The Ashes – First Test, Day 4: Antony Green Calls It

BRISBANE DAY 4

Brisbane – questions one day and more questions the next.

At the moment it is a very questionable place and it is hard to move without a question being put to you.  This theme has carried through for the whole of the Test Match at Woollongabba and contiguous areas.

I have had three real heroes over the last few days, SPD Smith, JE Root and the great Antony Green ABC (political analyst to the unwashed). If only we could get Green to analyse the swings and moods on the TV cricket coverage the Channel 9 ratings might increase.

The biggest question doing the rounds this morning is where does SPD rank amongst the best batsman ever?  I will let that one go through to the keeper whoever he might be.

At 2/33 England will need to consolidate after a wobbly hour last night.  Root and the ever-impressive Stoneman start very confidently against the chin-men. They are playing attacking cricket which they need to do to build a score that will be hard for Australia to achieve.

Australia break through when Lyon gets one to turn past Stoneman (27) for Smith to take at slip.  England 3/62.

A solid first hour with Lyon’s wicket seeing the swing to Australia shortening. Root on 27 is the key to both teams.  If he digs in, which he is bound to do anyway, he then gives his team has a chance.

It was expected that the fast bowlers would get some help from the wicket this morning but so far the batsmen have not been having any problems.

As predicted before the game Lyon is the danger man and he gets Malan (4) caught at slip by Smith England 4/74.

Have you noticed that in today’s test cricket nobody claps the magnificent returns from the outfield? Remember when every throw from a Harvey, Bland, Lloyd or Sheahan was received with rapturous applause.

Root, playing attractive cricket takes three fours from Hazlewood. He is a fine batsman who refuses to be hamstrung by the bowlers as his record shows.

Root reaches 50 but then Hazlewood gets him plumb in front and the morning now belongs to Australia with England 5/113.  Root (51)

At lunch England are 5/119 with Ali on 26 and Bairstow 1.  Hazlewood has been most impressive with 3/38.

The swing to Australia has increased and Smith’s mandate to be the leader of the pack has increased immensely.

SESSION 2

Ali and Bairstow move into the second session confidently and although Lyon is obtaining prodigious turn on occasions the batsmen are comfortable and playing their shots.

Controversy!  Ali prods at Lyon, Paine whips off the bails. Not out!  DRS a long wait. OUT! Says the third umpire. Surely with such a long delay the batsman should be given the benefit of the doubt. There was a cat’s whisker in it. Great work by Paine but I am not convinced it was the correct decision.  Moeen Ali (40) was very stiff as he was batting with great confidence.       England 6/155.

The Australians are patient – there is no hurry for them. Keep the batsmen from playing their shots and they will get themselves out.

Runs are coming slowly but Bairstow and now Woakes are very restrained in their approach, although Woakes sometimes charges at Lyon only to block the ball.  There does not seem any malice in the speedsters at this stage of the game.

A couple of “catches” have gone near short leg and could have been taken. Why don’t the fielding side have their “SHORTEST” man there?  After all Australia’s best short leg was David Boon.  How short can you get?  Or even be more inventive, have the ICC introduce a player specifically to be stationed at short leg.  No batting or bowling just fielding at short leg.

SPD makes one of his rare appearances at the crease. The batsmen are comfortable, why not.

It is Starc who makes the breakthrough when Woakes (17) edges to Smith for another catch. The Aussies have the happy knack of taking a scalp just when it looks like the batsmen are on top. England are now 7/185 but still need many more runs if they are to win.

Sucker!  Bairstow (42) gets a short ball from Starc, ramps it to Handscomb who makes no mistake. Could have hit it anywhere in the ground or let it go!  England now in trouble at 8/194

Broad (2) gets the finest of edges from Starc. DRS called in and he is given out. 9/195.  Three wickets for 10 runs has demoralised the visitors.  Great bowling by Starc in this spell.

All the Australian have had a good spell at some time during this test which shows the consistency of this attack.

Ball (1) skies one to Handscomb and the collapse is completed. All out 195 with the last four wickets falling for 10 runs.  3 wickets each to Starc, Hazlewood and Lyon.

An ominous innings by England as this is what the pundits had predicted before the series started and these wickets were taken on a pitch that was, on a whole, pretty docile.  Pitches for the remainder of the season will not play this easily.

Australia need 170 to win.  I think Antony Green can confidently call it now.

SESSION 3:

Jimmy Anderson is a top bowler. You cannot rest when he is coming at you and he bowls a great first over to Bancroft.

With a day and a bit to go the batsmen are in no hurry and the game will definitely go into the fifth day now.

The wicket is very docile and Warner and his new partner (number 11?) have no trouble in reaching 50 with their opening partnership

With audacity Bancroft lifts Ali for six of the last ball before drinks. Warner is moving now and this is giving Bancroft more confidence. The psychological lift that Mickey Rooney gives his partners is immeasurable.

Warner is now in great touch and this is looking ominous for the remainder of the series as he starts playing shots all around the wicket.

In fact, today’s play has stifled what we were fervently hoping for and that was for an even series.

If England are to get back into the remaining games they will need the following to happen:-

  1. Alastair Cook to return to form.
  2. James Vince to consolidate the number 3 position or move JE Root up one
  3. Have Stokes found guilty and deported to the colonies
  4. Have Ben Stokes found not guilty and flown to the colonies
  5. Replace Ball with Overton (he has a county century to his name). There is no bite in the tail.
  6. Appeal against the light in Adelaide

Play continues with the openers completely in control. Not much to write about although there is great concern here in Brisbane that this could be the last Test match here for some time.  Unlike every other ground in Australia Queensland has not moved with the times except for the ridiculous pool that has been installed.  There is nothing that can be done on this present site.  There is no room anyway.

When you look around the ground it is hard to foresee what can be done other than move outside the city to a site that would be easily accessible by public transport and one that conforms with standards demanded by patrons.

Warner reaches his fifty off 74 balls and the century partnership comes up soon after. Warner’s 30th one hundred partnership as well.  Wonder what percentage of runs he has made in that statistic?

Bancroft follows shortly afterwards and looks set to hold his position for some time though being Warner’s partner has something of a poison chalice about it.

At stumps Australia are heading towards a victory at 0/114  Warner 60 and Bancroft 51.

Australia have won the contest comfortably and Antony Green did not have to make too many predictions after the initial count.

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".

Comments

  1. Entertaining Citrus Bob vehemently disagree with you tho re Ali definitely out
    A test match where the final margin will flatter Australia

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