For the first time on this trip am suffering from jet lag! For the past four weeks I’ve been on the eastern side of this country and now on the west coast I’m some 2.5 hours behind Adelaide and goodness knows what for Brisbane since they don’t observe daylight saving! Sorry my body feels as if it’s still in Adelaide whilst I need to concentrate on the test here, these ramblings may ramble more than before!
Perth is the most isolated city in the world and I’m nearer to Singapore than I am to Sydney and I may be committing sacrilege but so far Perth doesn’t impress me. I’ve been told Perth is a beautiful city but what I’ve seen so far, it’s ok but not ‘the most beautiful city’ I’ve been told to expect! It has a feel of isolation, being self reliant and dependent which it has to be but it’s also supposed to have one of the highest income per person in Australia due to the mining generated wealth. True there are flash skyscrapers oozing corporate power and pleasant streets reminiscent of some parts of St Johns Wood but also significant building and development works give me the feeling that it’s not quite there yet.
But it’s early in my stay so, come on Perth show me!
So, to the cricket and the last test at the WACA and I can see why. In the current fashion to play in stadia rather than cricket grounds, this ground would need significant redevelopment and hence it’s cheaper to build a brand new $A 2bn stadium across the river from here. The ODI in January will be held there. How can I describe the WACA? I’m not being rude but it’s like an English county ground trying to put on a test match! Stands which need knocking down, seats which need renewing, temporary stands and relatively little of no cover or shade. If you’re in the open, you roast like a turkey at Christmas and the temperature today is a cool 28C but with a nice breeze which will strengthen when the Fremantle doctor arrives (more later about the doctor) but it has its history and reputation for the fastest pitch in Australia which means we could be in for some fun!
The team dynamic for a England has been exposed a bit more with press articles underlining the Stokes episode has having more far more reaching effects than anyone imagined or is this getting the excuses in early?
England have one the toss and Root realises that he needs to bat and does to an English response from the crowd! This gives Cook on his 150th test to really come good on this tour whilst the rest of the team is unchanged except that Bairstow is up the order as this makes so much sense.
Australia have made one change as expected. Forecast for the first drinks break 0/50.
So we reach drinks 1/58 Cook 7 but Vince 13no and Stoneman 34no. Cook looks like a man with problems having made 69 runs from 5 innings. Yes, this pitch is fast, really fast! The fast short stuff is going through to Paine above head height. Could be a pitch where you need to take time to settle in and then build an innings. This is a good cricket wicket with help for each side so I think there will be a result if the weather holds. Forecast for lunch 1/110.
Lunch 2/91 Vince made 25 but Root 1no and Stoneman 47no should be ready to launch forth in the afternoon. Pleasing to see that a England have come out in a positive frame of mind and are taking the fight to the Aussies. We have seen episodes of this already in the series but they now need to make it count. Australia have been under pressure and have generally held their game together. Suggest that the session was evenly shared. Whether it’s me or whether it’s the bowling but I suspect there’s an element of inconsistent bounce in this pitch; it has more green on it than I was expecting but the ball from time to time is coming through at slightly different heights. It may be the bowlers struggling to find the right length for the short stuff but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does get more variable as the match progresses.
What I am surprised about is the early arrival of the Doctor and how strong it is. You may recall from your school geography classes the phenomenon of sea breezes – in other words, the land heats up compared to a cool sea offshore and a breeze blows from the sea onshore as the hot air over the land rises. Well here in Perth this happens every day and can lower temperatures by 10C. With the heat rising from the vast continental expanse behind Perth and the Swan River passing through Perth towards Fremantle and the Indian Ocean, then this daily feature helps ameliorate the climate. What no one told me was a) it would arrive at midday (supposed to be mid afternoon) and b) how strong it would blow! I am now feeling v cold in temperatures of 28C and sitting in what could be close to gale force winds ! I suppose when it’s 35C plus it’s welcome. It is blowing strong across the ground so bowlers beware!
Forecast for afternoon drinks 3/135.
Drinks 4/131 Stoneman 56 and drinks taken but a controversial DRS review. He had gone into his shell after being hit on the helmet whilst Root had been out earlier for 20 after being strangled down the leg side. Fast bowling exhibition from the three quirks since lunch and runs dried up for England. Question must be whether there’s sufficient evidence under DRS to overrule a not out decision for such a catch. Anyway we are where we are. Bairstow and Malan now need to bat to tea and beyond since a score of 400 plus is a necessity. Forecast for tea 5/183.
Tea 4/175 Malan 42no Bairstow 14no. Both sides battled through the last hour whilst the conversation was really about Stonemans dismissal. The right decision was eventually reached but only after a second review had looked at more evidence. The decision was correct but the process poor. Maximum of 37 overs remain but some will be lost. Forecast for the close of play 6/267 if England can continue with their fighting spirit.
Drinks 4/230 Malan 75 Bairstow 35 – second best partnership of the series for England. Showing grit and determination at last – long may it continue but the tail tends not to wag! Forecast close 6/300
Close of play 4/305 Malan 110no Bairstow 75no. England’s best day of the series and tour showing that when you apply yourself and concentrate and are patient, then success will follow. A shame this wasn’t evident in the first two games and one day in 11 is not necessarily the best position to be in but it shows that they’ve got the necessary spirit. They’re showing the same application which had stood Australia so well so far but talking of Australia, they were under the cosh today, Lyon was not as effective as before, the quicks were a little inconsistent with the ball not swinging or seaming after the first 20 overs or so. However tomorrow is another day, the new ball less than 10 overs old and the bowlers refreshed- so England need to come out prepared.
But the show was stolen by Dawid Malan and his maiden test century and also against Australia in Australia. He was patient, dealt with the bad ball and the spinner but his cover drives were things of beauty and hopefully there’s more to follow tomorrow. For once I was so impressed that I stood to applaud!