‘Dying’ Test cricket reigns supreme at Edgbaston
Pat Cummins steered a ball on off down towards the boundary, with the resulting misfield allowing it to reluctantly kiss the rope and bring Australia a victory, that with two wickets left and more than 50 runs still to gather, had not long earlier appeared beyond them.
But amid quiet nip-and tuck accumulation, as England’s bowlers tried to extract something out of the deadest of pitches, it was Cummins’ lofting of Joe Root for two sixes in an over that in retrospect changed the arc of this game.
It invited Nathan Lyon to hit a couple of shots – one spectacularly and decisively over mid-on against Stuart Broad – that he probably hadn’t struck since those heady schoolboy days of playing imaginary Ashes matches in his backyard. That he suddenly again became conversant in a language he had long since misplaced was ultimately to Australia’s gain and England’s detriment.
But throughout these five June days the game had ebbed and flowed like Ahab’s boat on the choppy Atlantic seas.
Even as the morning rain bounced off the covers and left deep puddles on the Birmingham outfield, the permutations clicked on enticingly. Would England have enou