A nice red rather than Buck’s Fizz

Day 5 evening session sees the game draw to a close with the pitch the only winner. Would England have won if the rain hadn’t come yesterday and take 43 overs or half a day out of the game? Possibly but we’ll never know.

Smith has now scored 3000 runs in Australia alone and is averaging close to 70 – that’s stratospheric but still way behind Bradman but he’s only 28!

The day lived up to its expectation of one for the test aficionados but on a pitch which is still great for batting- a day to savour like a fine red wine, to sip, to enjoy and to top up occasionally; not the bubbles and fun of a Bucks Fizz.

So onto Sydney for the last stage of this trip with the series still 3-0 but at least we’ve avoided the whitewash!

Incidentally my blog has been viewed over 800 times – will we make 1000 before I reach day 51 (of this trip!)

Photos to follow

Day 5 afternoon…and England try to find a crack in the defence

Drinks 4/205 Smith 69 Marsh M 8

New ball taken immediately when available when the old ball seemed to be doing a bit but there we are. No wicket fell and Australia just patiently occupied the crease and built a slender lead of 41. Quick wickets are needed by England before the lead gets too large there are still 51 overs to go. The pitch has not deteriorated at all over the five days so it’s hard work for everyone. Thinking outside the box by Joe could be what is needed – he has done it before so where now Joe?

Forecast for tea 5/250 and a lead close to 100.

Tea 4/225 Smith 87 Marsh M 10

England struggling to break through and given the state of the pitch that’s not surprising. Lead is 61 and 37 overs remain although I suspect the game will not go the distance.

Excellent patience and determination from Australia, England running out of ideas. What is alarming is that Malan is bowling before Ali who I think has been uncovered for what he is and has always been…a batsman who bowls a bit but in England had the pitches etc to make him look a better bowler than he really is.

Forecast for drinks Australia 4/268

Another plan for Smith!

Slips this time and let’s attack!

Ground level and side on

Well done Tom!

The view from Bay 13 – those who know their cricket history will know all about Bay 13 and the guy building an idiot and asked for Tufnells brain!

Ball tampering or Day 5 – great value for money!

Today’s press is fullness of the alleged ball tampering by England but I won’t add to any comments about interfering with balls! There’s enough innuendo about anyway!

As it’s day 5 I can basically wander anywhere so the photos will be from different and many from vantage points around this magnificent stadium (shame I can’t say the same about the pitch but Athers today in the Australian evoked memories of the Python dead parrot sketch- this pitch is an ex-pitch, it’s bereft of life etc but so true).

Crowd at start max 5,000 and the prospect of a true test of test match cricket. As the guy in the coffee queue said to me…a day for test aficionados. Very true, one to test the skills of everyone…would be even better if the pitch had played its part, but then would we have got to Day 5 and my eking every last dollars worth from the cost.

Forecast drinks 2/170

Drinks 2/138 Warner 68 Smith 32 Australia plod on whilst England strain to take wickets but that doesn’t seem likely as these two seem prepared to bat all day with patience and concentration to match the old days. Only 26 behind and at this rate a draw is the most likely outcome but who knows, two or three quick wickets and England are back on top. Forecast for lunch 2/180.

Lunch 4/178 Smith 50 but Warner went (patience truly tested and fell to golden balls Root) for 86 and Marsh S on the stroke of lunch for 4. New ball is four overs away and will be the key part of today – if England can take two or three quick wickets then the win is on, if not then grinding out throughout the afternoon. Showers are about but none forecast and I’ve left my rain poncho drying out back at the hotel. For those who have been following the blog closely I managed to find all the openings in the poncho yesterday first time and was not subject to any ridicule by anyone. Still got wet getting back to the hotel though. Love the PA system here when it rains…play songs about the rain and other singalongs some of which I recognise but being a grumpy old f**t I don’t know most of them!

Anyway, a lead of 14 abs an intriguing afternoon ahead…forecast for drinks 5/210.

Photos to follow…