Some Aussie humour to start with!
Temperatures in Sydney are expected to reach over 40C today and more in the rural areas of NSW but thankfully I’m in the shade all day and taking on liquids (non-alcoholic!). There’s the possibility of thunderstorms later which could come to England’s aid!
The McGrath fund raiser had topped $1m but more to come no doubt.
Numbers attending are lower again for the 4th day – I asked a few Aussies why this is across the series. There’s no one answer – my theory of everyone going to church on Sunday and then going to the game doesn’t seem to hold much credence! It’s a family day with other commitments but cricket is so family oriented in Australia that there must be another reason? The BBL is attracting large audiences (its the fifth largest/most attended sports tournament in the world…ECB please note!), so people are choosing where to spend their cash, the ODIs are coming up so again choosing what to do, it’s now a dead rubber, it’s too hot, would rather do something else…and so forth.
But back to a test match to save! Australia have a lead of 133 with 6 wickets in hand and the Marsh brothers ready to add to their century partnership and personal goals.
My view today is one of the best of the last 24 days…directly behind the umpire!
So the forecast for drinks with a new ball due in three overs time, Australia 5/529
Drinks 4/542 Marsh S 125 Marsh M 99. There’s no idea anywhere of where the next wicket is coming from. England’s body language is begging ‘please declare and put us out of our misery in this heat’ but why would they? The English bowling attack here and at Melbourne has taken nearly 300 overs to take the last 8 wickets – that says it all. Crane takes new ball in partnership with Anderson! When was the last time an English leggie did that? Broad has been sparingly used which suggests an injury of some description but who knows? Forecast for lunch 5/585
Lunch 5/578 Marsh S 145 Paine 14. Mitch of the Marsh family went for 101 – a lapse of concentration immediately after some exuberant celebrations for his hundred. The brothers join the Chappells and Waughs as having brothers each scoring a century in the same innings for Australia. England are begging for the declaration but with temperatures at 42c why go out and bowl? I suspect the declaration will come mid afternoon when the lead is close to or over 300. Forecast for drinks 5/625.
Am so hot have taken one of the McGrath scarves, doused it in water and am wearing it on my head under my hat – being Australia no one seems to think this is odd behaviour and I don’t need to explain! I’m behind the TV cameras so won’t be frightening the viewers on TV!
Ok…drinks 7/618 Cummins 2 Paine 30 – as the temperatures in the middle are over 50C there’s drinks breaks more regularly than before, throwing my forecasts out! Assuming there’s another in 40 mins, I think Smith will declare with a lead of 300 by the next break as the peak heat of the day will have passed by then. Marsh S went to a careless run out and a cameo from Starc have been the highlights since lunch. Crane has taken 1/173 – will he get his own double hundred? Probably.
We’ve been put out of our misery with the declaration at 7/649 Cummins 24 and Paine 38 both not out at the end. The last hour or even longer has been dire and makes me feel ashamed to be English as the cricket we’ve played had been awful beyond description. I think it’s really time to say thanks and goodbye to Broad and Anderson in the style of Harmison and Hoggard from years ago. We just need to blood some youngsters and others and just take a punt on them – they can’t be any worse.
So the question is can England bat four and a half sessions to save the match? Unlikely as Lyon is waiting to do his worst, the mental approach is lacking and I suspect that it will all be over by lunch tomorrow or just thereafter. The breeze has got up bringing clouds and a small drop in temperatures- an ideal time to bowl! Forecast for tea England 2/40.
Tea 2/25 Root 8 Vince 6. Stoneman went for a duck and wasted a review (Cook didn’t call two reviews in Melbourne when he should have done so perhaps he’s making up for lost ground?). Cook went for 10 bowled by a pearler by Lyon having become the 6th in history to pass 12,000 runs in tests. It looks and feels like I’m watching a different game in the last hour. We’ve had clouds and overcast spells, a drop of 10 degrees in temperatures and a stronger breeze. This just adds to the mental strain for the England side having been out in airless 50c heat, beating sun and batsmen playing like kings. England are playing as if they want to be on the same plane home as me (they won’t be travelling cattle class I’m sure!) but it will be a struggle to take the game into the 5th day but who knows?
Forty overs remain so there will be overtime but forecast for close of play is 4/85 as I have no idea when drinks breaks are!
Close of play 4/93 Root 42 Bairstow 17. Root looks as if he’s broken a finger but is showing true grit and determination to those in the pavilion…they shall not pass! For only the third time in test history have four bowlers from one team each taken 20 or more wickets in a five match series and the quartet here of Starc, Lyon, Cummins and Hazlewood have done just that! All three instances have been against England (one other Australian quartet and the WI were the others). Anderson is our ‘best’ bowler with 17 (so far). Also England have been in the field for over 1,000 overs compared to Australia 840 at the start of this innings- the former have taken c55 wickets, Australia 80 with power to add!
So we go to a fifth day for the fifth time..25 days of test cricket so I’m getting real value for money. Three wickets are all that Australia need before the tail arrives and collapses in a heap!
And finally many thanks to everyone who’s viewed this blog, we should reach 1000 views later today!