Aug 11 2013
Ian Bell and Kevin Pietersen dug in for a much-needed half-century stand after Ryan Harris tested England's resolve on day three of the fourth Investec Test at Chester-le-Street.
England took Australia's last five wickets - including that of centurion Chris Rogers (110) - for 48 runs this morning, to bowl them out for 270 and trail by only 32 after their first innings.
But after Harris (three for 40) then put the hosts under pressure, Bell and Pietersen had to respond.
The variable on this pitch has been the amount of seam movement, which at times has been extreme but this afternoon relatively modest - allowing England to move without significant alarm, but some caution, to a teatime 123 for three as the fourth-wicket pair put on an unbroken 74, mostly under cloudy skies.
England had a degree of comfort which seemed unlikely when Harris was proving such a handful either side of lunch.
Joe Root fell to a very good delivery, which seamed off the angle to hit the top of off-stump as the batsman set himself for defence slanted in.
There was perhaps little Root could have done differently but the same was not true of his captain Alastair Cook, who chased a wide one shortly after lunch and was caught-behind.
When Jonathan Trott also found Brad Haddin's gloves, bounced out as Harris persisted with a line of attack into the number three's body and was rewarded with a catch down the leg side, England were effectively 17 for three. Stuart Broad had earlier finished with five for 71, but took only the final wicket today.
Rogers and his overnight partner Haddin could add only 10 runs between them before both falling to Graeme Swann.
England were into the tail almost immediately, when Swann had Haddin lbw in the first full over of the day.
Haddin went back and missed in defence, and used up the tourists' first review to no avail as Hawk-Eye unsurprisingly projected impact halfway up the stumps.
Rogers' near six-hour vigil ended too, before Australia reached parity and the second new ball, thanks again to Swann - as well as an alert Matt Prior, and the effectiveness of Hot Spot.
The thermal-imaging technology has come in for plenty of scrutiny in this controversial summer for the decision review system.
But today, it settled an otherwise unclear issue when Prior lunged athletically from behind the wickets to short-leg to catch the ball after Rogers pushed forward at Swann - who was taking his Test tally against Australia to 50 wickets.
Umpire Tony Hill ruled not out but Hot Spot told third official Marais Erasmus there was a faint impact with glove before pad, and Rogers had to go at last after his 250 balls of skilful defiance.
Peter Siddle and Harris were therefore exposed to James Anderson and Broad in full cry, on this helpful surface.
Anderson picked up his first wicket when Siddle guided a catch low to Cook at slip, and then Nathan Lyon fell to England's pace lynchpin too lbw shuffling across the crease.
Australia still had a review left, but did not use it - and Hawk-Eye later indicated the decision would have been overturned.
Harris was not yet done with, and hit three successive and resounding boundaries off Broad before the bowler got his revenge.
Hill, who has had a tough match so far, gave Harris not out lbw - only for big-screen evidence to demonstrate an overturn, and the players were already walking off for the change of innings by the time the umpire could signal the inevitable.