Australia vs. England: 2nd Test Day 2 Live Blog

Well we’ve just woke up here at BOC, and it appears that England have just had a nightmare. Having been put in to bat, Australia have declared on 442/8 and leaving England with a tricky 28 overs to face tonight. And without further ado, here’s the live blog:

0906 Starc bowls the first over, getting over 93mph. Bowling very full, but no swing and England play it safely with two singles.

0910 Hazlewood from the other end. Again fast and full from Australia, England score 5 runs and no real drama for England.

0916 Starc’s second over, and it looks like he’s warmed up. Stoneman gets a leading edge on the first ball and it goes in the air past backward point for four. Stoneman also plays and misses on the third ball before getting off strike with a single. Cook blocks out a yorker to finish the over.

0921 Hazlewood’s second over, and there’s an LBW shout first ball despite it pitching outside leg. Stoneman’s bat splinters whilst blocking out another yorker. Another LBW appeal whilst pitching outside leg on the last ball, which will always happen until the ball swings or Hazlewood bowls from the other side of the wicket.

0927 Starc’s second ball of the over and Cook plays and misses at a swinging ball well outside off stump. Some light relief at the end of the over as an Aussie fielder is wrongfooted by a ball hitting the edge of the square and gifting Stoneman a couple of runs.

0931 Cook gets a four off his legs on the first ball of Hazlewood’s over, then Stoneman flashes hard at a wide delivery which goes over the fielders at point all the way to the boundary. 11 runs from the over.

0936 I’m surprised Australia haven’t tried any bouncers so far. Whilst obviously bowling full is a good tactic, I’m curious how well  players can pick up the short ball under lights. That said, Cook comfortably guides a waist-high delivery with a controlled pull.

WICKET Starc bowls a full delivery at Stoneman’s leg stump, and the batsman is trapped deep in the crease playing across the ball. He goes for a DRS appeal, but unfortunately for England it shows 3 reds so they lose a review. England 29/1.

0940 Quiet over from Hazlewood at the other end. A shout for caught behind from the keeper after a glance from Cook’s pads. Vince to face his first ball from Starc at the other end…

0944 Vince blocks out the first ball, a full yorker on the stumps. Starc draws him into a play and miss outside off stump, but Vince survives with six dot balls.

0946 Cummins replaces Hazlewood, and it’s a huge appeal from Australia first ball as Cook is squared up and the ball glances off his back thigh guard to the keeper. Before another delivery can be bowled, RAIN STOPS PLAY!

0957 Bad news for England, the covers are coming off.

1003 And they’re back on again.

1018 And back off again…

BT Sport had a feature on Ben Stokes in New Zealand, which seems like a moot point. Also a mute point, as Graeme Swann was talking in the studio during the rain break so I had turned off the sound. It seemed like they were seriously talking about his return and hyping him, but with his lacklustre performance in his first game and the legal process dragging on I doubt he’ll be ready in time for an Ashes return.

1027 Umpires have just inspected the field. Apparently play has to resume by 1040 am in order to play again today. Fingers crossed!

STUMPS England are 29/1 and 413 runs behind. Presumably play will begin 30 minutes earlier tomorrow, personally I think I’ll just have another lie-in.

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The End of The Road – Preview and Possible Live Blog – 5th Day

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Day 5. In a new world this won’t exist, so I suppose we had better appreciate them while they are still here. This Day 5 comes to us with very little in the way of suspense. 56 runs to win, 10 wickets in hand, a bowling attack that never looked like taking a wicket, an off field controversy, and all around the England team are naysayers and doom-mongers wittering on about the wheels falling off. Welcome to the Ashes, welcome to the tumult that follows it around.

So, for another four year we can put away the tedious cliche that is Gabbatoir. This was a wicket England could certainly work with and for three days, give or take a session, they were well in the game, putting up a competitive, even at times, leading display. There were plaudits being thrown around for Joe Root’s captaincy, how innovative and proactive it had been. Today I heard Lovejoy effectively say he wasn’t cut out to be captain and should never have been given the job (and, I presume, the pay rise that comes with it).

There was a moment last night on commentary that Lovejoy said that there wasn’t anyone out there leading them in the field. There weren’t enough voices. Bairstow is in’t the most vocal of keepers; Moeen Ali is too laid back; Stoneman is an introvert; Vince is quite; and best of all “Alastair Cook wouldn’t say boo to a goose”. I don’t know, I read too much into things, but if you could put into microcosm what has gone wrong with English cricket since the final days of the Flower regime, this was it. It was his gang that no doubt made all newcomers feel welcome (and others, I know), and if you were particularly vocal in this your face didn’t fit and you were briefed against or sacked. Lordy, I would keep my gob shut in that atmosphere. When the time comes for you to be vocal, who is going to take any notice if you are new or been quiet for years. In the main, not always, England have won a test match since the last Ashes when in front from the start. If we fall behind, there have been a couple of fightbacks, but we fold. It was said about the last tour that this was a team at the end of its tether, with itself, and the individuals that composed it. This is a team which seems to be slightly fearful. They responded well to the early exchanges but as the game went on, they got worse. A lot worse. Not Karun Nair worse, but bad enough.

There will be a lot to chew over in the next few days, and you know we are very responsive to defeats, with plenty of constructive comment, and also poking fun and pointing out the inadequacies of fanboys/girls who somehow think that not cheering hard enough causes this, while the media reaction will be fascinating. Management and the players allowed low expectations to fester last winter as some sort of reason for failure being fine and dandy, but it doesn’t wash when most of the pundits think Australia has two batsmen and a load of filler. Chris Woakes, by acclaim, was the most improved cricketer of the last 18 months, but he’s now back in the spotlight after one anonymous game. Jake Ball was thrown in, more in hope than expectation and now there isn’t a pundit who thinks he will play in Adelaide.

So when David Warner and Cameron Bancroft come out to bat in a couple of hours time, it will be interesting to watch how England play. A display of fight, getting in their faces, trying to inflict a wound or two would signal intent. Just turning up, hoping it is all over in half an hour will be a disappointment.  Lovejoy believed the team never thought for one minute that they could bowl out Australia for fewer than 170, and it came across in their body language (what a load of old bollocks – if they nicked a couple of wickets early no-one would have mentioned how they came out on the field – confirmation bias at its worst) from the start.

I haven’t yet got the chance to see the highlights of yesterday. I’ll load them up onto my phone for the flight to Madrid on Tuesday (a day bloody trip to Madrid) and perhaps comment afterwards. So I’ve not seen the stumping or YJB’s shot. I’ve read enough about them. But between Brisbane and Adelaide we will recover some energy, comment on what we see and hear and importantly, get the second Ashes panel convened.

For those who filled it in, and want to participate the questions are as follows:

  1. So now the Brisbane result is in, what has it shown you about the relative strengths and weaknesses (and some perhaps not highlighted by the mainstream media)
  2. Adelaide at night? In favour of day-night in the Ashes, or are you a reactionary old fuddy duddy?
  3. Put that Steve Smith innings into context. Tell me an Ashes ton you thought was better.
  4. Lots mentioned that Alastair Cook’s form may be in decline. What are your thoughts on this Damascene conversion?
  5. I was quite underwhelmed by the Aussie pace attack for much of the test match, yet now they “blow teams away”. What were your thoughts?
  6. If you have BT Sport – what did you think of their coverage. Try not to focus on Lovejoy.

Please DO NOT answer the questions in the comments, but send them to dmitriold@hotmail.co.uk . If we get too many, I’ll pick the best of them. I don’t expect too many.

Now to the Live Blog. I’ve not spoken to Danny, who might run it tonight. I have to pack the border collie off to my brother very early tomorrow and had very little sleep last night, so I’m going to bed before the day’s play. If we run a blog it will be below. If not, please put your comments below. Our thanks for our friends, old and new, for making the Live Blog and Review such a success. We are glad we can provide such an outlet. Hope you enjoyed it too.

Pray for a miracle.

0004 Broad bowls the first over, Warner scores 3 and Australia only need 53 more.

0009 Anderson from the other end. Warner gets a single and Australia need 52.

0016 Another 2 overs gone, another 6 runs scored. 48 required.

0032 Woakes and Ball have taken over now, 37 needed.

0047 Slow going, 30 more runs needed.

0050 Bancroft edges a Jake Ball delivery through a vacant second slip. Another 4 runs on the board, and that’s 25 more required.

0102 Single figures needed now…

0109 And that’s it. Cameron Bancroft hits a looping drive straight over a short mid off to the boundary, and AUSTRALIA HAVE WON BY 10 WICKETS.

0131 Bayliss: England need to score hundreds. Stunning insight there.

0132 Overton next in line in the squad it seems, and he’ll be watching Mark Wood’s progress in the Lions.

0133 Bayliss says the Bairstow incident is blown out of all proportion but also that he needs “a stern talking to”. A bit muddled.

Australia vs England: 1st Test, Day Four – Preview and Live Blog

After three days of largely attritional cricket, this match remains in the balance heading into the fourth day.  Yet if England were fractionally ahead before yesterday, Australia are a little further in front today.  Steve Smith’s patient century ground down England’s bowlers, before Josh Hazlewood bowled with more intent and hostility than anyone else has managed on this still placid surface to rip out a couple of wickets before England had wiped off the deficit.

England are effectively 7-2, and the third innings of a tight contest is the one where all the pressure is on the batting side – particularly as time begins to run out in the game.  It is impossible to see England getting into a position where they could declare with any reasonable expectation of winning, and so their best chance is to be bowled out.  But being bowled out will be forefront of their minds, which is why the third knock becomes so pressurised – score runs, don’t get becalmed, don’t take risks and don’t get out.  England have got stuck on many an occasion when faced with that conundrum, reducing themselves to a strokeless defence that brings defeat anyway.  Quite simply, they have to score runs.

The loss of Cook in the gloaming was probably more symbolic than anything else.  He hasn’t looked in good form, and his record away from home over the last couple of years has been modest to say the least.  Yet his wicket, along with Root’s, is still the most prized by opponents, and still the one that sends the most tremors through supporters in a position such as this one.  The manner of his dismissal has been criticised by some, excused by others, but as ever the problem with Cook is not the cricket, it is the double standards applied.  The hook shot was on, and there was absolutely nothing reckless about him playing it.  He just played it poorly, and was caught.  That happens to every player, where many get annoyed is that others doing the same thing receive bucketloads of opprobrium where Cook does not.

Even so, being out hooking is certainly no worse than the leaden footed push to which he was out in the first innings.  He appears to once again be struggling with his technique – the familiar problem of his head going too far across, his front foot taking a step rather than a stride, and his back leg coming round to prevent himself toppling over.  That’s why he ends up front on rather than side on and is so prone to being caught behind.  He’s a player who spends his time battling his technique constantly, and has been here before, managing to put it right.  The worry is that being in this place at the start of a series doesn’t bode well for the rest of it.  He knows his game, and England will be praying he can make the adjustment, otherwise this is going to prove a very long tour.

That’s in the past as far as this game is concerned.  The reality is that the ever critical first session here is one in which Australia can win the game.  But last night’s hostility was with a new ball, one which will just be starting to lose its shine and hardness.  The pitch remains slow, and the demons can only be in English minds.  England are more than capable of getting a score here, and more than capable of putting Australia under real stress.  The doubts surround England’s ability to withstand the pressure, rather than their ability to bat on this pitch.  There is certainly the batting depth needed, and if Smith is an exceptional batsman, then so is Joe Root, and England badly need him to show it.

One fly in the ointment concerns the fitness of James Anderson – something that won’t remotely matter unless England bat well – given he was seen to be touching his side before taking a painkiller and seeming to limit his bowling the rest of the day.  England insist he’s fine, but they do have a track record of not telling the whole truth (rightly so, in a match situation where there’s no need to give the opposition reason to cheer), and if Anderson really is struggling, it dramatically affects England’s chances, even if they do get a half reasonable total.  Add to that the whispers about Moeen Ali’s fitness and if there’s anything in that, then a draw might represent the best England can hope for.

If England have a good day, then this game is well and truly on.  But if they have so much as a bad hour, then it’s probably game over.  There is some bad weather around, particularly tomorrow, which could also change the dynamic.

One last point about this game, just imagine for a moment that some of those who should know better had got their way and this was a four day Test.

As with yesterday, we’ll be live blogging the events for as long as we stay awake.  The “we” refers to three of us, the other is showing worrying signs of being a vampire, and Danny will undoubtedly be the last one standing.  As ever, come and join us for as long as you are able, and as long as we can keep our eyes open.

19:43 I don’t know about you lot, but I’m going to the pub…

19:58 Dmitri on his own as his beloved is going back to her homeland to meet her relatives. So, I look wistfully towards Brisbane for your now regular early evening snapshot from the Bureau of Meteorology:

20:03 Anyone a Telegraph subscriber to let us know the latest stunning insight from Shiny Toy?

21:11 While watching the Iron Bowl (look it up, and also check out the youtube clip of the Kick Six), let’s think back to some Day 4s at the Gabba. First up, and you are probably getting fed up with me going on about it, 2002. Matthew Hayden completed his second century of the match (it’s the picture in today’s header) and below. There’s a moment where Sir Peter is filming me for his tour video (no release) where I am reviewing the papers and you hear a huge crack of bat on ball. It’s Hayden hitting the first ball Craig White bowls for six. We left at lunchtime to meet Sir Peter’s mate down at the Gold Coast, and England collapsed. Our Day 5 tickets never mattered.

21:21 2006 and it’s a tale of missing it all. I was on a Singapore Airlines flight on the way to Adelaide to see the second test, and the first I heard of the day’s play came on the walkway at Changi. Four wickets lost at the end of play. 90 odd for Collingwood, KP in the 90s. Maybe the first three days were just a figment of our imagination or a rusty start. We might lose, but at least not without a fight. Good signs. Well, that’s what we thought.

21:31 Ah. Day 4 in 2010. One wicket lost all day, centuries for Strauss and Cook, the game made safe. I watched pretty much all of it that night. You actually never felt the Aussies were going to take a wicket. I have the whole of that day on DVD. Actually the whole series. It gets aired a bit.

21:37 It is pretty interesting to me that I have virtually no recollections of the early parts of the 2013/14 Ashes. None. So we may have taken the Brisbane test to the 4th day, but I just don’t remember. Now, if I were a member of some of the punditry that would be enough. But we don’t do that here. I have the highlights on my portable hard drive. We started at 24/2 with Cook and KP at the crease. They took it to 72/2 before KP holed out to long leg, so we’ll be looking up some of the match reports on that! England were bowled out for 179, Johnson took five wickets. We lost by a distance. You know the rest.

21:44 John Etheridge has noticed.

A “slow decline”. Well, it’s better for them to acknowledge it now, I suppose. And man alive, I smiled at this:

“Cook has three centuries in his last 54 Test innings spread across two years. If you want to look further, it is six hundreds in 105 innings stretching back to the summer of 2013.”

They don’t read us. Try the no centuries in 31 Ashes innings while you are at it, John.

21:52 Iron Bowl looks a great game – 7-7. #WarEagle . Back at the cricket, the fourth day in 1986 was one of attrition and at the end, worry for England. Having made Australia follow on, England took half of the wickets they needed, but at 243/5, the Aussies were in the lead and had an unbeaten centurion (Geoff Marsh) still there. Contrary to some people who said overseas cricket was never on terrestrial, Day 5 was covered live in the UK on BBC (introduced, if I recall correctly by David Icke).

22:22 Day 4 in 1982/3, and Graeme Fowler bats for just shy of six hours to make 83 and at least give England an opportunity to set the Aussies a meaningful target. 279 for 7, 208 runs in a day, Thomson taking five wickets. We may talk about Day 5 tomorrow.

22:50 The pre-match hour will be taken over by Sean, who has assured us his levels of light refreshment were not at last night’s level. That’s nice. Meanwhile there’s a Maxie sighting in the comments. He’s also been all over Twitter. Follow him. The Mentor.

22:53 Dmitri leaves you with memories of 1994. On the 4th day of Brisbane I woke up and England were 211 for 2. Thorpe and Hick with a really good partnership to give us a chance of saving the game. What we wouldn’t give for such resistance today. I’m pessimistic. Of course I am. Anyway, take it away Sean……

22:56 Good evening everyone (said in my best Richie Benaud accent). Apologies for my absence yesterday, I had one too many light refreshments at a leaving do and could only manage ‘pitch the fecking ball up you feckers’ by way of insight…

22:59 Not that i promise to that much more insightful this evening before you get your hopes up…

23:05 So what does everyone think we need? My own personal opinion is that a lead of 280 is the minimum requirement especially with fitness doubts over Jimmy and Moeen. If we lose a couple of wickets in the first hour, we could be cannon fodder.

23:18 Could be a bit of weather around today, wonder if that might juice up the pitch..

23:25 In other news, Danny should be just waking up now..

23:27:Really interesting comment from Maxie BTL re: BT Sport production. I think in general (from the small bits I’ve seen) is that it’s pretty slick; unfortunately it’s let down by poor personnel choices. I dare anyone to listen to Graeme Swann for half an hour and not feel slightly homicidal. It also shows how good Ian Ward is in my opinion.

23:37 I do have to concede having watched the highlights this afternoon that the Steve Smith innings was something special. With the technique he has honed, it really doesn’t seem logical that he can score runs, let alone be so consistently good but fair play to him, he was a class apart yesterday. Even if he has a tiny head..

23:49 I still randomly like Boycott’s commentary. There I’ve said it, it feels like a dirty secret…

23:58 Here we go then, can England get through the first session unscathed…

00:00 FIRST BALL and left alone

00:02 Alison Mitchell & Punter heading up the commentary. Perhaps Lovejoy has tonsillitis (says a little prayer)..

00:09 I’ve genuinely been amazed that Starc has been identified as the key Australian threat with the ball. For me Hazlewood is their gun bowler, despite his poor show in the first innings. His spell last night was unplayable at times.

00:13 This pitch doesn’t look like it has any demons in it, Root looks in decent touch too. I wonder how much spin might play a part later on. Lyon outbowled Moeen big time in the first innings.

00:18 Ricky Ponting is a very good commentator, no laddish jokes, just insightful opinion. He’ll never get a job on Channel 9 mind.

00:25 Australia’s attack looks a little toothless this morning. The pitch is still slow, but equally England have silenced the crowd in the first half hour. I wonder how long before Cummins is bought into the attack?

00:27 Oh feck, Swann is alive and well and joined by Shiny Toy. Might have to put the TV on mute…

00:32 An update on TLG, he’s just finished his Lambrini in the local park in Sussex and is off for a dirty donner. More on that later…

00:36 First over from Lyon, no real spin so far. Cummins at the other looks far more of a threat. If you’d have offered me this at the start of the day’s play, I’d have snapped your hand off

00:47 Some discontent about scoring rates BTL. I must admit that I’m delighted by this start. We all know that Kookaburra ball goes soft after 20 overs and there’s the option of increasing the scoring rate. I’d be very happy if England batted all day, but then i did worry we’d be blown away in the 3rd innings…

00:49 WICKET: Stoneman edges one off Lyon to slip. Australia’s bowling has looked innocuous all morning, but that was a decent delivery

00:52 TBF to Swann, he has got it spot on there. It was the arm ball at the end of the last over that led to some doubt in Stoneman’s mind. I just wish Swann would concentrate on commentating based on his own experience as a spinner. Rather than trying to be the funniest man in the world.

00:57 England looking nervous after that wicket. Cummins and Lyon both bowling well.

00:59, TLG is back from the park and is ready to take over. He has informed me that he wouldn’t feed Lambrini to his butler but the bottle of Blue Nun was lovely. Anyway, over to Chris…

01:00 Where I live we don’t have parks; we have countryside.  Anyway…

Even with the loss of Stoneman, this has been a positive start from England today.  They’re pushing for runs, being busy.  The point about Root is that if he stays in, he will score.  That’s probably the most striking thing about him.  Lyon does look dangerous to the lefties though.

01:03 I need to ask a question.  Who is reading the updates?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?

01:12 Bueller’s taken a day off it seems. 70-3, a lead of 44.  At what point will Australia start to get twitchy I wonder.  If they put on 50 for this wicket, I suspect they’ll start getting concerned.  In a compacted second half of the game like this, smaller numbers count for more.

01:15 Awww Trev….

01:18 WICKET!  Malan goes to Lyon.  One of those with loop and bounce and turn, that is so hard for the left hander.  No blame, but England are 48 ahead and now four wickets down.  Root is still there, but someone needs to stay with him.

01:21 Given how hard it is, I suspect Moeen might try and counter attack.  Probably not the worst idea either.  There are stories going around that he has a problem with his finger, hampering his bowling.  The official line is that he was a blister.

01:29  England’s lead is now up to 57, but of course they’ve lost two wickets this morning.  Not enough runs, clearly, but neither have they collapsed (yet) so far.  Another 100 gives England a slight chance, another 150 and it’s game on.  England are well in the game, but it would probably be an idea to build a partnership sooner rather than later.

01:42 Runs are flowing a touch.  Both Root and Moeen are playing a few shots – not recklessly, but they’re looking to score.  This partnership is 28 from 33 balls, and that has to be what England need to do.  It might not come off, but it’s more than worth a go.

01:48 Watching the groundstaff smack down the bowlers’ footmarks reminds me of how we used to wind up the bowlers about their preference for one end.  “Oh I can’t bat at that end, it just doesn’t feel right.  No, no, I can only bat at the other end.  You don’t understand, it’s totally different”.

01:51 I don’t want to tempt fate, but Moeen is starting to tick here….

01:52 50!  WICKET! Joe Root out in similar fashion to the first innings, and it looked very, very out on first viewing.

02:01 And that’ll be lunch.  119-5 means a lead of 93, and frankly, it’s not remotely enough.  Still two frontline batsmen in of course, Jonny Bairstow and Moeen Ali, the latter of which is clearly itching to go after the Australians.  But another 100 would be needed to really make the hosts sweat a little, and that seems a long way off yet.  It’s possible mind, it really is possible.  But it’s heading towards the outer edge of what’s possible.  Hope is the last thing to die…

02:11 Truly joyous moment in the lunch break where Swann berated the England left handers for not formulating a plan against Nathan Lyon while Geoff Boycott adopted his ‘You’re talking total shit, Swann’ expression.  “I’m not sure I agree with that….” he politely said.

Keep your eye on Boycott’s expression.

02:30 There’s something particularly endearing about hearing Australians describe the Gabba as the fairest cricket wicket in the world, given how it’s 30 years since they’ve lost a Test there.  Irony deficiency is entertaining to watch.

02:38 Players coming back out.  This next session is crucial.  Crucial I tell you!  Or maybe vital.  Definitely crucial though.

02:43 Moeen isn’t going to die wondering.  First he comes down the track and belts Lyon over long on for four, then he goes down on one knee and nails a sweep through square leg.  And the lead goes over 100.

02:55 Interesting to see Australia move a little on the defensive after a flurry of runs after lunch.  Fielders disappearing out to the boundary suggests that the hosts are a tiny bit nervous about chasing any kind of reasonable total. 112 ahead.

03:06 This is good stuff from these two.  Rotating the strike, picking up the singles, and then Bairstow sashays down the track and plants Lyon over deep midwicket for six.  The lead goes to 123, and if Australia aren’t getting nervous yet, there’s definitely a bit of a twitch going on.

03:15 This Test is just starting to get fascinating.  These two have turned a disastrous position into one of, well not promise exactly, but possibilities certainly.  I’m going to quit while I’m ahead, and leave you in Danny’s company…

0319 Danny here, taking you through the graveyard shift. Promising session so far from England, but years of supporting them has told me that it’s the hope that make it hurt more…

0322 WICKET I think we can all agree that this was thelegglance’s fault. Moeen Ali plays forwards to a Lyon delivery which goes past the bat, and Tim Paine removes the stumps. Australia appeal, and after several replays the 3rd umpire gives him out as his back foot was on but not behind the line.

0335 Woakes is in, but not looking confident so far. England’s lead is just 132 and I fear this game might be over tonight.

0407 Australia keeping England very quiet, but no more wickets have fallen. Smith comes on to bowl, the first time he’s done so in a Test since January this year, which is surprising because Australia have toured both India and Bangladesh since then.

0427 WICKET Woakes attempts to defend a short ball from Mitchell Starc, but it slides off the shoulder of his bat to Smith at second slip. England lead by 159 with 7 wickets down.

0438 WICKET You understand that when batting with the tail, perhaps you should be more attacking. There is such a thing as too attacking though, and a prime example is this shot by Bairstow. Apparently looking to guide a short, wide ball from Starc over the slips, he instead sends it straight to third man with a shot more reminiscent of catching practice than Test cricket. England lead by 168 with 2 wickets remaining.

0444 WICKET 4 balls later from Starc and he bowls a full one outside off stump to Stuart Broad. The batsman plays inside it, and gets the faintest of nicks to the wicketkeeper. The umpire gave it not out, but Australia used a DRS appeal and both there was both a sound and a faint mark on HotSpot so he had to go.

0449 WICKET A bouncer from Cummins to tailender Jake Ball, who gets a glove on it and the ball loops behind the wicketkeeper where Handscomb catches it. England lost their last 4 wickets for just 4 runs, and Australia have a target of 169 runs with a minimum of 32 left in the day.

0509 All that typing has tired me out, so here’s Dmitri to open the Australian 2nd innings.

0510 Cheers Danny. 90 minutes sleep woken up by an absolute turd cold calling my number. I tried to get back to sleep, but gave up and am now assisting our night owl.  Anderson’s first over is a maiden.

0513 Mitchell on comms says Warner can make any small total look inadequate through aggressive batting. That’s because that attitude is encouraged. I’ve not seen YJB’s dismissal yet, but he’s being crucified on social media as Cook was last night and all through Saturday. Warner off the mark 1st ball. Bancroft follows him second ball. Warner takes a single third ball. All runs we should not be conceding. A boundary off the 5th ball and you can almost sense a slump in the shoulders. 7/0

0518 I remember the Gabba run chase in 1990. When they won by 10 wickets after we chucked away a decent position. The only time the team with a first innings lead has lost at Brisbane. A beauty fifth ball does not catch the edge. England need an early breakthrough, if that ain’t stating the bloody obvious. 8/0 after the third over.

0524 Better over so far, with a play and miss (and hopeful appeal) by Warner. They know they need to see off Broad and Anderson because the support bowling is a massive drop-off. Maiden for Broad. 8/0. As Mitchell just said.

0527 I’m not sure I can put up with KP’s commentary at this time of the morning. Bancroft squirts one through the gully for a four off the fourth ball. Anderson throws the ball at the opener the following ball but no fuss. End of the over and it is 12/0.

0531 Warner dinks one into the offside off the second ball of Broad’s third over for one. In Nagpur Virat Kohli has just gone through to his 19th test ton and you sense pulling away from Root (with Smith) at the top table of world batting. Broad’s over goes for 1, and it is 13/0. And I have to listen to Ray Winstone missing nuffink.

0535 and if that deep cover wasn’t there it would be 20/0. But anyway, no alarms so far. As i write that there is an LBW appeal fourth ball is too high and isn’t reviewed. One run from the over and it is 14/0.

0539 Bowling well without threatening, and some odd field placings so far, as Warner drops one into the leg side for a single off the second ball. One off that one, 15 for 0. Looks like, at this rate, we’ll be back tomorrow.

0545 Vaughan states the effing obvious that England need a wicket – we need 10 Shiny Toy. Warner takes a single off the third ball. He seems to have rumbled, Shiny, that is that the Aussies don’t rate our change bowlers and are just seeing off the openers. Bancroft takes a sharp single off the last ball to take Australia to 17/0.

0549 Another sharp single off the second ball of Broad’s over. This is annoying me more than anything, as it releases the pressure the bowlers are building, such as it is. A leg bye off the fifth with an appeal that was, sadly, nonsense. And the final ball of the over has another one of those bloody singles. 20/0, Anderson off and Moeen Ali on.

0553: Ali’s first ball is nudged for a single by Bancroft. Plus ca change. KP says Cook is the main concern. Another single off the third ball. Another bloody single off the 5th ball. KP is intimating Cook’s lost his mojo and his drive. Moeen’s first over ends, three runs from it. 23/0.

0557 PUJARA GONE FOR 143. Is that real?

0558 Woakes on for Broad. I don’t think it is a matter of Cook (who they are talking about) not caring, it’s that he is in decline. Appeal from behind the wicket off the fourth ball, but it’s not out. Maiden from Woakes. 23/0 from 12 overs. Minimum 22 to go. Sod off Kamara.

0602 Another bloody single off the third ball, again straight to a fielder. This is like the Old Jos, and no-one is mentioning it. After saying that Bancroft doesn’t know whether to stick or twist, Swann is made to look a little silly as the opener smacks a straight six. 30/0.

0606 Warner pulls the second ball of the over for a couple. He might not have hit a boundary but looks very comfortable to me. Nicks/glides the next one for four through third man. Actually probably a great shot. Cook “won’t say boo to a goose” says Lovejoy, which, I am sure, is why he should have remained captain for all those years. Warner has another single to point. I see it is the Buckethead Army this year as a promotion – it was Boony Army when I was out there. I love Aussie advertising. 37/0

0610 Excitement Machine Warner is tied down, but then cuffs a shot down the ground for four. I can sense the Moeen debate resurfacing. A single off the last ball and it is 41/0. And after my typing torrent, it is the more measured words of Danny for the rest of the day’s play. Get me a wicket Danny!

0615 I have to say that my last spell was terrible for England, so I wouldn’t expect anything.

0626 8 runs off the last Moeen Ali over, but it looks like Australia are happy to play steadily and come back tomorrow to finish things off.

0640 Nope, that’s all I can stand tonight, I’m off to bed.

1010 Dmitri back again with the end of play / chronic lack of sleep round-up. Danny will be producing a more full review of the day, so I thought I’d get in my twopenny worth.

This was stunningly predictable. I think something, a little bit, should be made about the lack of preparation on suitable playing surfaces and oppositions, because the team came in cold. That only goes so far. The players want shorter tours, they are on a treadmill and so on. The second, and much more important point, is that the team picked was so predictably going to pull up short. There’s not a lot that can be done about that either. The new intake are not as good as the old stagers, and it is showing. Stoneman, for instance, is getting praised to the hilt for basically giving us Michael Carberry returns. Vince makes 83, but that second innings dismissal didn’t look like a number 3 to me. Malan is going to tempt us, but fall short. We are greeting 50s like hundreds. And the world and his wife can see four right arm seamers is not the greatest variety. But let’s have the full inquest on another day.

Australia played really sensibly and not a lot could have changed the outcome once chasing a small total like this. What ground my gears is the way the two openers early in the innings were allowed to milk singles straight to fielders with no real chance of a run out. If we did that at schoolboy cricket we’d be told off. Come in a few paces. It’s just me, then.

Also, pace made the difference? I’m not totally buying that. The tail have taken to Starc and Hazlewood before so why worry now? One silly shot from YJB and everyone is in meltdown about the tail? Small sample size. Let us judge at the end of the tour.

So, in the words of Norwegian electronic music stars Royksopp, the Inevitable End will take place within an hour of the start of play and Australia will go 1-0 up. After the lack of sleep, was it all worth it. Of course it was, because for 3 and a half days it was a thoroughly absorbing test match. That’s the really important thing. There’s not a lot better in sport. The result is probably the cricket equivalent of the rugby international the week before. The better team won, the margin of victory could look a little flattering.

Wake up Danny (actually don’t, stay asleep). You review is awaited. I know I share my co-editors’ views that we owe our new man a lot for staying up through the night and producing the updates. Live blogging seems to have gone down well. We will see what we can do in the next tests.

 

 

Australia vs England: 1st Test, Day One – And it’s Live (ish)!

So here we are, the day has arrived and the Ashes gets underway.  And we’re going to be blogging the first day’s play, you lucky people.  Now, you should be aware there are a few house notes for this, namely:

1) We all work for a living.  So it’s entirely possible that at some point during the night the updates will stop.  This will be because we’ve fallen asleep*

2) We won’t be tweeting the hell out of this every two minutes to desperately get people to come and talk to us.  That’s because the total absence of any advertising revenue derived from clicks makes it rather pointless, and it’s also annoying enough to cause anyone with a normal patience threshold to hit the mute button.  It’s for this reason too that any references by Danny to Red Bull and hoping for supplies is sheer desperation on his part, and representative of nothing but terrible taste.

3) Any hopes for incisive over by over commentary are a complete waste of time.  The BBC is over there.

4) Page refreshes are completely manual.  To the surprise of most of you no doubt, we did actually look into this, but the plug ins looked complicated, and the suggestion of using html page coding resulted in a long silence given none of had the first idea how to do it.  So hit the F5 button, and consider yourself part of the team.

*Not together.  This needs to made clear.

2145:  TLG here, to guide you through the build up.  I saw build up, but half of you are watching The Apprentice, most of the others are watching I’m a Celebrity, and a very few are wondering how to find a decent stream.  I’ve got BT Sport, so I can be smug.

2146:  I’m a Celebrity is that programme where a bunch of nonentity Brits head down to Australia to be ritually humiliated.  Seems appropriate. Presumably when Graeme Swann goes on it he’ll be asking them to get him out of there sometime after his third miserable experience.

2148:  Are we excited?  In a funny way the bit just before the start is the best bit.  All things are possible, and neither English or Australian are wondering why on earth they’re watching this disaster.  That feeling usually starts around the third Test.  And the truth is there’s nothing quite like an Ashes series, and an away Ashes series in particular, for pushing the feelings of cynicism aside.  It’s cricket, it’s the very best type of cricket, and it’s wonderful.

Sure, England are going to miss Ben Stokes, and the top order looks brittle.  But Australia aren’t that great a team, and seem to have got themselves in a tangle over selection.  It hasn’t stopped them sledging England even before it starts, while England have pretty much kept their counsel.  And have had their team talk already done for them.  Australia have form for this kind of thing, and while some may decide take great offence at it, for me it’s simply somewhat odd, and certainly unnecessary.   Hardly a huge issue, but it keeps the press corps occupied at least.

2153:  A bit of a timetable of upcoming events.  BT Sport are currently playing their “behind the scenes” documentary, that tells us rather little, but there’s lots of bantz, while the programme properly gets under way at 11pm.  Test Match Special begins the build up a little earlier, at 10pm on Radio 5 Live.

2210:  Weather forecast for Brisbane is a little bit iffy, with the prospect of showers for the first few days.  The trouble with Brisbane is that a shower can mean a biblical deluge some of the time

2216:  Ben Stokes has issued a good luck tweet:

In his absence, and given the somewhat fragile batting, this series is a big one for Alastair Cook.  For England to have a chance, the 2011/12 Cook is going to be required.  Can he do that?

2232:  With showers around, and with a pitch looking a bit green, is anyone thinking of bowling first?

2247: Some rumours that Shaun Marsh will be in the Australian XI.  Whenever you feel like panicking about the England top order, just keep saying that to yourself.  Shaun Marsh.

2256:  Has anyone out there enjoyed BT’s No Filter Ashes?  Anyone at all?

It’s time for some Sean, while I go and make a cup of tea…

2258: Sean on the decks for the next hour, that no filter Ashes was shite wasn’t it

2302: Talking about shite, this is fairly ironic:

2305: ooh Shiny Toy, what a surprise. Haven’t heard from him for ages…

23:07: Anyone else feeling insanely negative? If we lose this Gabba Test i feel it will be at least a 3-1 job to the Aussies. Anyone else fancy making me feel more confident?

2318: BTW, we are not sponsored by any betting companies, just 4 blokes who should know better live blogging (it seemed like a great idea at the time)

2320: Still I’ve heard William Hill have cracking odds on Joe Root being top scorer *promoted post*

2323: If i were Ricky Ponting, i’d get the machine gun out now and save us all from wanting to sew our ears together

2326: TOSS COMING UP…

23:29: ENGLAND WIN THE TOSS AND BAT

2231: Mark Nicholas is such a bore. Anyone disagree with Root’s decision to bat? I personally think its the right choice; however we could easily be 30/4

2334: Shiny Toy ‘Stoneman needs to admire Alastair Cook’ WTF??

2336: Everyone is going on about Starc as the Aussie spearhead, I still think Hazlewood is the main threat. Still think he can do a Ryan Harris job from winter of 2013….

2341: I give it 10 minutes before he starts blaming Eoin Morgan….

https://mobile.twitter.com/ollieholt22/status/933475671908802566

2349: Anyone got any money on a Cook golden duck 🦆?

2350: Annoyingly I have a work a meeting with a German chap early tomorrow morning, so can’t stay up late to watch the cricket tonight. Danny is now taking over on the decks. Night all

2351: Hello everyone, Danny here. I’ve been given the honour of hosting the first hour. Or the poisoned chalice. Depends how England bat, I suppose. Root’s obviously confident as he doesn’t have his pads on for the anthems.

England’s anthem was I think better than Australia’s, although that might be coloured by the Aussie singer murdering “You’re The Voice” earlier…

0000: Cook survives the first ball. Don’t know what I was so worried about.

0004: Cook only needed to play at two balls in the first over from Mitchell Starc. Maybe Starc has been overhyped? At this rate, England should be 180-0 at the end of the day. I’d take that.

0009: Hazlewood also offering 4 sighters to Stoneman before getting one near the wicket. Dare I say it, the Australian bowling has been underwhelming to start?

0012: I think this is my first instance of commentator’s curse. Cook edged Starc to Handscomb at first slip. Didn’t look very comfortable once Starc started aiming at the stumps, and not a lot of footwork (to my very inexpert eye).

0021: Vince scores the first boundary of the day. Vince looks in good touch and could easily get 30-40 in this innings…

0027: Bad news for Australia’s plans for Bodyline 2: The Revenge. The pitch does not seem to be conducive to short bowling, with the ball not getting high and slightly slow bounce. I guess they’ll just have to rely on Plan B, England’s batsmen getting themselves out.

0035: First change for Australia as Cummins begins bowling in his first home Test, taking over from Hazlewood. Neither of them seem that threatening so far.

0050: A boring few overs, which is good news for England fans. Vince hitting the last two balls from Hazlewood for four, he might make it into the 40s today!

0100: TMS stalwarts Alison Mitchell and Geoffrey Boycott have taken over on BT Sport, and they’re talking a little less than the last two pairs. Still a little too chatty for my liking, but a definite improvement I think.

0105: As I metaphorically boot Danny off the keyboard, even though he’s nearly 200 miles away, England reach the first drinks session at 39 for 1. Dmitri taking you through to lunch and then we’ll see who remains in the land of the living. Feel like Smashy and Nicey on Radio Quiet.

01:10: Remains 39 for 1. Australia’s bowling certainly not giving off the aura of four years ago, but, and it is a big but, we were 80 for 2 in that first innings at Brisbane.

01:13: Boycott doesn’t do it for me. We have a big appeal on Stoneman, but they don’t choose to review. Back to Boycott – it’s a bit stating of the obvious, combined with a bit of mouth and not a lot else. He’s had his day, but I can see why BT Sport have gone for him. Alison Mitchell always impresses me and in a day and age when you have to be an ex-pro to get a gig, it’s welcome to see a professional broadcaster doing great work.

0119: 44 for 1 and things are quite quiet. When I was at Brisbane in 2002 they weren’t that noisy throughout the game, as I recall. Maybe the Aussies thought it was a matter of showing up, but they didn’t strike me as being particularly intimidating. Even the goon who just shouted abuse at Hoggard day was to be pitied, not to be intimidated by. Anyway, here comes Lyon. Where’s me man, Pontiac?

0123: One off that Lyon over with a hint of turn.

0125: Ponting and Fleming on commentary. Not sure many other countries would have two commentators from the opposition on at the same time, but definitely not a problem for me. BT Sport got off to a bad start, with Vaughan and Ponting telling us what we’d seen and not shutting up. But Punter is a good commentator, and Fleming is also no-one’s fool. Put it this way, I’d rather these two than Bumble and Botham.

0130: Two off Lyon’s second over. Stoneman giving us some cause for hope as an opener, and yes, I’m probably cursing him. Carberry made 40 at the Gabba first time up.

0133: This looks like a pudding of a pitch, relatively speaking. A real pudding. Malcolm Conn hasn’t tweeted yet.

0136: Lyon gets one to bounce a little and the Aussies have an appeal. No joy. Lyon exerting some pressure. A maiden.

0140: 50 up and a 50 partnership too between Stoneman and Vince. We’d take that given the bad start.

0144: Spared the Shiny Toy/Lovejoy partnership. For now.

0146: Hell on Earth. Holt and Samuel are both out there.

0148: Vaughan rabbiting on about football. As if we haven’t had enough of that. 55 for 1 at the end of the 25th over.

0153: Starc coming around the wicket to Stoneman. Vaughan mentions Mitchell Johnson. Over ends up being utterly underwhelming. And judging by the ebbing away of our visitor count, it might be time to head off to bed!

0159: Not quite lunch. An edgy, but safe, boundary from Vince, the first for 17 overs takes England to 59/1. Last over before lunch to be bowled by Starc.

0203: LUNCH. 59 for 1. Last April I went to the Oval to watch the post-tea session and a certain Mark Stoneman was the star of the show. I don’t think anyone thought he’d be the opener to go out at the Gabba with Cook to start the Ashes. He’s 25 not out. James Vince has been very solid, in his 32 after England lost Cook early on for 2. We could point out that hoping for Cook to come good in the Ashes is something we’ve been doing since 2010/11, but this is not a Gabba wicket to provide terrors in English hearts. Cook is one man we need to come through, or so received wisdom says.

BT Sport got off to a shocker, with Vaughan and Ponting acting as if they were radio commentators on speed. Things went further downhill when Lovejoy took the mic, and that’s something BT will really have to answer for. It’s calmed down with experienced TV and radio broadcasters in the chair, and I’m not in paroxysms of rage. They just need to get into the flow.

I’m having a nap, and might be back a little later. Chris and Danny will be taking you in their loving arms. England have had a pretty good morning. They do need to back this up. Thanks for the support on here for our first live blog….   Dmitri

0212: TLG back for the graveyard shift.

Let’s be honest here, we feared being five down at lunch, so this represents a mini-triumph.  Of course, it can all go hideously wrong in the afternoon, but for now that isn’t so bad at all.  The key for England is to be in the game, and in the series.  Personally, I’d happily take a draw from the first Test, given the Australian record at the Gabba.  It hasn’t been thrilling cricket, but so what?  It’s been tense, and it’s been hard work.  A teeny tiny thing that Stoneman did that got a nod of approval from me was one where he edged the ball into his pads and it dropped by his foot.  No knocking the ball to the Australian fielders for him, he just stood there and waited for them to come in and pick it up. Good.

As for the commentary, it did get better as the session went on, a little more silence, a little less gabbing at the Gabba.  Let’s see how it goes from now on.

0238:  Been a bit of drizzle at the Gabba, but the covers are back off and we should be under way shortly.  Lots of discussion about the pitch being a bit slow and pudding-like – for Australia anyway.  But also that it should quicken up on day two.  It’d be hilarious if it turned out to be perfect for Broad and Anderson though.

0242:  Nope, the covers are back on.  I am cursed to never write anything on this blog when there’s any actual bloody cricket happening.

0257:  Raining quite heavily.  Now the dilemma of any Ashes watcher – is it heavy enough to say sod it and go to bed?

0332: Well, there it is.  It’s all my fault, so I think I’ll try and get some sleep – that’ll do the trick and stop the rain.

0336: Danny here, taking over from thelegglance on rainwatching duties. I think I might be the only member of the BOC team still awake, so you’re stuck with me for the duration.

0351: thelegglance must be asleep now, since the rain has stopped and the covers are coming off.

0357: Looks like George was a little optimistic, the official announcement is that play will resume at 0415 GMT.

0405: Details of the new times for Tea and the end of the day:

0415: Play finally resumes, with Lyon bowling a tight over and Vince scoring a single from the last ball of the over.

0422: Cummins bowling from the other end. It looks like the rain hasn’t slowed the outfield down at all, as Vince runs three and Stoneman strokes one along the ground to the boundary.

0430: After 18 consecutive dot balls, Vince steps down the wicket and drives Lyon for four. I’m not necessarily a fan of England’s batsmen taking that risk, but I guess it paid off.

0433: As Vince runs another three off Cummins, that brings him to a career milestone:

0445: Geoffrey Boycott just said “wank” on BT Sport. In happier news, Vince has just sliced a drive for four behind point and that brings up his first ever Test 50. Fair play to him, I’ve been attacking his selection since this summer but so far he’s looking good.

0507: Halfway through the day’s play, England are 101/1 at drinks with Vince and Stoneman sharing a partnership of 99. Apart from the rain shower, it’s been a pretty good night for England fans.

0510: And two balls after the break, Stoneman runs two and takes the partnership to 101. To put that in context, in 2013/14 England only managed one century partnership in the whole series.

0522: Steady progress by England, with nothing particularly threatening from the Starc and Hazlewood. With this in mind, Lyon returns to the attack…

0525: Lyon seems like the most threatening of Australia’s bowlers. Vince edges one past short leg, but drives the next one for four.

0534: Cummins is also challenging the England batsmen, although still no clear chances. Vince did just completely miss a wide drive though, so that’s a slight worry.

0542: And with an edge through the slips, Stonaman brings up his fifty. Not the most confident shot in the world, but they all count. He gets a single the ball after, so he’s currently just one run short of matching his highest Test score of 52.

0546: DROP James Vince gets a second life as the Aussie wicketkeeper drops an edge from Lyon’s bowling. Not necessarily an easy chance, but with Tim Paine being picked as a specialist wicketkeeper that’s got to hurt his chances of playing all 5 Tests in this series.

0556: And here it is if you want to enjoy it over and over again:

0557: WICKET Cummins bowls Stoneman through the gate, with a fast ball swinging into him. Stoneman increased his highest Test score by just 1 run in the end, and brings the partnership to an end at 125. Root comes in with just a few minutes left before Tea, and having to face Cummins who’s getting some reverse swing with the old ball.

0601: Root survives the last 4 balls of the over and that’s TEA.

129/2. England will be the happier of the two teams, but England’s slow scoring and the rain break mean that they aren’t as far ahead as you might think if you were waking up and seeing England only two wickets down. With a wicket and a missed chance just before Tea, Australia’s tails will be up and they’ll be eager to make inroads in the evening session.

On a personal note, it’s the first time I’ve ever stayed up all night to watch an overseas Ashes and I’m struggling a little. I’m pretty sure my blood is 50% sugar right now.

0621: The final session of the day begins with Hazlewood taking over from Lyon, no doubt hoping to get some reverse swing like Cummins managed before the break.

0626: Geoffrey Boycott just talked about being naked in the England dressing room. When he was a player, but still. In better news, Starc is bowling from the other end. With Cummins having got the wicket and swinging the ball before Tea, he’d feel hard done by to not get the ball back after the break.

0631: A boundary from Vince managed to land the ball in a puddle, which likely puts an end to the reverse swing. The Aussies are therefore trying to persuade the umpires to switch to a new ball. For a nation which refers to us as “whinging poms”, they sure do complain a lot if anything goes against them.

0643: WICKET And there goes James Vince’s chance for a first England century. Lyon takes the wicket, but from the field rather than bowling. Vince hit the ball into the covers, where Lyon picked it up and scored a direct hit at the bowler’s end. Disappointing for England, and 143/3 is basically a par score for a team batting first in good conditions.

0705: A few tight overs after the wicket, Root scores a four from Starc to release a bit of the pressure. Lyon has a good over straight after though, beating the edge a few times.

0717: Lyon bowling to Root after the last drinks break of the day, and Root does not look comfortable. An edge drops to the floor off his pade, a reverse sweep was mis-hit and a chance almost carries to short leg. Shaky times for England with two new batsmen at the crease, even if one of them is the #2 ranked Test batsman in the world.

0722: Malan doesn’t look any better against Cummins, with Malan taking one full in the box and a mistimed pull. England need to ride this session out, if they can.

0736: WICKET And that’s the big one for Australia. Cummins bowls one full and straight and it hits Root on the pad as he tries to flick it to the leg side. Given not out by the umpire. Australia use their first DRS referral of the game and it pays off. That brings in Moeen Ali, who has been promoted to #6 for this game.

0754: After a slow start, Moeen slog sweeps Nathan Lyon for 6. Malan’s starting to hit a few now as well. There’s just 5 overs left until the new ball, and 7 overs left in the day.

0800: Anderson is padded up, so Bairstow won’t be batting is a wicket falls in the remaining 5 overs. Australia have tightened up their bowling again after a few loose overs.

0810: Australia’s keeper Tim Paine has been appealing for anything that he manages to catch, but who can blame him after his drop (see 0556). Australia take the new ball with 2 overs left in the day.

0815: REVIEW Starc bowls a full, fast ball on the third ball of the over, hitting Malan on the pad. The umpire gives it not out, and Australia eventually decide to review (probably after checking with the dressing room). Hawkeye suggests it was sliding down the leg side, and Australia lose a review.

0817: BAD LIGHT ENDS PLAY 196/4 With 9 balls left in the day, and just after Australia almost took a wicket with the new ball, the umpires called both teams off. An odd decision, since it seems unlikely that the light will have diminished significantly in the two minutes from the start of the over. This is the kind of umpiring decision which really frustrates a lot of fans.

So the day ends with England marginally on top, although Australia have done well to get themselves back in the game after a strong start by Stoneman and Vince. England’s “world class” batsmen both failed, with Cook and Root scoring only 17 between them, whilst the more questionable Stoneman, Vince and Malan have amassed 164 so far. The scoring was pretty slow, with a run rate of 2.43, and Australia did well to contain England even when they weren’t threatening the wicket.

England will hope to bat through most of tomorrow if they can, although without Stokes there’s only two strong batsmen left in the lineup. 400 is a possible total to aim for, but equally you could see Australia rolling out the tail for less than 300. At the very least, the game is still in the balance going into the second day which exceeds my very low expectations for this game.