Day 5 - Close
After three Tests, the weather is all that separates these sides. When the sun shines, Australia are solid and unerring. Under dark skies, England look a class above.
Today the scene was set for another Edgbaston epic but under bright skies, we had a return to Cardiff. England’s impotent bowling met Australia's impenetrable batting.
Michael Clarke has been the best batsmen on either side this series. His twinkle-toed progress over the last four years when compared with Ian Bell betrays volumes about the two men and the systems that produced them.
For a day brimming with potential it was frustrating how flat the atmosphere was. Strauss maintains admirable composure as a captain but lacks inspiration. Quite why Jimmy Anderson, England’s best bowler today, was held back over an hour is a mystery.
As ever, questions must be asked about the pitch . Once the ball refuses to deviate off the straight, the game becomes more a Test of patience than skill. Nevertheless, bowlers must develop other options. After all, Glenn McGrath, Zaheer Khan and Mathew Hoggard have proved that there can be life beyond swing.
With barely a moments reflection the party moves to Headingly this Friday. For all the agonising over team selection, the outcome will probably be written in the skies.
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