The Ashes – Fourth Test, Day 4: A Spot of Gardening

It is only a matter of time before you become just a number and so it was for I.V.A. Richards (Sir Vivian for protocol reasons).  His score of 208 at the G in 1984 was unceremoniously taken down from the Member’s bar area at 8.07am this morning. No fanfare, nothing. The board will be repainted and on it will be written A.N. COOK 244 NOT OUT.  A sign of the times as “The Gatherer” joins R.M. COWPER 307 on the anointed list.


England did not last long this morning when Anderson (0) prodded the first ball of the day from Cummins into the hands of Bancroft at silly-mid-on.  Cook remained not out 244, the highest score ever for a player batting throughout an innings in a Test match.

Cummins 4/117, Hazlewood 3/95 and Lyon 3/109 shared the wickets.

England all out 491 a lead of 164.

There is nothing in this most docile of wickets and Bancroft and Warner look very comfortable although Root gives away a DRS against Bancroft for caught behind when he looked like he missed the ball by a mile.

Australia lose their first wicket when Bancroft (27) lays on to Woakes from outside his off stump. How many players have done this during the course of the match?  I think five now. Australia 1/51 and the game poised for an interesting next few hours.  The weather is humid and the cloud cover should help the bowlers Anderson in particular.

Anderson does not let me down and gets Khawaja (11) getting an edge to a moving ball for Bairstow to snap it up. England have Australia on the ropes at 2/65.

Khawaja’s spot in the line-up must be in jeopardy. Two low scores in this game will not help his cause.  He did play two magnificent drives off Moeen Ali for a six and a four but two swallows don’t make a summer and he has not put the scores expected of him on the board.

Smith comes in to join Warner and he will be more determined than ever seeing that he put down a couple of vital catches during yesterday’s play.

He and Warner, knowing the situation, and as the two most experienced batsmen, are prepared to put their head down and graft away.

At lunch the grafters have taken the score to 70 with Warner on 28 and Smith 4.


I have received sensational news during the lunch break that my Cricket Trivia question has been answered correctly.  Mark “Swish”  Schwerdt  put the answer on the email an hour ago and I was to put it mildly gob-smacked. In 15 years of asking this question this is the first time it has been answered without copious hints.

If you remember the question was – “What did the two wives of Richie Benaud have in common?

Of course, there were obvious answers like “they were married to Richie etc. etc but the real answer was more oblique than that.

After a few hints being thrown out to the desperate, “Swish” came up with the correct one.

The answer is they are both flowers, Marcia LAVENDER and DAPHNE Surfleet.  I know, I know it is a bit obscure but there it is.


Disappointing start to the second session with only about 40 minutes of play in which Australia moved to 2/86 before the rain started to fall.  This suits the home side as the longer they stay off the ground the more chance they have of saving the game.  England are nearly in the box seat but a couple of quick wickets when play resumes would be handy for them.

Only a short period of play before play is interrupted again. Hard to see much more happening today.  The cloud cover is becoming darker and the drizzle continues.

Caught up with young Jack Banister at the lunch break where we had an interesting chat about the future of sports journalism. Let us hope that quality sports writing does not become a dying art and that it continues to develop under the outstanding leadership of our sports giants.

Tea is taken early in the hope that there might be some play after that but still looking very doubtful.

Well, we have sat around for another 90 minutes and I don’t think the umpires trust the radar, a bit like the DRS.

So that is it for the day from this correspondent as the three umpires, match manager, ground manager, curator and anybody else who does not want to get wet ponder what will happen for the remainder of the day.  Well the twelve wisemen/woman have made their decision and we await with baited breath on the outcome.  There is no movement at the station  (just kidding!).

Today’s Trivia – “does anybody recall who was the last player to play the first ball of a days play and then bowl the next one?”  (Thank You Bernard Whimpress)

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. A sharp fresh trivia question, I must say.

    A pleasure to meet you today, Bob. A shame about the rain, though. If only I’d had access to the library!

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Thanks Citrus Bob one other thing where does this wicket sit re the worst tracks served up for a test match in Aust ?

  3. Scorchers were outstanding again. Mitchell Johnson still the world’s best quick. No sign of rain at Etihad.

  4. Could still be a twist in this Test. Smith and Warner get going. Aussies get 150 in front. Weather closes in. Do the Poms have a crack or play out a stodgy draw ? Gary Lyon bowls Australia to an unlikely victory!

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