Joe Root only needed one delivery to provide a taste of what’s to come on day four of the Edgbaston Test.
The England No. 4, who was yet to score, attempted a reverse ramp against Australian captain Pat Cummins on the first delivery of Monday morning, with the Dukes ball narrowly evading his outside edge.
Root, unfazed by the error, tried the exact same shot the following over against Scott Boland, and on this occasion he nailed it, with the ball sailing over the slips cordon for six.
With the lingering threat of rain in Birmingham on Tuesday, don’t be surprised if England declares later this afternoon.
England is currently 2-67, with Root (24*) and Ollie Pope (10*) unbeaten in the middle.
ASHES MATCH CENTRE: Edgbaston Test scorecard, stats
Allan Border warned Ollie Robinson put a “target on his head” as the England paceman refused to apologise after appearing to verbally abuse Usman Khawaja in the first Test at Edgbaston on Sunday.
Robinson bowled Khawaja for 141 after the Australian opener extended his overnight century on the third day.
He seemed to have some choice words for Khawaja as the batsman returned to the pavilion.
Robinson then helped clean up the tail as the Ashes-holders were bowled out for 386 — just seven runs behind England’s first-innings 393-8 declared.
‘Same old Aussies, always cheating!’ | 00:52
England, after openers Ben Duckett and Zak Crawley were dismissed in overcast, seam-friendly conditions in between two downpours, reached stumps on 28-2 in their second innings.
“It’s my first home Ashes and to get the big wicket at the time was special for me,” Robinson told a post-play press conference.
“I think Ussie played unbelievably well. And to get that wicket for us at the time as a team was massive.”
The 29-year-old added: “And I think we all want that theatre of the game, don’t we? So I’m here to provide it. I don’t really care how it’s perceived to be honest. It’s the Ashes, it’s professional sport. If you can’t handle that, what can you handle?”
Uzzie cops it after odd field works | 00:53
Robinson may not care how it is perceived, but Border warned on SEN Breakfast that Australia could use the incident as further motivation ahead of Day 4’s action.
“Generally, I think Robinson is a pretty fair bloke from what I gather,” Border said.
“But, you get fired up as a big fast bowler, words are said and then afterwards it’s all forgotten about generally.
“The media will jump on it, of course, but you know what goes around comes around, he’s put a bit of a target on his head.
“When he comes out to bat, hopefully it’s early tomorrow, and the Aussies won’t forget that’s for sure.”
Ollie Pope and star batsman Joe Root, whose unbeaten 118 was the cornerstone of England’s first-innings 393-8 declared, were both yet to get off the mark when the umpires finally abandoned play on Sunday.
“It’s nice to have two wickets overnight,” said Australia wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
“It’s pretty evenly poised … It was an exciting 20 minutes, the lights came on and the ball was moving around a bit more.”
Follow the action with live updates from Day 4! Can’t see them? Click here!