Big breakthrough for Australia.

ENG 21-1Jonathan Trott comes to the crease and, despite seeing a leg-slip in place, he gets off the mark with a flick through fine-leg for four. That's a great way to start an innings.

ENG 21-1Cook is looking confident against the seamers today. Bird's accuracy is impressive but he's met by some good defence. There's a hint of swing, but nothing too drastic. Maiden. England are 11 runs behind.

ENG 24-1Harris drops his length slightly to Trott, who is eager to open up the leg-side by moving across his stumps. Trott pushes a fuller ball to cover for a single, with David Warner responding well to keep the runs to a minimum. A thick edge threatens to squirm away for a boundary by Khawaja fields well at backward point. The final ball of the session is pushed straight down the ground by Cook for a couple.

ENG 24-1LUNCH: This game continues to fascinate us all and it's moving at a very fast pace this morning. England will be delighted to have taken those five quick wickets early in the session but that brilliant delivery from Harris to remove Root means things are still pretty even. England trail by just eight runs. Cook 17* Trott 5*

1.05pmWe'll join the players by taking a break. Join me in around 30 minutes when I'll be taking you through the second session of the day. See you then.

1.35pmWelcome back everyone. We've already enjoyed one great session this morning. Will we see more drama this afternoon? It's impossible to predict which way this one is going to go.

1.37pmAustralia will have headed into lunch pretty happy following that stunning ball from Harris to dismiss Root. Cook and Trott are key for England, so the tourist need to make sure they're on form after the break.

1.40pmThe players are heading to the middle now. England trail by eight runs with nine wickets in hand. Australia are on the hunt for more victims. Cook 17* Trott 5*

ENG 28-1Bird continues his spell. Trott blocks early on before sneaking a couple of runs due to a mistake at mid-wicket. Bird then rifts onto the pads, allowing Trott to flick a couple to fine-leg. The batsman attempts to pierce the gap at mid-wicket but a fielder in close blocks his route. Four from the over.

ENG 36-1Harris struggles with his line throughout his over. The highlight is Trott's brilliant whip through the leg-side for four. A shot which is met with approval by the Durham crowd. Cook and Trott do a good job of rotating the strike too and combine for four other runs to make it eight from the over. Solid start after lunch.

ENG 39-1Clarke has two fielders in catching positions at mid-wicket. Trott is undeterred by the obvious plan though and he continues to try to target the leg-side. England's number three guides the ball past one of the aforementioned fielders to earn two. Bird hasn't looked as threatening today as he did in the first innings. Trott adds one more run to mid-on. Cook 20* Trott 16*

ENG 42-1Screams for a catch when Trott clips the ball wide of the fielder at leg-slip. Khawaja was nowhere near that one, so a single is taken. Cook directs the ball away from his pads to earn a couple through fine-leg.


ENG 42-2This could be very important. Cook makes his first mistake and he pays the biggest price. A loose drive ends with the ball hitting the edge and travelling to Haddin. Big wicket for the tourists. Pietersen in next.

ENG 48-2Pietersen is off strike at the moment. Trott isn't worried about the situation and he continues to accumulate his runs at a good rate. Bird is punished for bowling too straight when he's nudged through mid-wicket four four. A fuller delivery is pushed down the ground for a couple. England lead by 16, so they're effectively 16-2.

ENG 49-2Pietersen is always eager to get off the mark quickly and he does so by pushing his first ball into the off-side for a quick single.


ENG 49-3England are in big trouble now! Harris delivers an excellent bouncer and Trott can only help the ball make its way to Haddin via a deflection off the glove. Great fast bowling from Harris, who continues to impress in this series.

ENG 51-3Australia have two new batsmen to bowl at now. The fresher of the two, Ian Bell, nudges his first ball into the leg-side for a single. Pietersen might feel that the best option is to attack. He takes on the short ball from Harris, but only earns one behind square on the leg-side.

ENG 52-3Shane Watson comes into the attack for the first time. Pietersen shuffles across his crease but misses the ball. No chance of lbw, with the ball clearly drifting down the leg-side. A leg-bye hands the strike to Bell. Watson is typically accurate throughout the over, forcing Bell to settle for defensive strokes.

ENG 54-3Pietersen earns a single to fine-leg. A thick inside edge provides an opportunity for Bell to collect a run. We're seeing a fast bowler at the top of his game in this series. Harris is doing a good job of bringing Bell onto the front foot but he can't find the movement which may bring an edge. We're seeing a top fast bowler in great form today. Pietersen 3* Bell 2*

ENG 58-3Bell is happy to take on Watson's bouncer and picks up two with a pull shot. Some menacing looking clouds are starting to gather above. Could we some showers soon? Bell keeps his mind on the game and picks up two more to deep mid-wicket.

ENG 65-3Pietersen prods the ball into the off-side for a quick run. Harris is left cursing his luck when he thinks he's got through Bell's defence and instead has to watch the ball squirm away off the inside edge. A short-ball is well directed but Pietersen gets on top of the bounce to pull four behind square on the leg-side. Another pull shot brings a single to deep square-leg.

ENG 71-3Pietersen opens the face of his bat to guide a couple of runs through third-man. An easy single brings Bell on strike. Watson hits the perfect length in the middle of the over but when he drops the ball slightly shorter, Bell gets on the back foot to punch three runs through cover. Pietersen 12* Bell 10*

ENG 80-3Siddle is thrown the ball for the first time. Not a bad bowler to turn to in this situation, is he? The seamer starts well but Bell takes advantage of a slightly wider ball late in the over to cut four past point. Bell then clips a single off his pads. Pietersen is caught in two minds outside off-stump and he enjoys some luck to earn four off a thick edge.

ENG 85-3Brilliant shot from Bell, who plays the latest of cut shots to earn four through third-man. There's a clear change of attitude from England in this innings. They obviously want to attack more often and that could suit the current partnership. Bell ends the over by sneaking a quick single to mid-off. Time for a drinks break.

ENG 85-3England lead by 53 at this stage. It looks like anything above 200 could be a tricky total for Australia to chase. The hosts will want a lead closer to 300 though. Pietersen 16* Bell 20*

ENG 85-3Bell isn't interested in playing when Siddle settles on a wider length in a new over. Bell is finally forced into executing a defensive shot when the bowler targets the stumps. It's a maiden.

ENG 87-3Pietersen picks up a run to deep square-leg. Watson drifts slightly wider to allow Bell to cut a single to third-man. There's not much movement for the all-rounder. Both batsmen look comfortable. Is it time for some spin?

ENG 91-3Bell comes forward to drive Siddle down the ground for three runs. Siddle asks the question when he fires in a good bouncer. Pietersen's answer is to attempt the hook. The ball is in the air for a long time but it drops safely and the batsman collects a single. Siddle is left disappointed. England march on.

ENG 94-3Lyon is into the attack for the first time. Pietersen will surely only play one way. There's not much freedom for the batsman early in the over, with Lyon settling on a good line from round the wicket. Pietersen drills a run to long-on. Bell rocks back to cut a single into the off-side. Pietersen finds the time to add one more run. Decent first over from Lyon.

ENG 100-3Siddle was encouraged by Pietersen's miscued pull shot in the previous over, so he adopts the same tactic again. No mistake from the batsman this time as he splits the fielders in the deep to pick up four. A similar shot through mid-wicket brings two and takes England to 100.

ENG 101-3Lyon is looking for the outside edge with a bit of drift from round the wicket. The spinner loses his length slightly, which allows Bell to sit deep in his crease to punch a single through the covers. Pietersen lunges forward to defend and he's fortunate to see an inside edge go straight to ground. England looking comfortable at the moment.

ENG 105-3Jackson Bird is back into the attack to replace Siddle. The seamer is too straight to Bell, who pierces the field on the leg-side to pick up a couple of runs. A firm drive is stopped by Siddle at mid-off. Bell once again finds the gap to collect two more at the end of the over. Australia need a breakthrough. Pietersen 26* Bell 30*

ENG 107-3Pietersen's eyes are beginning to light up. A bit of foot movement shows us his intentions, but he can only earn a single with a shot to long-on. Bell looks as classy as ever against the spinner as he comes forward, before rocking back to cut the ball. Lyon is handling the challenge well at the moment. Just two from the over.

ENG 111-3There's a few laughs in the field, but there not coming from Bird. Five dot balls are followed by a well-timed effort through mid-wicket from Bell. Harris makes up the ground to stop the ball but inadvertently wastes time when he attempts, and fails, to hand the ball to Lyon. Bell takes advantage to run four times.

ENG 111-3Nervous moment for Pietersen when he's forced to rush back into his crease after pushing the ball back to Lyon, who quickly throws the ball to Haddin. It's a very good over from the spinner. Pietersen is kept quiet by the changes of pace. Maiden over. England lead by 79.

ENG 113-3Clarke knows he needs a wicket in the near future, so he turns to Harris. The seamer fails to add to his three victims in a new over though. A thick inside brings Bell two runs to deep square-leg and that's the only scoring shot in the over. Good return for Harris but there's no movement in the air anymore.

ENG 114-3Pietersen flicks the ball flamboyantly into the leg-side for a single. Lyon changes his angle on the crease on a couple of occasions. Bell is unfazed by the variations though. A cut is well-timed but Warner stops the ball at backward point. Just one from the over.

ENG 115-3Pietersen is dealing in singles at the moment and he finds another by working a short ball into the leg-side. Bell plays a couple of nice shots but he picks out the men in baggy green caps. England batting sensibly to frustrate their opponents. Pietersen 29* Bell 37*

ENG 123-3I'm a little surprised to see Lyon taken out of the attack. The spinner is replaced by Siddle. Maybe Clarke just had a feeling before tea. Pietersen is thwarted in his attempts to find runs when a straight drive, then a nudge off the hip, are both stopped by fielders. He finally finds the gap later in the over to earn four with a whip off the pads. Pietersen scores a second boundary with a cut past point for four. Brilliant batting.

ENG 123-3TEA: England head into the tea break content with their position at the moment. There's still work to do but the current partnership has been very impressive. Australia looked dangerous earlier on but they aren't carrying much of a threat with the older ball. England now lead by 91 runs. Pietersen 37* Bell 37*

3.46pmUPDATE: It's also teat at Wormsley, where the women's Ashes series has begun today. Australia are currently 170-3, having lost the key wicket of Jess Cameron (5) just before the interval.

3.47pmBack at Chester-le-Street, Michael Clarke and Darren Lehmann will be plotting how to take the next wicket over a cup of tea. Australia need to make a breakthrough this evening. They simply cannot allow Pietersen and Bell to continue to grow in confidence.

3.51pmLyon could have a big role to play in the final session of the day. Clarke will need his spinner to bowl a long spell and he'll need to be ready for Pietersen and his bag of tricks.

3.54pmI think a lead of around 250 could possibly be enough for England, but they're a long way from that. Batting last on this pitch won't be easy. There's been signs of uneven bounce already today.

3.56pmThe players will be back out in the middle in just a few moments. Australia are likely to come at the hosts with their best after the interval. They could do with another special spell of bowling from Harris.

3.59pmThis game continues to progress at a quick rate. The next session is a crucial one. England lead by 91. Harris begins proceedings with the ball in his hand.

ENG 127-3It's a bit miserable in Durham at the moment. The wind has picked up and there's a few spots of rain about too. Harris settles on a good length, with Bell displaying solid defence. Close! Harris nips one back to beat Bell's inside edge. The movement is so drastic that Haddin can't stop the ball racing away for four byes. Where did that delivery come from?

ENG 127-3Great line from Siddle. Pietersen looks quizzically at the pitch, as if to suggest that the ball might be keeping slightly lower. Siddle is attempting to angle the ball back in towards Pietersen, who plays the ball as late as possible to survive. Maiden over.

ENG 128-3Bell wisely chooses to leave the ball alone when Harris gets some extra bounce outside off-stump. This is a good start to the session for Australia's bowlers. Bell remains watchful and sneaks a single from the final ball via a thick inside edge.

ENG 129-3Bell opens the face of the bat to guide the ball through third-man for a run. Pietersen is batting outside of his crease and he still wants to advance down the pitch to Siddle. The batsman is being forced to curb his attacking instinct at the moment. Great accuracy from Siddle. Just a single from the over.

ENG 130-3Harris fires in a short ball midway through the over but Bell looks comfortable pulling a single into the leg-side. Pietersen plays the same shot, far more powerfully, but doesn't earn a run. The pressure is on England at the moment. This is good from Clarke's men.

ENG 131-3Bell wants to target the third-man region as he looks to relieve some of the pressure. Siddle isn't bowling wide enough to allow the batsman to play that shot though. Bell does find a run to deep cover at the end of the over to steal the strike.

ENG 142-3HALF-CENTURY! Excellent batting from Bell when he drives Harris for successive boundaries through the covers. The second shot sees Bell pass 50 and he raises his bat to salute the crowd. We've seen that image a lot this summer. Three singles are added later in the over. Much better over for England. Pietersen 38* Bell 55*

ENG 142-3Siddle forces Bell into playing some classic forward defensive shots early in the over. A fuller delivery is driven powerfully but Warner reacts brilliantly in front of point to block the ball. No run taken and that piece of fielding allows Siddle to complete a maiden.

ENG 147-3It's Watson's turn to look through a breakthrough. Pietersen comes forward to the all-rounder and works the ball into a gap on the leg-side for a single. A good over is ruined when Watson drops the ball slightly shorter to give Bell the freedom to punch the ball through the covers for four. That's a classy stroke from Bell.

ENG 152-3Close! Lyon is back into the attack for a new spell. Pietersen takes a big risk when he dances down the pitch and gets an inside edge on the ball. Haddin can't react after the ball misses the stumps by an inch. Four runs to Pietersen to bring up the century partnership. Just one more single from the over.

ENG 152-3INJURY! There's a bit of concern for Watson at the moment. The all-rounder is forced to abandon his over after three balls when he pulls up with a groin problem. It's clear that he's in pain and he's forced off the field. Australia will be hoping it's not as serious as it could be. Bird is asked to complete the over. REVIEW! There's a big appeal for lbw from Australia but Tony Hill is quick to shake his head. Clarke decides to review. I'm not quite sure why. Hawkeye shows the ball struck Pietersen outside off-stump and that the bails would not have been disturbed. Poor from the visiting skipper.


ENG 155-4Huge moment in the day! Pietersen attempts to turn the ball into the leg-side and gets a leading edge on the ball. Rogers rushing in to take a very good catch. Lyon is delighted and you can understand why. Jonny Bairstow is the new batsman.

ENG 155-4Bairstow is happy to defend his first three balls. The Yorkshire ace needs to deliver for his side now. England lead by 123.

ENG 155-4It's a very good over from Bird. Bell leaves impressively outside off-stump, despite the nagging line he must face. Australia must pile the pressure on now. They could take control of the match tonight.

ENG 157-4Bairstow gets off the mark at the start of Lyon's new over. There's signs that the ball is beginning to turn a bit more for the spinner. Bell sits deep in his crease to nudge the ball off his hip and hurry a single. Lyon needs to bowl a little bit fuller.

ENG 161-4Good batting from Bell when he knocks the ball through square-leg before getting his skates on to hurry a couple of runs when a single looked more likely. Bird can't believe his luck when an inside edge nutmegs Bell and races away for two more runs. It's a good over from the seamer. Bell 67* Bairstow 1*

ENG 170-4Superb from Bairstow! The batsman reaches the rope for the first time when he skips down the pitch to club four runs down the ground. Bairstow repeats the trick just a ball later to hammer the ball past Lyon for four more. Is this the day when Bairstow will prove his obvious talent? Two boundaries and a single from the over.

ENG 170-4Good over from Bird following Bairstow's fireworks just a few moments earlier. It's a maiden over. Time for a drinks break. England lead by 138.

ENG 170-4England are still in a decent position but that Pietersen dismissal will have given Australia some confidence. The tourists will be hoping to expose the tail this evening.

ENG 172-4Bell fails to pick the gap on the off-side early in the over but a finer cut shot brings the batsman a couple through third-man. Lyon is continuing to look for the outside edge from round the wicket. I reckon he should come over the wicket and put a silly point in place for a couple of over.

ENG 172-4Bird is accurate, but without any swing he doesn't look to threatening. Bairstow probably agrees but he doesn't get the freedom he craves in the over. Maiden. Bell 69* Bairstow 10*

ENG 175-4Bell punches the ball through mid-wicket and he looks destined to pick up four. However, Harris chases the ball down and a quick replay shows that he successfully saved a run. Bairstow is brought onto the front foot by Lyon. There's a few clever changes of pace from the spinner but no chances.

ENG 176-4Harris returns to the attack as Australia look to spark a collapse. Bell gets on top of the bounce to guide a single to third-man. A fuller ball invites the drive but Bairstow can't beat Rogers at cover. The England supporters are finding their voices again. Are those pints starting to kick in?

ENG 178-4Bell finds a gap on the leg-side to pick up a couple of runs. The batsman's position at the crease means it's difficult for Lyon to threaten the outside edge. Bell is comfortable on both feet. There's a bit of concern about the light. I don't think they'll be heading off just yet but it's definitely darker.

ENG 186-4Perfection from Bairstow. A ball delivered at just back of a length is punched through the covers off the back foot for four. Harris responds by firing in a short ball, which Bairstow pulls away powerfully for another boundary. Clarke and Harris decide it's time for some short stuff. The bowler comes round the wicket to target the ribs. Bairstow ducks the first bouncer before defending the final two short balls very well off the back foot. Bell 75* Bairstow 18*

ENG 186-4BAD LIGHT STOPS PLAY: Siddle only gets two balls into his over before he's stopped. The umpires come together once again and decide that the light has deteriorated enough for the players to go off the field. That decision is based on the reading they took on day one. The crowd voices their disapproval of the situation. None of the players look too happy about heading off.

5.46pmTo be honest, I just don't think it's that dark out there. It looks like there's blue skies coming, so we could see some more cricket very soon.

5.48pmPlay must resume before 6.07pm or the match will be suspended for the day. Not one person is happy at Chester-le-Street. The umpires are not very popular at the moment.

5.50pmWow, that really was a ridiculous few minutes. The players barely got back inside before being called to come back out. Bell and Bairstow are back in the middle. Siddle is ready to continue his over.

ENG 190-4Bell gets straight back to business by cutting a wider delivery past Smith at gully and to the rope for four. A firm drive is struck to Rogers at cover. Just the boundary from the over. A reminder that play can go on until 6.45pm tonight as we're trying to make up some time.

ENG 194-4Harris begins a new over from round the wicket and it's no surprise to see the seamer start with a bouncer, which Bairstow fends off. Great response from the batsman to drive a fuller delivery through extra cover for four. That was a picture-perfect shot. The theory that Bairstow struggles against the short ball dates back to last summer, when Kemar Roach got the better of him. No problem in this over though. Bell 79* Bairstow 22*

ENG 195-4Bell moves into the eighties with a nudge to deep mid-wicket. Siddle finds a great length to Bairstow, who looks in no mood to give his wicket away. Unfortunately, quite a few fans have left due to that brief few minutes the players were off for bad light.

ENG 199-4Harris decides to bowl short from round the wicket to Bell too. A couple of deliveries go by without any drama and Bell's confidence only improves when he drives a wider ball through extra cover for four. Excellent shot. Wow! Harris delivers a sharp bouncer and strikes Bell on the glove. The ball drops safely but the delivery was enough to knock the batsman off his feet. Good contest between those two.

ENG 205-4Bairstow is sensing an opportunity here. He adds four more to his growing total with a cracking late cut past point for four. The partnership reaches 50 when Bairstow beats short mid-wicket to collect two more. England have recovered brilliantly since Pietersen's departure. Bell 84* Bairstow 28*

ENG 210-4Is there a better sight in cricket than Bell cutting the ball through third-man? The Warwickshire ace moves closer to a third century of the series with four through his favourite area. Bell settles for just a single when he pushes the ball into the leg-side. England are cruising at the moment but a wicket could change things. The hosts lead by 178.

ENG 215-4Shot of the day from Bell, who displays brilliant balance to drive the returning Lyon past mid-off for four. A thick inside edge squirms past short-leg to hand the batsman another run. Bairstow, who was out lbw when sweeping in the first innings, drops to one knee to play across the line but misses. No chance of lbw though.

ENG 216-4Bell continues to close in on his hundred with a single to third-man. Bairstow has batted very sensibly in this innings so far. Bird's line is impressive, as usual, but there's no movement to trouble the batsman. The lead is 184. Bell 95* Bairstow 28*

ENG 221-4There's some big turn for Lyon outside leg-stump. The spin is enough to beat Haddin and hand England four byes. Swann will be licking his lips. Australia's left-handed players might be wincing. A push into the off-side earns Bell a single, with substitute fielder Ashton Agar failing to pick up the ball cleanly.


ENG 221-5Excellent bowling from Lyon gives Australia a massive breakthrough. There's some big bounce for the spinner and it's enough to catch Bairstow's edge. Haddin takes a good catch to bring a promising innings to an end.

ENG 223-5It's Bresnan, rather than Prior, who comes to the crease as England look to protect their last recognised batsman. The new batsman gets off the mark with two through cover. Good over for Lyon. He's taken a crucial wicket there.

ENG 224-5Bell opens the face of the bat to once again earn a single to third-man. Bird goes very full to Bresnan, who can't quite connect well enough to score off a couple of drives. Plenty of huffing and puffing from the bowler, but no lapses of concentration from Bresnan. Bell 97* Bresnan 2*

ENG 224-5Excellent work from Lyon. Bell's pursuit of a century is made to go on for a bit longer due to some very accurate bowling. The spinner is doing a good job for his captain at the moment. Can the tourists find another wicket before the close of play?

ENG 227-5Bresnan hands the strike to his partner with a flick off the toes for one. Chance! Bell's excellent innings almost comes to an end. Bird finds some extra bounce to surprise the batsman, who loops a cut shot just wide of the diving Clarke at gully.

ENG 228-5CENTURY FOR BELL! A quick single to mid-on sees Bell reach his century. Everyone applauds what has been another classy innings from a player at the top of his game. It's his third hundred of the series and it looks like we can end the voting for the 'Man of the Series' award. Brilliant batting.

ENG 231-5Great delivery from Lyon, who turns one to strike Bell's pad. It's probably doing too much though, so the lbw appeal is quickly rejected. Bell drives a fuller ball through cover for three later on in the over. Good contest between these two. Bell 103* Bresnan 3*

ENG 232-5It must be late in the day because Clarke has turned to Steve Smith. The leg-spinner is typically inconsistent with his length in the over, but he's not fully punished by the England players. Just a single coming from the six balls. I think we've got time for one more over.

ENG 234-5Bell nudges a single off his hip to get to the non-striker's end. Bresnan takes the responsibility to negotiate the remainder of the over. He does so impressively and even manages to collect a run from the final ball of the day. An exciting day of Test cricket comes to an end at Chester-le-Street.

ENG 234-5CLOSE OF PLAY: The applause inside the ground is for one figure. Ian Bell has stole the limelight once again with a fantastic 105* and it's obvious that this innings could prove to be vital. England were in a spot of bother earlier this afternoon but Bell's 20th Test ton has handed his side the control. At the end of day three England lead by 202. Bresnan is there with Bell on 4*.

6.51pmWe'll end the day by giving you a pleasing statistic. For England fans, anyway. England now have three current players with 20 Test centuries to their name. Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen and now Ian Bell have all reached that milestone.

6.53pmEngland are just edging things at the moment. Tomorrow morning will be important. England will be desperate to increase this lead, while Australia need to find a way to end Bell's dominance.

6.58pmPlease make sure you return at 10.30am tomorrow when our coverage of this absorbing Test match continues. Thanks for joining me today. Goodnight.

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Stuart Broad celebrates after taking Michael Clarke's wicket during day four of the First Ashes Test match at Trent Bridge on July 13, 2013
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