Craig Overton, the England paceman, believes early wickets on the second morning can help his side get back in the game in Manchester, after Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith powered Australia to 170/3 on a rain-marred opening day at Old Trafford.
It seemed a good toss to lose for England when Stuart Broad removed Australia's openers to reduce them to 28/2 in the first hour. But Smith and Labuschagne, both of whom have tormented England bowlers this series, revived the visitors with a 116-run stand, before Overton finally dismissed Labuschagne for 67.
The conditions weren't ideal in Manchester, though, with persistent rains and heavy winds making things difficult for the bowlers. “We feel like we can come back with a positive attitude, and try to make a difference, get someone to stand up and be the man to get conditions back in our favour,” Overton said.
“We’re probably slightly behind, but we felt the conditions weren’t quite with us today, with the rain and wind. We can come back tomorrow, get a couple of early ones, and we’ll be right back in the game."
Overton failed to create a significant impact in his first spell, but troubled both batsmen on numerous occasions in his second, and struck a crucial blow removing Labuschagne with a sharp in-swinger.
“The over before the wicket, Marnus cut me for four thinking it was the in-swinger, but I told him it wasn’t," said Overton. "Then I bowled him the in-swinger. It came out nicely and worked out quite well. There wasn’t a ‘send off’ or anything when I got him out. I was just saying ‘that one was the in-swinger, make sure you keep an eye on it’."
Overton, who made his Test debut in Adelaide during the 2017-18 series, was playing just his fourth Test in all, and his first in England. It was special. "Making my debut Down Under was really nice but making a home debut in front of my parents is special,” he said.
“It’s good to be in front of an English crowd and getting a bit of support rather than the Aussies jeering and booing you."
Smith continues to be a nagging problem for the hosts, though, and Overton, who had castled Smith for his first Test wicket in Adelaide, hopes to strike early on the second morning.
“Smith is obviously a world-class player, and he’s back as Test No.1," said Overton. "He’s always going to be difficult but we’ve got our plans so we’ll try to keep going to them and hope to get him out.”
Personalise your homepage with an ICC account
News, fixtures and updates tailored to your favourite team. Never miss a moment!