The Ashes – Second Test, Day 3: Nothing ever happens in Adelaide on a Monday

So, quick recap – Day 1 was the day of length and patience. The English by and large bowled the wrong length, and the Australian batsmen and the record crowd of 55,000 showed admirable patience. The Australian batsmen in response to bowling inviting only rash shots and the crowd in response to the strange liquidy substance falling from the sky, heretofore unknown in Adelaide in December. At stumps, well past everyone’s bedtime, at 4-209 things were still delicately poised.

 

Day 2 was Joe Root’s comedy hour featuring a national apology to Shaun Marsh. As Marsh patiently batted and batted, ably abetted by Tim Paine and Pat Cummins, Root’s men bumbled and stumbled; regularly keeping themselves in the game but never managing to get their nose in front. When Anderson had two LBWs overruled in the low gravity climate of Hawkeye, his captain not review one that looked plumb and then later review one that’s not, the crowd got a meaty chuckle and the game was slipping away from the visitors.

When, Cook and Vince decided to add slapstick, crashing into each other chasing a skied tired Marsh post-century ball, the operators of the old scoreboard got in on the act lighting them both up as the fielder. Adelaide itself had the last laugh as, Australia poised to deliver a coup de grace in an elongated night session, the heavens once again opened, and this time properly. Aleem Dar’s time-honoured beard test (dips his beard onto the surface and then wrings it into a cup – if more than 30ml come out it is too wet to play) showing there was too much water on the surface for play to resume.

 

So, walking into the ground on Day 3, things in the members more quiet than Day 2 which was more quiet than Day 1, it is easier to locate a good viewing seat and accompanying amber beverage. Let’s face it, nothing interesting happens in Adelaide on a Monday. The Australians, however, pick up very much as they left off under increasingly bluening skies. They make the English batsmen play, pitching it further up and being willing to concede some singles on the leg side if it means they can threaten the stumps.

Vince wastes little time in nicking one through to Paine off Hazelwood. When Joe Root edges one through to Bancroft at third slip, the Englishman we are with shakes our hand and congratulates us on regaining the Ashes. Somewhat premature but it is very much the vibe of the session as Cook and Malan join the procession to the pavilion, England still 340 runs behind. It’s then time for caught and bowled hi-jinks as Lyon takes a screamer to dismiss Moeen and Starc pulls off an amazing reflex return juggling catch as Bairstow blasts a full-blood nutted drive straight back at him. For someone not from a traditional Aussie Rules state, Starc’s reaction to turn around once the ball deflects behind him is to be commended.

The Australian pace battery then gets premature sniff of tailender as Overton comes out to join Woakes and receives a Starc bouncer as his first ball in test cricket. While providing plenty of dicey moments, the Australian bowlers seem to forget that there’s multiple ways to dismiss players with bats in their hands and often it involves bowling decent balls on a good length. The Overton Woakes (not Everton Weekes) partnership prospers for some time before Starc finally extracts a false shot and another caught and bowled from Woakes .

After dinner (or whatever the heck we call the long break, I think we should just call it ‘the long break’ although it would dramatically reduce the nomenclature related discussions at the cricket), Lyon takes the lead for most wickets in the 2017 calendar year with the dismissals of Broad and Anderson – Lyon is a world class bowler and always an imminent threat, particularly to England’s flotilla of left handers.

So nothing happens in Adelaide on a Monday night, huh? How about the resurrection of Jimmy Anderson? On the first two days, Jimmy looked like a man getting very rapidly towards the end. With an unswinging kookaburra, despite its pinkness, Jimmy’s cutters still bothered, however he looked very much like he didn’t want to be there. Under the lights, new ball in hand, Jimmy is reborn, hooping and cutting and jagging past flummoxed Australian batsmen who would, no doubt, rather be spitting invective from the slips again in a session like this. Anderson bowls a number of balls that are simply too good for Warner to get a bat on. However, very quickly he bowls one just good enough for Bancroft to nick through to Bairstow and takes out Khawaja LBW.

11 overs unchanged at one end, Anderson bowls, and breathes the most pleasant waft of life back into this series. Even if England go down in this test at least they are going out swinging, literally. The one argument for enforcing the follow-on is Australia may have been better able to retain the foot on the throat, not allowing an English rebellion. But it is fantastic for the series that it has occurred particularly with the Barmy Army finding its voice again.

Woakes meanwhile finds Warner’s edge and takes Smith’s pad as close to not being LBW as it is possible to be and Australia are in all sorts. Out strides Nathan Lyon to save the day, once more. He plays and misses repeatedly and eventually cops one somewhere on the body. At the ground at 9.28 it’s not immediately apparent where as he goes down clutching all of his body parts simultaneously with a famous two minute injury, ensuring that this is the last over of the night. Nightwatchman job done but just imagine the cheerleading uproar there would have been from certain broadcasters and publications had it been Stuart Broad pulling that stunt…

A thrilling last session of cricket, turns out things do happen in Adelaide on Monday night. As much as there is no doubt it seems more difficult to bat at night, the umpires appear to have caught the bug. Both LBWs were “umpire’s call” on review, with the tiniest part of the ball allegedly touching the stumps. Were they given not out they would have remained so on review. In Aussie Rules we always talk about how important it is for umpires to have a feel for the game. I’m not going to complain when the cricket umpires do.

By my potentially dodgy arithmetic, Adelaide Oval needs another 23,746 punters through the turnstiles to break its all time test attendance record and another 49,394 to crack 200,000. The first will definitely occur and most likely the second now it looks like we’ll go substantially into Day 5. Game on – what a cracker!

About Dave Brown

Upholding the honour of the colony. “Play up Norwoods!”

Comments

  1. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Excellent Dave very enjoyable umpiring for mine very disappointing overall a hell of a lot of guessing not good enough

  2. Keiran Croker says:

    Great summary Dave. Yesterday my viewing rotated from the Members Lunch Room for 1st session, Riverbank Stand for 2nd session and Village Green for final session. From whatever view some of those LBWs looked as plumb as could be. Though the IT specialists in my group were arguing that Hawkeye can only ever be an approximation i.e. A band width allowing for standard deviation.

  3. Luke Reynolds says:

    Aleem Dar’s time-honoured beard test is much more accurate than much of his decision making!

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