I do declare!… Eventually…

So, you are Andrew Strauss and your team has outplayed the Old Enemy for the second Test in succession.

Your bowling attack is superior, your batsmen are breaking records. Your opposition are in disarray, key players are out of form, and their selection policies seem born of knee-jerk desperation.

You have skittled them for 245 and responded with a total that’s the highest for England in Australia since 1928.

Their shoulders are hunched and their heads are down, and your team are riding the wave.

You have two days to win this, but with one big caveat.

Rain is on the way. Not just rain, but thunderstorms and hailstones the size of golf-balls, real wrath-of-god type shit. This weather is forecast to disrupt the tail-end of Day 4, and very likely wipe out completely any prospect of play on Day 5.

What do you do, motherfucker? WHAT DO YOU DO?

Andrew Strauss decided to take the safe option. He did not declare overnight.

He did not send a message to a beaten Australian side, saying: We have enough runs, bring it on, make us bat again; anything you set us, we will chase down, or give it one bloody good try.

No.  Despite having a lead of 306, he sent Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell back out to the middle.

We waited, listing to ourselves all the possible milestones that Strauss would permit England to achieve before calling them in. A lead of 350; 600 runs on the board; Kevin Pietersen accomplishing a new personal best Test score – all these key moments came and went and still no sign from the balcony.

At one stage, we were treated to the sight of a maiden over being bowled, while Stuart Broad sat with his pads on up in the England balcony.

Time drained away, and the rain clouds got ever closer.

Finally, after KP had departed and England’s lead had reached 375, Strauss finally waved them in.

The message this sends to Australia is a negative one. It says England have no confidence batting last on this wicket, despite the Australian attack being garbage. If Australia do make them bat again, how hard would it be, given the superlative form of England’s batsmen, to chase down 150 or so?

And worse than that is that the weather reports seem to have been disregarded in favour of the canny approach of looking out the dressing room window and saying, “Well, it’s not raining now, is it?” as Graeme Swann indicated they had more or less done in his interview at the end of the day’s play.

As weather reports go, this is pretty much on a par with Michael Fish back in 1987 forecasting that it “might get a bit breezy today”. Awesome – now what’s this I’ve heard about a hurricane?

Andrew Strauss kept England batting for 9 overs while 69 runs were added. Rain came after tea, as predicted, and over an hour of play was lost. Considerably more time will be lost tomorrow. At best England may have a window of two hours in the morning before the thunderstorms descend with a vengeance, kiboshing the remainder of the day.

Australia will start the day 4 wickets down, included among them the valuable scalp of Michael Clarke, snared off the last ball by England’s new all-rounder (according to him, anyway) Kevin Pietersen and breaking a valuable partnership.

England would rather they were in the tail. Time, due mostly to the weather and partly to Strauss’s conservative captaincy, is not on their side.

If the weather arrives as forecast, a draw seems almost certain now. It would be scant reward for an England team that has played so well.

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