Woke today to an overcast and cloudy Melbourne- conditions look like Old Trafford on a summers day but slightly warmer. However as the morning progresses the sun starts to peek through and there’s the threat of rain in the air. Apparently if you don’t like the weather in Melbourne wait 25 minutes and it’ll change. From talking to a local you only plan what you’re going to do on the day and don’t rely on the weather- so we shall see.
England start on 2/192 Cook 104 and Root 49 – the innings has a similar feel to the Australian one – dominated by one or two large or decent scores, the rest…? But we shall see. Credit yesterday goes to Cook and Broad but especially Curran. Taking Smiths wicket broke the back of the Aussie innings and let’s hope the similarity between the two ends there.
Is Cummins fit? Will the weather have any effect? How will England play- all to be revealed but for the moment forecast 3/235 at drinks
Drinks 3/224 Root made 61 before foolishly holding out to Cummins at midwicket. Cummins having recovered from his sick bug which Smith now seems to have. Cook progressed to 120 and Malan off the mark with a streaky 4. No discernible change to pitch or batting in particular and England must be looking for a decent lead – estimates among the crowd range (overheard) from 75 to 200 to put pressure on the Aussies. We shall see. Forecast for lunch 4/272
Lunch 4/264 Cook 134 Bairstow 16. A good morning session with neither side in the ascendancy. Malan fell in the first over with the new ball – second ball – lbw to Hazlewood but again no review either instant or delayed as it appears that he got an inside edge onto pad which he didn’t feel nor the umpire detect. Similar to Vince yesterday – odd that neither was referred. Anyway, on we press in mixed sunshine and clouds but high humidity as whole sections of the crowd, estimated at 50,000 but looks a lot less, fan themselves almost in unison! Forecast for drinks break 5/290 and then the tail wags for once?
Drinks 6/318 Cook 154 Woakes 3. Ali went for a belligerent 20 but is truly Lyons rabbit 6 out of 7 times! He tried to blast his way into form and whilst that may work from time to time it didn’t this time but at least he’s upped the scoring rate a bit. Almost level on first innings but the tail may collapse whilst Cook steams on regardless. Temperature has dropped several degrees in minutes, cloud cover increase and lights are on(?). A lead of 75 is a minimum requirement so we shall see. Forecast for tea 8/375
Tea 6/360 Cook 173 Woakes 26 despite the latter having been dropped in the slips twice. England’s session in a tight day of cricket so far. The Aussies are missing Starc as he tended to clean up the tail but here the tail is wagging a bit, there’s not the collapse (so far) we’ve come to expect from England. Lights have been turned off as the sun is trying very hard to break through. Another 34 overs to go today so the close could be near to the schedule (it is possible to bowl the overs in time if you only have one captain and your quicks don’t need to spend ages in discussion). Forecast for drinks break 8/420.
Drinks 8/406 Cook 197 Broad 18. Two wickets in the last passage of play. Curran coped well with his baptism whilst Broad is playing a supporting role to Cook. Australia are trying to get him out rather than restrict runs and force a mistake and may come to regret that as the lead is now 79. Smiths plans against Cook are as bizarre as Roots and equally ineffective. At the moment he doesn’t look like getting out and could well carry his bat. Forecast for close of play with 20 overs to go, if England are still batting 8/470 and a lead of 150.
Close 9/491 Cook 244 Anderson 0 and a lead of 164
First the records…Cook double hundred first at MCG by England batsman since 1928/29; best score against Australia at the MCG ever; best score against Australia; all of Cooks five hundreds in the Ashes have been scored in Australia and none in England; possible that Cook could carry his bat for the first time and the first since Atherton over 20 years ago.
So England on top, scoreboard pressure tomorrow on the Aussies just to get level will be immense and the opportunity England have to retrieve something from this series; Australia 4 or 5 Down when they reach parity would be brilliant especially if one or more of those could be Warner or Smith or both.
Australia under par – sickness bug in the dressing room but also wrong tactics against Broad…they tried to bounce him out etc and not restrict his scoring but 56 runs later and a 100 Partnership with Cook means they got it wrong for once!
England on top and could force a win in the next two days and by the way, the MCG scoreboard must be among the worst in the world as it tells you nothing unlike Adelaide and the WACA which give full histories!
The only question to pose is why it’s taken so long?
Joe goes to 50
Currans welcome to test cricket!
Unusual fielding positions
Stuart and the short stuff
Alistairs 200 and celebrations
The Barmies new friend – Jackson they love you!
More of Smiths ideas to dismiss Cook!