At 3.15, when Neil Foster passed the bat for a second time in consecutive overs, an 'ooh' went round Lord's. That represented the high tide of English success until Ben Smith's catch.
Dexter's committee have to accept that England's hopes of regaining the Ashes are on a par with John Major's chances of winning the next election. By comparison, Graham Taylor is a modest success.
Australia, meanwhile, have uncovered as redoubtable a prospect as any opener since Mark Taylor appeared in 1989. Michael Slater enjoyed yesterday: 'It was nice to get a half-volley on the leg stump first ball. I knew coming over here that Matthew Hayden was the favourite to partner Mark and that if he did well in the one- dayers I would have to wait. All I could do was get as many runs as I could and do my best in every match.'
On reaching his 100 he said he went 'out of control. Tubs (Taylor) told me to settle down and keep going. I was hoping for 200.'
Englishmen admiring Slater's play were thinking that there is one batsman of similar age who may not have Slater's defensive technique, but who does have a possibly greater array of shots and is just as keen to dominate the bowling: Mark Lathwell.Reuse content