The Ashes – First Test, Day 3: Vote 1 SPD Smith

The day of reckoning has arrived both on and of the field here in Brisbane. Who is going to win in both cases is anybody’s guess.

Brisbanites were out early this morning, firstly to vote and then to go to the real tally room at Woollongabba to watch the incumbents’ score mount.

Knackers favourite Shaun Marsh reaches a very well controlled fifty.  He has never looked in doubt

How often do you say or write something for it to be turned on its head straight away? Marsh (51) off-drives Broad straight into the hands of Jimmy Anderson.  Not a very good shot Australia 5/175.

The Knacker Knockers will say “I told you so – he only made 7 this morning!”

Enter Tim Paine.  Tim Who? Yes, it is like that when the most controversial selection in an Australian side since Ashton Agar (for the younger readers) and Peter Who (Taylor) way back enters the arena.

Root, busy as ever, has placed a Jardine like field to SPD with six men on the leg to contain the skipper’s favourite strokes.  It is working well.  Thank you James (Shane) Bond for your input.

The bowlers have played their art too with accurate placement.

In the first hours play the visitors have taken the points. 1 wicket for 27 runs is a good return with the new ball due in six overs. A real plus has been that they have restricted Smith to 8 runs.

Meanwhile the Tally Board at North Sydney is showing Maxwell with a lead of 245 and growing.

Ali and Root bowl out the overs before the second new ball is due.  Only 35 runs in an hour and a half.

The new ball works in the first over when Anderson gets one to move into Paine (13) and Bairstow takes a great catch after initially going the wrong way.  Australia 6/202.

It becomes 7/209 when Starc, after hitting a magnificent straight drive for 6, is well caught and bowled by Broad.  A great catch by the praying mantis when you consider his height. Great athleticism.

At lunch Australia 7/213 with Smith on 81 and Cummins 2.  SPD has scored only 17 runs in the morning session which is a wonderful tribute to the accuracy of the English attack.

Some may criticise the tactics employed by England but at least they are paying dividends.  I don’t blame them for one minute with their tactics after all the flak they have taken from the press and other media since their arrival.

England have taken the lead in the Tally Room but both the incumbent leaders have had good mornings.  Smith defiant and Root ambitious.


Too much lunch for the Englishmen?

Australia all of a sudden after lunch are looking for runs and Smith edges closer to yet another century and he is receiving great support from Cummins.  Cummins is a much better bat than most people think with a very solid defence that is coming in handy today.

After 40 minutes the Australians are still there and looking safer as the game goes along.

The English bowlers also seem to have lost their mojo although the loss of Anderson through injury (we think) has lessened their attack’s penetration and variety.

Anderson returns to the attack!  So, the big rumour was wrong and I fell for it. Even if he is carrying an injury he still looks the best bowler.

Smith edges towards his century. It may not have been his best or finest innings but how important has it been in the scheme of things.  With everyone falling around him, he has remained resolute and defiant.

The century comes from a lovely drive off Broad down through mid-off. It has probably been his most defiant knock ever.  He has received great support from Cummins who has made his highest score in Tests and looking better every minute.

England are starting to flag in the field and the batsmen are taking advantage.

The game continues to flow along. No drama but great interest from the crowd. There is no booing, no slow hand clap just appreciation of a contest between bat and ball.

Cummins (42) finally goes caught Cook in slips from Woakes. A fine display and a very handy 66 run partnership. Australia 8/275.

After his patient innings Smith starts to unleash shots that only he can play with a ramp over point and a pook or is it a hull?  He is now looking for quick runs

Australia’s session and at tea they are 8/275.  62 runs for the session for the loss of one wicket.

Smith 115 and Hazlewood 2.


This should be a very good session with the Aussies still 27 runs behind and the wicket seemingly doing a bit.

To think that only 125 runs have been scored to this point says a lot about the tightness of the game as established by the bowlers and in particular their captain.  The only mistake he has made, if it was a mistake, was not to bowl Anderson straight after lunch.  Perhaps there was a slight tingle in his hammy.

England don’t seem to be in any hurry to take the last 2 wickets.  Maybe the theory is to contain the batsmen and keep them out in the field as long as possible. A complete turn-around from the norm.

Hazlewood (6) helps by swinging hard at Ali and is bowled.   Australia 9/298

The bowlers are pitching short to Smith and look out!  He plays a delightful pook very fine for four to take his team into the lead.  He is refusing easy runs and is going to hit his side to a bigger lead if possible.

Have been intrigued by the amount of glove changes that SPD makes during an innings. At least 12 times today he has asked and got a change. Is he sending messages back to the room?  The glove-runner has become an important member of the team.  The last change went for four overs!

The last pair put on a handy 30 before the final wicket falls.  Lyon (9) tickles Root to Cook and is caught at leg slip.   Australia all out 328.

SPD Smith a magnificent 141 not out. A captain’s innings if ever there was one.  He defied the English attack all day, did not give a chance and carried his side to a lead of 26 which did not look likely at one stage.

The wickets were shared by all the bowers with Broad taking 3/49 being the most effective.

It will be an interesting hour and a bit for both sides.  England will not want to lose a wicket and Australia will want to gobble up a couple if they are to win the game as they will have to bat fourth on what has turned out to be a “non-event” wicket to this stage.

Australia gain the first seat when Cook (7) hooks Hazlewood and Starc diving takes a brilliant catch at deep backward leg.   England 1/11.

Stoneman as he did in the first innings looks very comfortable with a fine shot.  He will need to play more as Vince (2) nicks one to Smith from Hazlewood.  England 2/17 and Hazlewood 2/6.

Whatever England had done for the first two and a half days has been thrown away completely and it will take a captain’s knock from Root and his team mates to resurrect the situation.

Root is struck on the helmet by a brute of a ball from Starc which sends the helmet askew on his head.  He catches a shattered piece as it falls. He is fine but is being inspected by the umpires for signs of concussion.

The Australian bowlers are steaming in to take full advantage of the situation, not that I am condoning the bouncer, just that it would have shook up Root and made Stoneman circumspect.

Surprisingly the crowd was not as big as Day 2 falling short by 884.  Everyone must have stayed at home awaiting the result of the Queensland election.

Smith is making the most of is day and is going all out attack now. Cummins and Lyon are on after fine spells from Starc and Hazlewood.

Cummins is making the ball fly and at last there is some life in the pitch. His first over is a ripper.

The batsmen Root (8) and Stoneman (19) survive the last few overs and at stumps on another day of fine Test Cricket England 2/33 and they lead by 7 runs .  Hazlewood 2/11

It has been Steve Smith’s day without doubt and he will continue to lead the party into another election next week in Adelaide. As suggested earlier it was probably his most stoic and grit-laden innings that he has played for Australia. Vote 1 – SPD Smith

About Bob Utber

At 75 years of age, 'Citrus Bob' Utber is doing what he wanted to do as a 14-year old: writing, talking and watching sport. How good is that!?! He lives in Mildura with his wife and 'furry kids'; a labradoodle "Freddy Flintoff" and a groodle named "Chloe on Flinders".


  1. John Butler says:

    Played, CB.

    The first session was a fascinating tactical tussle. Brilliant tactics to restrain Smith.

    Then England appeared to tale the foot off the peddle. I think they slowly gave up on trying to dismiss Smith; a tribute to his singular focus. Once you’ve conceded to one batsman, you’re usually on a bit of a slippery slope.

    Then England seemed to lack the focus they had on day one when they batted again. Now they look wobbly.

    Dare we say, the first session today will be crucial.


  2. jJB – correct they certainly did take their foot off the pedal. Mind you Cummins was a great foil for SPD.
    I reckon Cummins could develop into an all-rounder. He has very sound technique and those WHO KNOW have not woken up to it. Probably too busy picking the Shield Sides for us to pick to bits. COWAN still at six. Hope he makes a ton!

    Great day ahead of us today.

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