Ashes, day 3, close: North has been around the compass but looks to be going in the right direction now

Not sure what to make of today’s play. I woke up late, hurried downstairs to find that Jimmy “in the form of his life” Anderson had done some damage – and something to make that label fit – and before long Punter had brought up his 150 and chopped Monty on.

But further inroads proved impossible to come by and despite another hour’s absence from the TV while I trod the weary route to work, the Aussies were still only four down when I arrived.

What I saw of Marcus North impressed me greatly; for someone who has played for five English counties, I can’t help feeling I should have seen a bit more of him. Some have used that record as a stick to beat him with, the implication being that he has never been able to cement his place at any one county; without further research, which I’m not in the mind to do right now, I don’t know whether there’s any truth in that.

It could just be that he has lots of admirers out there in English domestic cricket. Or he likes to move around. Try new things. See new places.

Whatever, he seems to see the ball very well and is a much more attractive watch than Katich or Hughes, regularly giving it the full face. He seems to have that solidity which appears to be endemic among Australia’s middle order.

It may rain tomorrow, giving England hope of saving the match, but if not, I expect more runs to flow from North and there’s still Brad Haddin and the ever-improving Mitchell Johnson to come.

Even Nathan Hauritz at No9 can put bat to ball.

So England will do well to get out of this and head to Lord’s still on level terms; then, their all-round game has to improve markedly.

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