The Ashes – Second Test, Day 5: Injudicious


We have finally come to this – the final day, the final result and hopefully a final finish that goes well on in to the day/night.  An Australian cock-a-hoop after a couple of days and now on the ropes.  An English team down and out and then fighting back to be on equal terms with the home team at the end of Day 4.

The cricket has been absorbing if nothing else.  A few “specials” Marsh’s 100, Jimmy’s five for, Joe’s dig in this innings but a game that has been the connoisseur’s delight.

Well the day starts well for Australia with Woakes (5) caught behind of Hazlewood second ball.  DRS goes against Woakes, a tough call but the technology is correct.  England 5/171, they needed a good start this morning with a long partnership but it didn’t happen.

Captain Root will need to guide his troops home now. He doesn’t and two overs later he goes for his overnight score caught Paine low down from Hazlewood for 67.   England 6/172 and in dire straits.

How the Australian selectors must be puffing their respective chests out.  Whoever thought of Tim Paine is thinking “how good am I?”.  He has for the majority of time (one slip) been exceptional.

Well the game is all bar over as Ali (2) tries an injudicious sweep of Lyon to go LBW.  England 7/188. As we wrote yesterday these English B Graders cannot contain themselves.  I’ve lost count of just how many wickets have fallen to C Grade strokes.  You cannot play these sort of shots against this disciplined Australian attack.

The disciplined attack is in complete control and will only be a matter of time before the three remaining wickets fall. Stalwart defence however by Bairstow and Overton as they try to navigate their way out of the troubled waters.

Australia take the new ball.

The score had crept to 206 before Overton (7) gets a beauty from Starc that takes him plumb. It was the sort of ball that you would expect from a bowler of Starc’s class, 8/206.  England would be reasonably happy with Overton’s game. A fine 41 not out in the first dig and 4 wickets was a reasonable return for his team.

The day has drawn another good crowd, at least 10,000 at the moment. Unfortunately, the day is probably not going as they would like.  From the many people spoken to this morning they were looking for an Australian win but were hoping England would put up a real fright.

Broad (8) hangs around for awhile but tickles one to the alert Paine from Starc. England 9/224 and they have lost 5/53 this afternoon.

Bairstow (36) shows his ability.  With nothing to lose he goes after the bowling and plays some fine shots all around the wicket until Starc rips him apart with the ball of the match. It takes his middle stump clean out of the ground.  England all out for 233.  Starc 5/46 bowled magnificently this morning and he was well supported by the rest of the attack.

Just posted the crowd for the day and it was over twenty thousand, bringing the grand total to 199,147 for the five days.  A magnificent effort by all those who attended.

Well Australia has won again, as expected but once again England put up a splendid fight only to fall at the last hurdle again as they did in the first test. Many “if’s” and “but’s” in the English team but oh for a , dare I say it, Ben Stokes.

Australia will now go to Perth and the WACA for the last time.  Will the curator stick with tradition and prepare a pitch with fire and brimstone?  Let us hope not and that it is a pitch that will suit both sides.

Changes?   Australia will probably add an allrounder to the squad.  Mitch Marsh is back in favour, Glen Maxwell keeps making runs as is Travis Head.  One of these will replace Peter Handscomb who needs to go back to state level to refocus on his game.  Jackson Bird must be looked at for selection either to give one of the pace attack a break before Melbourne or to add to the bowling line up. On reflection my team would be Bird in, Handscomb out.

Who knows what England will come up with.  They must be at a loss what to do. So much promise for so little result. Stoneman, Malan, Vince have all played cameos but have not gone on with it. Bairstowe must be played up the order.  Take a punt England and play him as a batsman only, too good a bat to be down at 7 or 8 and Gary Ballance must come into the team along with keeper Ben Foakes who can handle a bat.  Cook will stay but unless he makes runs in Perth he could be discarded for the remainder of the series. Vince and Malan out for Balance and Foakes with also a big question mark on Moeen Ali.



About Bob Utber

At 80 years of age Citrus Bob is doing what he wanted to do as a 14 year-old living on the farm at Lang Lang. Talking, writing, watching sport. Now into his third book on sports history he lives in Mildura with his very considerate wife (Jenny ) and a groodle named "Chloe On Flinders". How good is that.


  1. Luke Reynolds says

    Thanks for the great coverage Citrus.
    Missing having the cricket on the TV tonight, was such an absorbing Test match.
    Will be interesting to see what Australia does with selection for Perth, Maxwell in fantastic form, Mitch Marsh doing well. I think Travis Head could be a really good long term Test player. His time might be soon.

  2. Colin Ritchie says

    Citrus,really enjoyed your informative and insightful coverage over the duration of this Test. I looked forward to your reports each day. I agree with you that Handscomb will probably miss out for the Perth Test with perhaps a quick to replace him. Mitch Marsh may also be considered.

  3. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Stole my thunder Col.

    You’ve made my summer, Citrus. Thanks cobber.

  4. Peter Flynn says

    Good to see you yesterday resplendent Citrus.

    Ace reporting as per usual.

    How long has the Bodyline Bar been going on?

    A real trap that place.

    Marvin PJF Vaas

  5. Great reporting Citrus. The finish was a bit flat considering the tension at the start of the day.

    Handscomb’s technique is not good enough for Test level. He has a lot of work to do. Too much tinkering.

  6. Thanks Citrus Bob Handscomb a perfect case of keep it simple stupid unbelievable amount of tinkering has destroyed him for mine I would have picked,Maxwell deserves a opportunity
    On the keep it simple for mine best 6 batters 4 bowlers and best keeper hate the all rounder fettish
    ( Maxwell is a batsman only ) nearly cracked the 200 thousand spectators

  7. Superb again, Citrus Bob.
    Thank you very much for bringing us your insights – agree with Col and Swish.

    A very fine non-enforcement of the follow-on played out as expected.
    Wonderful decision from SPD Smith – who not only gave his bowlers time to rest, but toyed with the Poms by giving them, and then snatching away, the one thing any team needs – hope.

  8. Glad I didn’t pay the gold coin donation. I hoped to be watching at dinner but it was all Overton by lunch. No use Moeen but I would have asked for 50 cents back.

  9. Great as usual, Bob. Such an enjoyable test spiced up by England’s fightback. However, people often give the chasing team a better chance than they really have – that pitch was staying low on Day 5 and most of the dismissals were players late on a ball that didn’t bounce as much as they expected. Agree on Bairstow – even if he continues to keep he has to bat higher than Moeen who has shown little interest in sticking around. Now the interminable wait for Perth…

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