It’s time for me to ‘fess up about a few things Australian!
Starting with beer – ok, it’s cold and served in chilled glasses, standard size is just over half a pint per glass but every one I’ve tried across the whole country/continent tastes the same, even the micro brews are not that distinctive whereas the cider (mainly from NZ) does have more flavour and taste.
Wine – reds are excellent and would recommend. Bubbles are also good whilst I need more training with the white!
Been here over 45 days and only met one Bruce and no Sheilas! So that’s a myth!
KFC = Kids Fattening Centres
Chips and gravy – an acquired taste!
Been jay walking as the time wasted at pedestrians traffic lights watching for non-existent traffic is considerable.
Standing on the right side of escalators when convention here is to stand on the left (at last a victory for us left handers!)
Meanwhile back at the SCG…England start on 5/233 and the decision not to have or use a night watchman is all of over the media and on everyone’s lips. I think this just underlines the slack management thinking across the team and series! England are warming up as I write this and I can count enough people in England track suits to make at least another team…so did none of them think that we couldn’t lose a wicket at the end of the days play? What do we pay these people for?
The game starts early today so the next session is 2.5 hrs to lunch. So forecasting to Drinks is over a longer time frame. I reckon England 7/280 but that assumes the tail has a little bit of wagging in it!
An interesting and enthralling first part session since at Drinks England are 6/288 Ali 25 and Curran 22. Both have been dropped to simple catching chances whilst Malan scored 62 before Smith caught a scorcher at slip. Intriguing session with the Richies in full voice (and occupying a whole seating block) especially since the Australian sitting beside me asked who they were and why they were dressed in beige suits, shirts, ties, silver wigs and waving rubber microphones! I explained that they were paying homage to a great commentator and test cricketer but they replied that they had never heard of Richie Benaud ! They had heard of Shane Warne however but they are attending their first ever cricket match here today. How much they understand could be revealed later!
As well as the Richies who are very well behaved and organised, there’s the Warnies and here in Sydney the Barbie Army (not the dolls) who arrived in full cooking gear ready to cook as well as having their own musical band and songs. If anything the Aussies know how to enjoy themselves- and being slightly mad, no one asks them to explain!
And taking of not needing to explain, there’s one spectator keeping their own scorebook (nothing wrong with that) but doing so with a pair of Y-fronts on your head under your sun hat? Can anyone explain? Being English I’m not inclined to ask!
Also Nathan Lyon is a master craftsman and can only get better! He’s been unlucky so far but there’s a lot more to come.
Forecast for lunch 8/340 and England getting towards a score they need to post to have any chance in this match. Less than 350 and they could be in trouble as this pitch looks good for batting today and tomorrow!
Lunch England all out for 346. Curran chopped in with a good of streaky 39, he needs to tighten his game a bit just to reduce the risk of getting caught. He’s s bit too loose with some shots (hangover from one day stuff) but once he does become a bit more circumspect for test cricket he will be good. Broad also contributed a fiery and short 31 – Smiths tactics against him were to try the short stuff time and time again but it failed. Perhaps the 50 at Melbourne has restored some batting confidence- again mind stuff!
Slightly early post lunch start by 10 mins so forecast for first drinks break of the arvo session 0/42.
Drinks 1/53 Warner 36 Khawaja 16. Broad got England off to a great start taking Bancroft for 1 with his second ball. At long last and how many times has this been said since November 23, B&A pitched the ball up and found the right length! Seems that eventually coaches get through to these two! Unfortunately Curran was not able to replicate the length required and went for a few.
Ali came on after 8 overs – what ever happened to the spinner not appearing until at least 30 overs had been bowled with the new ball? Lyon came on after 7 this morning. Mason Crane is now into the attack and clearly nervous but is doing Ok.
Australia are looking to press on this arvo- forecast for tea 1/110.
Tea 2/96 Khawaja 36 Smith 3. Warner went for 56 chasing his fourth consecutive first innings hundreds in four years at the SGC. Anderson and Broad brought back after 25/30 overs to try and find some reverse. Looks as if one of B&A will need to take 10 wickets in the game as the other England bowlers don’t look like running through the batsmen cheaply (famous last words?). There are 34 overs remaining so there will be some overtime tonight. Forecast for drinks 2/147.
One other aspect from today has been the sheer joy of watching spinners in action. Three on show so far – The mastery and skill of Lyon, the relatively middle class spin from Ali and the raw inexperienced yet promising debutant Crane- sheer delight!
Drinks 2/147 forecast spot on for the first time! Khawaja 69 Smith 20. Consolidation by Australia as mix of English bowlers strive to take wickets. Cranes leg spin is growing in confidence as he tools away. There is talent there to exploit but will England have the courage to persevere with him and just play Ali as a lower order batsman who can bowl a bit but who else would miss out?
Forecast for close 2/197. Smith is now the third fastest test player ever to 6,000 runs – only Bradman who also played his first class cricket here at the SCG and in NSW and Garry Sobers were faster! And they both were knighted?
And at last…Bairstow and the slips are standing one pace nearer the batsman- again been an issue all series long but has this forced Root to wear a helmet at second slip? Surely an English first?
Close of play 2/193 Smith 44 Khawaja 91. England’s struggles with the second string of the attack is clear for all to see as expected. They will need a very good target to set Australia in the 4th innings if they’re going to have any chance of winning.
And a day for wearing jocks on your head!