When England last won the Ashes in Australia, a substantial part of that success was down to the weight of runs contributed by a tall, left-handed, opening batsman. His son, a major part of England’s current side, has spent a large part of this test, and the last, watching another tall, left-handed, opening batsman batting better than he ever has before.
Chris Broad, father of Stuart, scored 487 runs in the 1986/87 Ashes series, including three centuries. Alistair Cook – big, not as bad, but much better than Stu’s dad – has already scored 438 runs in the 2010/11 series, broken countless records, and could pass Broad Senior’s run tally tomorrow morning in just his third innings. He’s only been dismissed the once in over 1,000 minutes of batting.
Australia’s day actually started quite brightly, with Andrew Strauss generously leaving a straight delivery from Doug Bollinger that removed his off bail. That was as good as it got for them, however, they returned that generosity in spades. Good England batting, bowling no better than Brisbane and dropped catches allowed Cook, Jonathan Trott and Kevin Pietersen to pile on the runs and the agony for Ricky Ponting.
Bollinger and Ryan Harris have toiled hard, but haven’t added the cutting edge that was badly missed at Brisbane, while England’s batsmen have not allowed the spinner Xavier Doherty to settle. There is a hint of turn already, and Marcus North got at least one delivery to turn sharply out of the footholes.
England are 72 runs ahead at the end of day two. England’s job is to keep batting, grind the Aussie’s already dog-tired bowlers even further into the dirt and aim to have a lead of 500 by lunchtime on day four. With another day of near 40 degree heat, it will be prime opportunity for Swann to attack, attack and attack some more with men around the bat.