Beer oh Beer

Joe Drabble raises a glass to Billy Bowden after Australia debutant Michael Beer was cruelly denied a maiden Test wicket

By Joe Drabble   Last updated: 4th January 2011  

Beer oh Beer

Billy Bowden signals the no-ball to break Beer's heart

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It's hard not to smile...

5pm, Sydney Cricket Ground: Australia debutant Michael Beer is celebrating the biggest moment of his life. 5.01pm: he's almost in tears.

For the second time in as many Test matches, the on-field umpire - Billy Bowden on this occasion - chose to review a front foot no-ball after an England wicket had been taken.

Opener Alastair Cook was already trudging back to the pavilion after playing the worst shot of his career, however he was handed a second life when Bowden chose to have a second glance at the location of Beer's front foot.

While the correct decision was eventually made, the question needs to be asked: Why couldn't the call have been made by the umpire at the time? Beer, a left-arm spin bowler, bowls off a five pace run-up with Bowden in prime position to make the call. Is someone in his ear making the decision for him?

Either way, that moment has completely changed the complexion of this Test match and England will now fancy their chances of racking up a substantial first-innings lead.

Negativity

Cook, unbeaten on 61 at the close, holds the key to England's innings now after Kevin Pietersen threw his wicket away late in the day. 'Chef' has already served up over 600 runs this series!

The pitch is still true and great for batting, however the slow outfield makes Australia's first-innings score look 20-30 runs better than it is.

Speaking of Australia's innings, how were Mitchell Johnson and Ben Hilfenhaus allowed to put on 76 runs for the 10th wicket? Answer: Negativity from Andrew Strauss.

The England skipper was far too quick to deploy boundary sweepers to Johnson and that allowed him to play his way in before unleashing some hefty blows on Graeme Swann.

Strauss made up for his caution with his equal fastest Test 50. He played some glorious shots through the off side and looked destined for a century until he inexplicably played all around a full delivery from Hilfenhaus.

Jonathan Trott then came and went, cleaned up by Johnson for his first Test duck in 13 innings. I think I speak for all England fans by saying he is forgiven following his heroics in Melbourne last week!

Crucial day tomorrow, I believe it will be the day that sees Paul Collingwood silence his doubters once and for all.

Until next time...