Australia's selectors picking Shaun Marsh, and Joe Root sending Australia in to bat. If these were two of the more controversial decisions made in relation to this Ashes series, only one now appears an inspired call. On the second day at Adelaide Oval, Marsh pulled and drove his way to the fifth hundred of his Test career, while Root faced the embarrassment of seeing Australia declare in their sixth session of batting after he sent them in.
Their total was 8 for 442, and they had batted for 149 overs. Root had spoken at the toss about his bowlers getting two chances with the new ball on day one, a curious mindset for a captain choosing to field. By the time Steven Smith declared, a third new ball was on the horizon. Australia's score was only the 97th-highest total by any team having been sent in to bat in Test history, but for Root that comfort was as cold as the rainy Adelaide evening.
England progressed to 1 for 29 in their reply, having lost Mark Stoneman as well as a review to a Mitchell Starc yorker that would have crashed into leg stump. Alastair Cook was on 11 and James Vince was yet to score when the wet weather arrived and ended play for the evening. England remained 413 runs in arrears, and the Ashes were slipping ever further out of their grasp.
If it was a black day for England, it was a red-letter one for Australia's selectors. Not only did Marsh make an unbeaten 126 but the wicketkeeper Tim Paine, an even more surprising selection, had frustrated England with a breezy 57 that came at a key juncture. Paine had walked to the crease in the first over of the day, after Stuart Broad trapped Peter Handscomb lbw for 36; Australia were 5 for 209, and England could dream of a quick kill.
But Paine counter-attacked against the still-new pink ball, striking early boundaries off James Anderson and putting the pressure back on to England. He survived a worrying blow to his right hand - his struggle to recover from a fractured right index finger contributed to his long absence from international cricket - and his aggressive mood meant Marsh at the other end could bide his time, adding only 29 runs to his score in a two-and-a-half-hour opening session.