De­cid­ing to bat again was wrong call, ad­mits Saker

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport Second Ashes Test - By Nick Hoult Open­ing up: David Saker says Aus­tralia were frus­trated on the fourth day

Noth­ing bet­ter summed up the change in for­tunes in this Test match at the end of day four than an Aus­tralian voice ad­mit­ting to mis­takes.

For David Saker, the for­mer Eng­land bowl­ing coach who now works for their ri­vals, to ad­mit that cap­tain Steve Smith had been wrong not to en­force the fol­low-on be­fore agree­ing his team’s use of the de­ci­sion re­view sys­tem was not good enough were vic­to­ries of sorts for Eng­land.

Smith’s de­ci­sion to bat again un­der the lights on day three opened the door for Eng­land and gifted James An­der­son per­fect bowl­ing con­di­tions that re­sulted in his first five-wicket haul in Aus­tralia.

Saker de­scribed hav­ing a new ball un­der the lights as a “lux­ury” for Eng­land and, af­ter his time work­ing with An­der­son, he knows how skil­ful he can be if the con­di­tions are at all help­ful.

“They are very good in those con­di­tions. They are like English con­di­tions and they can ex­ploit that. Our bowlers, given the op­por­tu­nity in those con­di­tions, could have done the same,” said Saker. “With hind­sight it was [wrong not to en­force fol­low-on]. There are dif­fer­ent rea­sons why you go back out and bat.

“One is to give your own bowlers a rest, but it is also to give the op­po­si­tion bowlers an­other time to bowl be­cause it is a long se­ries and it helps to get big overs into them. We prob­a­bly did not think it was go­ing to move around as much as it did, that is for sure. Given those con­di­tions, we could have done a sim­i­lar job, but who knows?

“Steve is a very de­ter­mined guy so he’ll think about things and make sure we’ll be right to play. He’s ob­vi­ously frus­trated about what’s hap­pened but I don’t think he’s ru­ing the de­ci­sion.”

Smith lost two re­views in three balls as he hunted Eng­land wick­ets af­ter fail­ing to call for one when Alas­tair Cook was lbw to Mitchell Starc early on.

Smith has had prob­lems with DRS be­fore and he ended the day as the butt of jokes from the Barmy Army, who were mock­ing him with the ‘T-sign’ for a re­view when­ever there was an lbw ap­peal.

“We got a few wrong to­day with­out a doubt. We made some mis­takes. We al­ways talk about, pre-se­ries, the pro­cesses of DRS and we got it wrong,” said Saker. “It is frus­trat­ing to not have any re­views left in the bag go­ing into the last day.”

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