The Ashes 2015 – First Test, Day 2: If I Have A Son I Might Just Call Him Devereux…or Shane

England 430 (Moeen Ali 77, Mitchell Starc 5/114, Nathan Lyon 3/83) vs Australia 5/264 (Chris Rogers 95, Moeen Ali 2/67)


First world problem of the red blooded Australian is the proliferation of live sport this July. Wimbledon, Tour de France, State of Origin and Thursday night footy. And as much as a slow Collingwood start and Nathan Buckley smashing a phone pulls at the heart strings, it is over to the cricket, and over to Steve Smith.

In any sporting contest, the result hinges on small battles within a larger narrative and in this series and those of the next ten years, Smith and Root will inevitably be central to The Ashes™. Yesterday belonged to Davey Warner’s punching bag, day 2 was to be about what the future Australian skipper could do in response. But first, Stuart Broad, Moeen Ali and the other English flyswatters.

Predictably and joyously this involves bowling short at Broad. A man who has admitted having nightmares after being hit in the face by a Varun Aaron bouncer was always destined to get peppered and so it turns out; Hazlewood scones him and Voges ‘almost’ catches him when Scary Mitch goes around the wicket.

Half hour in and their specialist number 8 is flicking and smacking the ball around the park, and Port have the footy every time I turn my attention to the footy. Win some lose some. Ian Healy and Michael Vaughan commentating. Lose some win some.

Byes and Skinny Mitch half volleys; the crowd smarmily applaud Scary Mitch’s century; near misses in the outfield and Collingwood draw level just before half time. 10 and 11 even have cracks at reverse sweeps. More losing than winning. More and more the stage is calling for Sir Steven Smith’s brilliance.

Planet Earth’s Collingwood add 87 to their overnight total before Skinny Mitch gets his fifth and wraps up the innings. We are now one wicket away from seeing what Smithy can muster on this pudding of a pitch. As much as we thought he was shite when he first lobbed into the Australian scene, we love him now. Smithy! Smithy! Smithy! Ra Ra Ra! Fuck you Graeme Swann! The wife pulls me back to the couch. I settle, so do the openers, and despite the close call, we get to lunch safely. Time for the Tour de France and to watch Collingwood lose a close one. Things are looking ok.

Lunch – Australia 0/26

Two overs into the middle session and Anderson wraps Warner’s pads and Dharmasena goes up with the poms. Davey asks Buck if it pitched outside leg and they refer it. I’m edge of my seat excited about Steve Smith’s potential arrival but I’d rather delay it a little longer. Wait until their spirit is broken. The DRS backs our judgement and the openers put on 52 before Anderson draws Warner into a drive and Cook snaffles a decent catch at first slip. Three balls into Smith’s knock and he’s edged one. But it falls short of Cook and two other balls become the focus and their captain continues his regular habit of wasting time on a cricket field, much to the reasonably appropriately named Root’s amusement. Alistair won’t be doing any of that tonight.

The middle session ambles along with Buck bringing up a seventh consecutive test fifty, punching through the covers and glancing off his pads while the nations’ hero settles in. In the 27th over Smithy drives consecutive boundaries back past Moeen and two deliveries later dances and hits gloriously in the air through extra cover. 13 runs from the over. This is your technically flawed batsmen Graeme. Ask Moeen if he’s intimidated Graeme. Cock!

And after Taylor repeats what Nicholas has just finished saying about Stokes, it’s seeya later to the Channel 9 clowns, time to sync TMS up. Ah Blowers and Boycott…much better. So it’s muted Channel 9, digital radio on the phone, Tour de France on the iPad and Steve Smith doing what he does. Everything coming up Milhouse. Until three overs before tea. 12:26am AEST. What the hell?! That’s not how it was meant to play out. Where’s the dominant hundred?! At least it wasn’t Broad or Anderson, he’s got himself out. More tangled than a Fritzl family game of Twister and lollied one from Moeen to that weird short mid-on spot next to the pitch.

Tea – Australia 2/145

Well shit hey?! Who’s our hero now? For a while it looks like it’s going to be Buck, and sure 95 and your first ever test match six is not to be scoffed at but after an odd few minutes in the nineties he’s out nicking Wood. Australia still over 250 behind. Maybe it’s Clarke in a nod to yesteryear but even with his cover drive going it ain’t him. He smacks one straight back to Moeen who hangs on. This specialist number 8 is having a bit of a day. 4/207 and Shane Watson laboriously lumbers to the centre of Sophia Gardens. Watson…Shane bloody Watson. To the rescue. Surely not…


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Well played MV Younger some clever play on words and correct it is a real worry when we’re relying on bloody,Watto. The Pomms right on top and can’t see.Haddin or Johnson having the patience to grind it out batting wise on a slow deck,I don’t mind that,Lyon is in

  2. To use weather forecasting terminology, the Poms are 160 in front but it feels like 200. And if we end up 60 runs behind at the end of our inning it will feel like 120.

  3. Hmmmm. Reading/listening to the corporate media weren’t Australia dead set certs to romp this in ? Well we were, weren’t we ? Unfortunately that’s not how the real world works. Root dropped on 0,makes a big ton, Mitchell Johnson giving us an updated version of 2009, being dependent on Shane Watson to make a big score, whilst marshalling the tail, on the way to a first innings lead surely that’s not how it’s meant to be ! It’s going to be a tough contest from him, so let’s see how the World number one side deals wit the pressure.

    C’mon Aussies !


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