Perth 3rd test day 2 – the Richies are expected as they can only make it for one day of the test and with temperatures in the shade expected to reach 30c, being suited and booted plus wig and microphone will take some stamina so they will appreciate the Doctor when he calls and stays!
To the cricket, the pitch is drying out and should make batting not necessarily easier but the pitch should be more suited to batting but we shall see – England need to press on to 400 plus to keep ahead in the game but we’ve seen some spectacular collapses for years and years as well as on this tour in both tests but will Perth be different? Malan is the toast of the town and let’s hope he and Jonny can press on against a relatively new ball. Forecast for drinks 4/360.
The Doctor is in and will see you now so it’s a bit cooler. What’s not cooler is the temperatures of the Australian players or supporters. This forecasting is getting better as at drinks England are 4/356 Malan 134no and Bairstow 100no. The latter has his first century against Australia and the partnership is 225 and is a) the best ever Partnership for any wicket at the WACA by England and b) the best ever 5th wicket Partnership by England in Australia EVER! That’s over 140 years of tests and I’m here to see it all. The morning started slowly whilst England dig in, the Australian bowlers tried hard but towards the end of the hour it was embarrassing – England scoring at will. Embarrassing since I’m the only Pom in this part of the stand and am surrounded by Aussies who are not best pleased! At the moment they are silent but I fear they’re just gearing up to either hurl abuse at their team or drown their sorrows big time- quite nice to see sulking Aussies but this pitch is a belter for batting. I suspect a high scoring draw could be on the cards come Tuesday evening! Forecast for lunch 4/410
Oh dear…the tail collapsed and England lost 6/35 in the past hour to be all out for 403 with lunch delayed by 10mins. All stemmed from a false or tired shot from Malan when on 140. Ali failed, Woakes was unlucky, Bairstow tried to push the score along and goodness knows what was going through Broads mind as he tried to combat the short ball. His stated lack of confidence against the short stuff is being exploited by every opposition side. Australia came back well and their supporters are starting to float but they will need a score of 550 plus to put pressure on England in the second innings.
With 61 overs left in the day, forecast for drinks is Australia 1/45.
Drinks 0/44 Bancroft 20 Warner 22 – solid start if unspectacular whereas England’s bowlers are still bowling short of a length and Bairstow one step too deep. Roots trying to stop Warner scoring runs when they should be concentrating on dismissing him. Richies in full flow, Barmies quiet as usual when the Richies are in. Forecast for tea 1/86.
Tea 2/88 Smith 24no Khawaja 14no both openers went in the 20s. Smith is batting like the world class supreme batsman he is. Sheer pleasure to watch and he’s only just come in! Overton 2/31 is the pick of the England bowlers who otherwise continue to bowl too short to cause the batsmen problems. England have changed tactics against Smith again to try and get him out; seems there’s a new approach every innings! They just need to find one and keep to it but this is his 5th innings and other than the second At Adelaide they don’t seem to have too many ideas. The pitch is developing cracks which Overton exploited so this could prove challenging as the game progresses. With 37 overs to go today – some will be lost- forecast for drinks is 3/160.
Incidentally the forecasts for runs seem to have improved but that for wickets needs more work!
Last drinks break 2/149 Smith 57no Khawaja 42no. Broad off the pitch but no reason given but his bowling was poor. Tactics after tea questionable starting with Ali and Broad. Anderson not introduced against Smith until he had scored 47. The test has moved towards Australia as England collapsed from 4/368 to 403ao and now Australia do not appear to be in trouble. Forecast for close of play with a nominal 18 overs to go 2/225.
Close of play 3/203 Smith 92no Marsh S 7no. Overton seems to be injured or less than fully fit. Broad returned but was not that effective. Anderson was economical but still without success. Swing and seam seem to have deserted England so they’re relying on line and length. The tactics against Smith seem to be confused with a number of dismissal options reduced and so relying on him to make mistakes but he has patience in spades.
Australia are in the better position but need Smith and Marshes to bat well tomorrow to gain parity with England but also seek to gain a substantial first innings lead. Rain on Sunday and Monday may be England’s salvation- after all, a draw here means the Ashes cannot be lost until Melbourne!