One of the main highlights of the day for me came during the lunch break when the band the Duckworth Lewis Method (who I had seen the day before the Test began) performed on TMS with commentating superstar Henry Blofeld providing a cameo with impressive gusto.
In the afternoon the first moment of note was when Ian Bell was given out, only for the decision to be overturned on appeal - another colossal highlight on a personal note was the Australian in front of us insisting to the crowd that it was "plum in front boys", immediately before Hawk Eye proved him wrong. Shortly after that a twitchy innings from Bairstow was ended by Agar, who was backing up his batting performance with threat with the ball, and a breezy and rapid-scoring innings from Prior was cut short after a rash dismissal not unlike his first innings removal. This brought Bell and Broad together, who played through to tea, where we were once again serenaded by drumming, although the crowd was in a much more jubilant mood and could enjoy the enthusiastic drumming led by a Ken Livingstone look-a-like.
The key moment of the session, and of the day, came when Broad was on 37, and it seemed Clarke had clearly caught him from the bowling of Agar, via Brad Haddin's pads. But the umpire Aleem Dar saw no contact, and a utterly certain Australian appeal was cut short. Replays confirmed the suspicion that Broad had clearly edged the ball, and Australia were left fuming, as they couldn't appeal having lost two referrals.
Herein lies the key to the debate on this point for me. If the appeal system was brought in to overturn blatant mistakes like Dar's decision not to give Broad out, then for me it's totally fair that Australia have been punished for wasting referrals on risky gambles earlier in the innings. It's not what the system was brought in for, so I personally do not feel any guilt over the incident. As for Broad not walking, it's unrealistic to assume any other batsman would have done if he was in Broad's position.
The day finished with England creating a very healthy lead of 261, with four wickets in hand. We can now use previous matches to see how strong this lead is, by studying what size final-innings targets teams have chased down in the previous 10 Ashes.
Final Innings Target
Looking through the past Ashes data we can see how achievable Australia’s run chase will be.
So the way the match is poised currently is very delicate, as has often been the case so far in Nottingham. But England will be confident that their remaining five batsmen can add enough runs to put Australia in serious trouble, with anything significantly over 300 looking very hard to chase down.
Generally, teams should expect to chase down anything below 150, whilst if their target is above 200 then they should start preparing their excuses for their failure to win. When we look at the target as a percentage of that team’s first innings score, we see how tough chasing a score can be. Scores over 33% are seemingly safe, and any anything over 102% has yet to be managed.
With England's lead currently 261, which is already 93% of the Australian first innings, and with more runs potentially to come, for the first time in the match a clear favourite has emerged. It should be interesting to see if history will repeat itself or if Australia can pull off a victory which many may not realise the improbability of.