James Taylor upstaged by Kevin Pietersen clone

Australians 366-5dec Sussex 228-5 (Day two of three: Sussex trail by 138 runs): England star-in-waiting plods to 64 but Hamilton-Brown hits swashbuckling 73 in the style of KP

hove

If the England selectors were looking for a tall, muscular batsman who could replicate, rather than simply replace, Kevin Pietersen at Old Trafford, they found one in a Sussex top order rejigged in the national interest.

Unfortunately for Geoff Miller and his consiglieri, that Pietersen clone was not the guest player installed at No 4 to reconnoitre the Australian attack before the Third Test. While James Taylor eked out 64 turgid runs in 146 balls of hard toil that enhanced the suspicion that his opponents endorsed his bid as a potential Pietersen replacement, Rory Hamilton-Brown produced a damp day's most eye-catching performance.

The Australians batted on only long enough for Steve Smith to slash the boundary that brought up his seventh first-class century.

Soon after, despite giving Taylor a three-over start, Hamilton-Brown was doing his best Pietersen impersonation, racing to a half-century while the England prospect was still in single figures. And Taylor had advanced to only 28 when Hamilton-Brown departed for 73, scored from just 51 deliveries with 11 fours and two sixes.

As Australian quicks Jackson Bird and Mitchell Starc jousted for the right to replace the stricken James Pattinson, Hamilton-Brown provided the visitors with a further dilemma over the identity of their third Test spinner. Nathan Lyon is bidding to join or replace Ashton Agar at Old Trafford on Thursday but Hamilton-Brown did little to clarify the pecking order by treating both bowlers with equal disdain.

The right-hander faced just three Lyon overs but clattered them for 35, including two sweet drives on to corporate tents at the sea end. He was barely less hostile to Agar, though the teenager finally got his reward during a remarkable over in which a booming straight drive threatened the sightscreen slats while two edges burst through wicketkeeper Matthew Wade before he grasped a third.

Back at Sussex after three seasons at Surrey, Hamilton-Brown confronted an Australian team who were mostly wayward with the ball and sloppy in the field. The exception was Bird, whose splendid new-ball spell snared both openers, Chris Nash and Luke Wells. Nash was beaten by three consecutive leg-cutters before a low edge carried to slip, while Wells was undone by a slower ball that evaded his probing bat to scatter his stumps.

Conventional wisdom would suggest Starc, with his ability to gain reverse swing, might be favoured for Old Trafford, but Bird's control and movement has provided a compelling case for a third bowler of a feather alongside Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle. The ground was parched and brown but not even 40 overs were bowled in the day before rain drenched it with its first moisture in many weeks.

Smith is less frenetic in his movements and approach these days than when he burst into the Test side on promise and an ill-conceived youth policy. He has quietly eased his way back into the middle order while the spotlight has beamed on to more flamboyant colleagues such as David Warner and Phil Hughes.

Smith is unlikely to be promoted to No 4 should Hughes make way for Warner at Old Trafford, but his energy and versatility indicate a player whose career is on the rise.

His potential was apparent as a 20-year-old when he scored four centuries in nine Sheffield Shield innings for New South Wales. The road has been more barren since as the diverse challenges of honing his talents for Test cricket were buffeted by limited-overs demands.

Smith's versatility and hitting power, brilliant fielding and occasional leg-spin have made him a regular on the global 20-over circuit without ever cementing his status in the format's upper echelon.

Claiming four wickets at Lord's was a reminder that Smith was once selected as Australia's main spinner, even if that speculative promotion merely continued the pick-and-mix approach that marked the vacuum left by Shane Warne's exit.

Still, Smith's 3 for 18 in the first innings at Lord's was his best bowling display in nearly three years in any form of the game, and the confidence he gained from that has transferred to his work with the bat.

More Warner woe

David Warner was embroiled in an on-field row with Thami Tsolekile while batting for Australia A against South Africa A in Pretoria yesterday. The umpires halted the game while they spoke to the pair. It was the latest in a list of misdemeanours involving Warner, who hopes to be recalled to Australia's senior side for the Third Test.

News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower