England v Australia – Day 3 Open Threading…And Live Blog

Day 3 – Live Blog

10:50 – We are going to live blog some of the day, as much as we feasibly can. So it’s Dmitri to open up, speaking in the third person again, as England resume 17 behind.

10:52 – Isa Guha already with the “first half hour is crucial” klaxon.

11:00 – Remembering when we had a good day 2 in 2002 at the Gabba. My mate, Sir Peter, interviewed me for the video where England, starting at 160-odd for 1, chasing 490 ish were doing well. I said we’d collapse and lose within four days. So I don’t do optimism. England to be bowled out for 320, Australia to be 200 for 4 tonight.

11:02 – Trumpeter, Jerusalem, self-regarding round of applause. Worse than booing. First runs of the day from a Pattinson ball that swung through the gap between 1st and 2nd slip. A bye. All Paine’s fault, that one. Burn’s first ball reduces his “control percentage”. 268 for 4 at the end of the first over.

11:07 – First runs from the bat as Stokes drives a full ball from Cummins, which is half-stopped in the covers. Just the one from the second over of the day. 269 for 4.

11:11 – Pattinson pitches one short, and Stokes cuffs it through square leg for a couple. Stokes moves into the 40s. Plays a lovely on-drive next ball and straight to Siddle. Big appeal after the last ball, but Stokes hit the ground with his bat. Replay confirms he missed the ball by miles. 271 for 4.

11:16 – Burns being careful, not yet added to his total halfway through the second Cummins over of the day. Checking Cummins’ speed, and he is just under 90 mph on that last delivery, which also reduced Burns’ control percentage. A maiden. 271 for 4.

11:19 – Pattinson comes around the wicket, and Stokes punches him down the ground with a glorious drive for 4. Moves on to 45. Then goes for a drive and misses a wide one. No more runs from the over, and it is 275 for 4.

11:23 – Rory Burns current score of 125 puts him joint 2029th in the highest test innings. The single nudged into the legside, lifts him to 1972nd equal . Stokes glides one through third man for another boundary and moves on to 49. End of the over and it is 280 for 4.

11:29 – Pattinson in to Burns, and looking at his pace, he is in the mid-80s. From the third ball Burns runs a single down to third man. Stokes bunts a ball straight, sets off, scampers through and brings up his 50. His 18th according to Nasser. Well played vice-captain. Burns moves up to 1921st equal with that single earlier. End of the over and it is 282 for 4.

11:34 – Botham “England have been playing nicely”:

WICKET – BEN STOKES  Caught Tim Paine  Bowled Pat Cummins 50

282 for 5

New batsman is Jonny Bairstow. Stokes went for a cut slightly too close to him, and got an edge off the top of the bat for a regulation catch to Paine. Bairstow off the mark with a quick single to the off side for his first test runs of the summer. 283 for 5.

11:40 – After a delay, Bairstow hits a leg-stump half volley for four. England go into the lead. Off the fourth ball of the over, Bairstow nicks but it falls well short of the slips. Another ball on leg stump is clipped through square, but there is a boundary fielder and a single is the result. 288 for 5. Burns denied the strike again.

11:47 – Peter Siddle on. Last ball (fourth of the over) and his pace is 79.8 mph. Remember pace being king two years ago? Gets Bairstow to play and miss from ball five. Maiden. 288 for 5.

11:52 – Nathan Lyon on. Prodigious turn, but Burns gets off strike hitting a short ball to deep point for a single. 1876th equal, if you are interested. Botham and Warne in full 13 fielder attack mode. End of the over. 289 for 5.

11:56 – Siddle on to bowl to Burns. Plays and misses again from the second as he tries to drive. Wide one and Burns smashes it through cover for four. That puts Burns up 147 places in the highest innings table to 1729=. Just the four runs from the over. 293 for 5 and drinks.

12:02 – 26 runs in that first hour for the loss of Stokes. Bairstow looking jittery. Burns playing and missing but still there. Lyon to continue after refreshment. A maiden.

12:06 – Burns takes a single from the first ball of Siddle’s over and moves on to 133 (1695th=). Bairstow gets one on his pads from the second ball and knocks it to deep backward square for 2. 296 for 5.

12:10 – Burns goes.

WICKET – RORY BURNS  Caught Tim Paine  Bowled Nathan Lyon 133

296 for 6

Perilously close to a no-ball, but Lyon’s slightly quicker one catches the edge of Burns’ bat, and Paine holds on to it after quite a deflection. Burns didn’t have a lot of the strike this morning, but his luck, such as it was, ran out.

12:13 – Moeen Ali faces his first ball, and it goes for four (what? legbyes or byes) to bring up the 300. Fired down leg side and Siddle’s slide could not prevent the boundary.

WICKET – MOEEN ALI  Bowled Nathan Lyon 0

300 for 7

Oh Dear. Moeen Ali leaves a straight one and off pole is knocked out. Dear oh dear. Sanga obviously didn’t teach him that pre-game. England are not looking likely for a decent lead here.

12:17 – Chris Woakes joins Jonny Bairstow, Siddle continues. Cracking straight drive from the third ball is well stopped by Siddle, and Woakes’ bat.

WICKET – JONNY BAIRSTOW  Caught David Warner  Bowled Peter Siddle 8

300 for 8

Bairstow tries to force a delivery close to him, but nicks hard and chest high to David Warner who takes a pretty decent catch. Might have been a bit optimistic with 320 earlier on. This is very much game on. England 33 for 4 this morning. 3 wickets in 11 balls. Wicket maiden. 300 for 8

12:23 – Lyon continues. Woakes uses his feet and drives it down to mid-on for a single. Leaves Broad with two balls to face in the over. Your annual reminder that Broad has a better test best innings than Mark Waugh. He sees off the over. 301 for 8.

12:28 – Cummins returns to the attack. Harsh on Siddle who will give these two little to hit and has just taken a wicket. Interesting shot from Woakes who somehow pulls a single with a swat which he took his eyes off of. A single. Isa Guha is trying too hard in commentary. You are following the Attack Attack Attack brothers, just let it flow. Broad hip flicks it through where leg gully had been for a single. End of the over 303 for 8.

12:33 – Broad sweeps Lyon for three, thanks to some good teamwork on the boundary. Someone has the (lack of) thought to play that shot against received wisdom. Woakes bat pads one for a single behind square from the fifth ball of the over, out of the despairing reach of the big headed one. Four off the over, 307 for 8.

12:38 – Oh, we have a pillock dressed as inflatable Baby Trump. Who has the joy of sitting behind that? Bet they are thrilled. That’s what I mean about caring about other supporters. Anyway, Woakes takes a single first ball. Broad holds out his bat, guides it to wide third man for two. Cummins goes around the wicket and Broad drops it into the offside for a single. Over concludes with the score 311 for 8.

12:43 – Broad sweeps from way outside off, and gets a single to deep square leg. Second ball, appeal, did Woakes get an inside nick? But Aussies don’t review. Third ball, Woakes comes down the pitch, hits it straight to Bancroft, but Woakes gets back as he tries to run him out. Gower did that to Wessels in 1985, if I recall. Or was it Boon? Definitely in the 4th innings. Woakes steers a ball turning onto the stumps into the offside for another single. A bit of action here. Until last two balls. 313 for 8. It was Wessels.

12:47 – Siddle back into the attack. That Cummins experiment didn’t last long, nor did it seem to be for any purpose. Camera goes on Ed Smith, AGAIN. How many times did you see previous Chairman of Selectors on screen during games? Drives me mad. Camera goes to Hoggard, in an interesting get-up. Not a lot happening this over so far. This is just the 22nd over today, and we are 10 minutes from lunch. I could have had a ticket for today, but turned it down. Last ball of the over brings out a good shot for no runs for Woakes. Maiden. 313 for 8.

12:51 – Another sweep middled for a single by Broad. Woakes uses his feet and squirts one through the onside for another single. Lead at 31. Broad got rid of the short leg who drops to make Broad think twice about the sweep.  He’s got to be a little pleased that he got the Aussies to move one away. Then he plays a little dab sweep to fine leg for another single – he’s a batting troll! Into double figures. And a nice little Bye Bonus as Woakes gets bamboozled, Paine freezes and four byes results. Nice runs. Should possibly have been leg byes. 320 for 8.

12:55 – A single dabbed into the offside by Broad, who moves on to 11. Lead up to 37. 322 for 8 as Woakes took a single in my absence.

12:59 – Woakes slog sweeps Lyon’s first ball for 6. I missed it going to the lav! That’s all she wrote for that session. It is lunch and England made 61 for 4 in that session (as Gower says it) and are 328 for 8. Hope you followed the morning play on here. England’s lead has moved from insignificant, to small. A lead of 50 and England have something to work with.

13:41 – Pattinson to start after lunch. Sky showed a piece on the 1981 series, again, but they are always nice to watch. Love how Gower took the stick and went “think something special is coming soon”. Anyway, Broad to face. Broad clips one to square from the third ball. The next squares up Woakes, who gets an edge down to third man for another single. Two from the over, 330 for 8.

13:48 – Nathan Lyon on, and Woakes clips his second ball for a single behind square on the leg side. 320 was too pessimistic. Broad plays and misses at ball three. He then plays a brilliant lofted slog sweep through mid-wicket, and collects a boundary. He nudges a ball behind square for a single next ball. Lead now over 50. 336 for 8.

13:52 – Broad stays leg side of a ball from Pattinson and plays and misses. Broad collects another single as I receive a sad tweet from Innocent Bystander which might become more clear in the next days or so (not going to share it as yet). Woakes gets two from the last ball, and it is 339 for 8.

13:57 – Broad collects another single through point. Woakes adds another from ball five. Two runs from the over. 341 for 8. If England were bowling now, we’d be going incandescent with rage.

13:59 – Woakes gives the second ball from Pattinson a good old spank, but well fielded by Lyon. He guides ball three to long leg for another single. Partnership is a handy 42 at this stage. Broad stabs another into the offside for a single from ball 5 and moves onto 20. Woakes takes another single from the last ball, and also moves onto 20. 344 for 8 and a lead of 60.

14:04 – Lyon continues as David Lloyd implies that Steve Smith is really captain of this team. Woakes drives through mid-on for a single from Lyon’s second ball. It does appear as though Smith has a lot of input into the field placing. Lyon bowls a little legside, Broad sweeps, you wonder how that didn’t bowl him. So he sweeps again, but for no run. Over finishes at 345 for 8.

14:07 – Pattinson continues. 68mph slower ball was clipped by Woakes through square leg for a single. Broad guides one through the slips for another single down to third man. Teddy stretches out on the living room floor and tries to sleep, while the Aussies try to change the ball again. “Same Old Aussies, Always Cheating” rings around Edgbaston. Then Woakes plays and misses and the crowd appeal. Bantz. Teddy moves to under the window. Woakes gets the edge, the ball goes down through the two slips, and he collects another single. Sanga thinks Mitch Marsh’s dibblers could make all the difference. Pattinson tries to york Broad on the last ball, but he keeps it out. 348 for 8.

14:13 – Not sure Sanga is supposed to introduce the female commentator as “lovely”. There’s a bit of a silence. No ball called for three behind leg, according to Botham. Still no Isa. Woakes dances down the pitch and brings up the 50 partnership. Still no Isa Guha. A standing ovation for the partnership. Isa speaks! Broad sweeps again, collects a single, and the crowd suddenly seem really into it. Woakes dabs down for another single. Little by little. This is the highest 9th wicket partnership for England v Australia at Edgbaston. 352 for 8 at the end of that over. Has Sanga been given a little “training”.

14:17 – Cummins on and Woakes shovels it through leg again for another single. Broad collects another single to third man. End of the over 354 for 8.

14:24 – Steve Smith on and a single from the first ball. Woakes takes a single from the fifth ball and then Broad plays and misses at the last. Two from the over. 356 for 8.

14:26 – Another single from Woakes from the first ball of Cummins’ over. End of the over, 357 for 8.

14:30 – Full bunger from Smith, and Woakes works it through mid-wicket for a single. Another single. Broad gets a bottom edge, nutmegs Tim Paine, and collects four to backstop. This is getting seriously annoying for the Aussies now. A single follows, and Woakes adds another. Lead up to 80. 364 for 8.

14:34 – Woakes guides the ball down to third man for yet another single. Lovely for England, but not exactly the stuff live-blogging is made of. One from the over. 365 for 8.

14:39 – Lyon is back after the Smith experiment. Maiden over and drinks. 365 places 120th on England’s all time innings against Australia. 380 gets you into the top 100. DLP wanted 50 more at lunch. Well he’s not far away from his wish. 37 for no loss since lunch.

14:44 – Cummins to resume after drinks. Load of short stuff, Broad looks less and less comfortable and:

WICKET – STUART BROAD  Caught James Pattinson Bowled Pat Cummins 29

365 for 9

He shovels a short one up in the air, Pattinson stabilises, and takes a comfortable catch. The end of a 65 run partnership. Could this be vital?

14:50 – Anderson on strike to Lyon as the batsmen crossed during that dismissal. A reverse sweep and a few blocks means a maiden. 365 for 9.

14:55 – Cummins to continue. The game appears to have got a little stuck.  Woakes turns down a single from the fourth ball. Did he just turn down a single from the 5th ball as well? Confused on England. Cummins bowls a wide one, no run. Maiden. 365 for 9.

15:00 – Appeal first ball for LBW. Nothing doing. Anderson slog sweeps a single. Hallelujah. Woakes flips one over the keeper for a single too. Two from the over. 367 for 9.

15:04 – Game not moving. Woakes drives and could get an easy two, but they don’t run. Doesn’t look good for Anderson. A big thick edge does go for 4, so I suppose it might be something that works. Nothing else doing from the over. 371 for 9.

15:07 – Cummins on again, now bowling at Anderson, which makes turning down long singles a little strange. Anderson nearly gets a boundary, but it’s saved and it is two runs. Anderson looking pretty injured here, but sticking at it. 373 for 9.

15:08 – Lyon back on and Woakes takes another single.

WICKET – JIMMY ANDERSON  Caught Pat Cummins Bowled Nathan Lyon 3

374 All Out.

England’s number 11 skies one, and Cummins collects it at short mid-on. A lead of 90. And I can now take a break!

Right, TLG here to take over from a presumably knackered Dmitri.  And the first discovery is that that are different coloured fonts available.  Well bloody hell.  I can see this annoying everyone in no time at all.

Decent effort from England there, a lead of 90 is more than handy.  We’re going to have a very long evening session, with tea having been taken early for one thing, and (naturally) because they are bowling the overs pathetically slowly and we’ll be using the extra half hour and still won’t get them all in.  But apparently the scoreboard is showing they’re only 1 over behind the rate, given how the ICC couldn’t give a rat’s arse about spectators getting the overs they paid for.

Anyway, as the afternoon went on, the Hollies stand appeared to be getting ever more well oiled, so it’ll doubtless be the 16th most hostile welcome for the Australian openers.

1535: No Anderson on the field, which shouldn’t really surprise anyone.   Big appeal from Broad for one that was going over the stumps by the distance of a low flying aircraft, followed up with a good one past the outside edge.  Good start from him.

1540: Woakes to share the new ball.  You’d think this was very much a pitch it up kind of surface now, there’s little in it in terms of pace.

15:50 WICKET!! 13-1 Warner goes caught Bairstow bowled Broad.  Plenty of incident that over, as Warner punches down the ground for four, and then tries to leave one, but the ball took the edge.  Given not out, so another umpiring error, but Broad didn’t appeal for it, it was the keeper and slips who were absolutely certain.  Huge wicket for England, and Broad’s 450th in Test cricket.  It’s fair to say the crowd enjoyed that one too.

15:56 Pretty routine quiet over from Woakes.  Back to Broad, who is looking dangerous.

16:02 This is one of those periods where it seems little is happening, but England are carrying a threat here. 

16:10 Interesting, an early bowl for Moeen Ali.  A rather defensive field set, four on the boundary, which is rather negative.  Moeen turns one between Bancroft’s bat and pad, just missing the off stump.  Promising!  Equally, the deep set field allows runs to be picked off for the rest of the over.  26-1, and England seem to want to sit in and preserve the lead and build pressure more than trying to force wickets.

Good to see us still causing trouble:

16:20 WICKET!!  Moeen strikes to remove Bancroft, 27-2.  Moeen is bowling beautifully, and gets some bite off the surface to take the inside edge of Bancroft’s bat, on to the pad, and into Jos Buttler’s grateful mitts.  All of which means Australia are in some trouble, so fortunately for them the man coming in (to boos) is Steve Smith.  If England can get rid of him cheaply…Nearly a second wicket in the over, as Khawaja edges to slip.  It just about carried to Buttler, but was far from easy.  Rash, all over, and England – rearrange as needed.

16:26 For someone who has bowled so well, that’s a woeful over from Broad, overpitching on Khawaja’s leg stump, then bowling a half tracker.  Thirteen off the over, and it’s 46-2.

16:32 Very odd.  England are leaking runs at quite a rate, with Australia going at 4.33 an over, but the visitors are losing wickets too. 52-2 and that’ll be drinks.

16:38 I love watching Steve Smith.  He looks completely at sea at the moment, Woakes is causing him no end of trouble.  But he finds a way to survive and then punishes bowlers hour after hour.  Some players you feel can win matches on their own – he’s one.

16:49 These two are ticking things over, 64-2.

16:55 73-2, and Australia are rather comfortable, and closing in on the deficit.  The question is at what point the pressure starts to shift from Australia to England.  Any target approaching 200 will be tricky, but that’s also a long, long way away for Australia. 

17:01 WICKET!!  Khawaja c Bairstow b Stokes 40.  Out of nowhere really, though Stokes had just come on.  Khawaja has been positive, and rather elegant, but Stokes got one to nip back just a touch and take the inside edge through to the keeper.  A rather useful delivery to end a promising innings.  Travis Head the new man, and Stokes looks up for it, bowling rapidly – 88mph to greet the new man.  And then one at 90 mph.  Blimey.  75-3, and still 15 runs in arrears.

17:08 Moeen comes back on after a solitary over from Root.  And then Stokes doesn’t quite reach the levels of his first over and it’s 85-3.

17:17 Australia draw level and England will have to bat again.  But obviously Australia are in effect 0-3, or as they would put it, 3-0.  Either way, there’s a lot of batting to be done.

17:24 Household comments on the cricket are always useful, and presumably “get the annoying little runt out” isn’t referring to Travis Head.  It all seems a bit subdued out there, and after an indifferent start, Smith looks in command.  And as I write that, one from Moeen turns sharply, prompting an appeal, but he’s outside the line, comfortably. Jofra Archer has come on to the field as 12th man, for Anderson, and at 98-3, that’s drinks.

17:32 Missed run out opportunity, straight after drinks.  Head didn’t react to the call, and Burns shied at the stumps.  Had he hit, he was well short.  But he didn’t, and on we go.

17:35 Australia’s hundred comes up, and they lead by 11.  It’s all pretty serene, brain fade running aside.  England are trying to force Smith to play through the offside, and Moeen goes around the wicket, and Smith absolutely crunches it through the covers for four.  Yep, he can play that one too. 

17:44 Stokes is causing Smith what problems there are, and he has a nice optimistic appeal for lbw for one that rather stopped in the pitch.  He pleads with Root to review it, claiming the ball was on its way back down.  Which would certainly amend the laws of physics somewhat.    Ah, Root back on.

17:49 Short ball from Stokes and Smith (for once) gets his hook shot all wrong, the ball cannoning into the side of his helmet.  Maybe he was unbalanced, but he looked a trifle unsteady on his feet in the moments immediately after.  It was a nasty blow.  As is necessary and right, the doctor is out on the field to check him out.

17:54 Thankfully Smith seems to be ok, but England are certainly trying to alternate between full and short to him.  They look like a team who just can’t work out how to get him out.  111-3

17:56 About a tenth of a chance, maybe, if that.  Head goes for a cut shot off Root, edges it and flies past Stokes before he can get his hand up.  It probably had to hit him to be at risk of being caught.

18:00 Weather closing in a bit, with the floodlights now on.  Sky appear to have given up complaining about the over rate, confining themselves to saying that they probably (!) won’t get them all in.  Given there are 13 overs left in the day, and about 25 minutes to go, we are going to be a long way short again.  Five overs lost yesterday, it’ll be even more today. 

18:03 Umpires having a bit of a chinwag about the light, and seem to be saying that Broad can’t bowl as it’s too dark.  Instead of Broad, it’ll be Joe Denly.  Nope, that’s it, they’re off, and off for the day as it’s past 6pm.  The issue about not playing even when spin bowlers are on remains fairly ridiculous, but so much in cricket is.  The last people ever considered are those who have paid to be there. 

Close of Play – Australia 124-3, leading by 34 runs.

A good day for England overall, after a stutter in the middle order.  That 90 run lead is sizeable, and while Australia have scored at quite a lick (over 4 an over), the three wickets they’ve lost leave them in a precarious position.  Smith is, as ever, the key, but only one side can afford to have an indifferent session in the morning and still have hopes of winning.  This is an intriguing Test, and if England do have the upper hand, they’re by no means home and hosed.

Hope you enjoyed the live blog, we may be back in the morning for more!

 


Welcome to the open post for your comments on the third day of the Ashes test. England start 17 runs behind with six first innings wickets in hand. The immediate goal will be to set a substantial lead, take out a large swathe of the day’s play to do so, to avoid the stretched bowling resources having to go into tomorrow over-cooked.

You don’t need my review; Chris did his one last night and it pretty much covers all the bases.

Panel Prep

Your morning questions.

  1. Rory Burns follows Sam Robson, Adam Lyth and Keaton Jennings as centurions opening the batting since Strauss retired. (Not counting Root and Cook). Tell me if he’s different to them?
  2. If 1 is all the luck in the world, rate Nathan Lyon’s day from 1-10?
  3. How many runs would you be confident England chasing down in the 4th innings?

Statswatch

Rory Burns became the 168th different England player to make a test hundred. He is the 97th England player to make an Ashes hundred. It was England’s 242nd century in Ashes cricket (please note, I am going to refer to all series as Ashes cricket even though Centenary, Bicentennial and one post-Packer series weren’t for the Ashes). 125 not out is currently the 126th= high score made by an England player. Only one England international was dismissed for 125 in Ashes cricket – Allan Lamb with his only hundred at Headingley in 1989. 135 gets you into the top hundred innings.

This was England’s 10th century in Ashes cricket at Edgbaston – three of them were in one innings (1985), two more in another (1997). Burns follows David Gower, Nasser Hussain, Ted Dexter, Tim Robinson, Johnny Tyldesley, Graham Thorpe, Raman Subba Row, Colin Cowdrey and Mike Gatting. This was England’s first Ashes hundred at Edgbaston in 22 years. Tyldesley’s hundred in 1902 was interesting. He made 138. Australia batted next and were bowled out for 36!

England have not lost an Ashes test at Edgbaston when an England player makes a century.

Connwatch

He’s very tame at the moment. Any ideas if 9Gem is a different channel, our Aussie based friends?

SelveyWatch

So rare, it is needed to be pointed out.

Shiny Toy Watch

Blocked by Paul, Watching Paul

Your Headline is wrong… (at 8pm on Friday night).

Rory Burns hits maiden Test ton on day two of first Ashes Test to bring England within just 17 runs of Australia’s first innings total with four wickets intact

It’s six wickets intact, not four.

Obligatory Cook mention..

Just a week ago Rory Burns looked more like a jumble of moving parts rather than an opener with the technique and temperament to make an Ashes century for England.

Now, glory be, someone other than Alastair Cook has finally reached three figures at the top of the order after Burns cemented his place for this series with a good old-fashioned display of Test match application for England.

Glory Be!

And at the centre of it was an opener with the most idiosyncratic of methods who looked so out of his depth even against Ireland at Lord’s last week that his selection for the Ashes looked simply like a futile exercise of blind faith.

You want more Cook (Home Ashes Centuries = 0)

Burns may be short of style but he is not lacking in character and he needed it here with England desperate to find someone, anyone, capable of making the runs at the top of the order that have eluded them ever since the glory days of Cook and Andrew Strauss.

He had made two half centuries before now but kept on getting out in somewhat soft fashion, not least when he missed a straight one from unlikely West Indian spinning hero Roston Chase when on 84 in Barbados last winter.

Glory days!

It added to the nerves being displayed, too, by Burns who spent 37 minutes on 92 and then played out nine balls on 99 before scampering a single off Lyon and taking the acclaim of another raucous crowd who continuously chanted his name.

Then followed some of the most fluent batting of the day as Ben Stokes joined Burns in an unbeaten stand of 73 that ensured day two belonged to England and a Surrey captain who has now carved his name into Ashes folklore. 

Moment of the Day Tweet

Comments on Day 3 below. We may even do some live blogging. Maybe.

I missed the classic genre of Martin Samuel at the Ashes. You can read his two lamentable efforts if you dare. Yesterday’s on the umpiring would have been rejected on this blog for being absolute shit. Today’s, on Joe Root’s conversion rate, is better, but we are talking a low bar. Why the Mail do this when they have a cricket staff, for better or worse, I will never know. Cricket writing needs Martin Samuel like a fish needs a bicycle.

Advertisements