An Ashes five-fer: Day 3, 1st Test, Brisbane
FUNKY FIELDS ARE COOL IF THEY WORK
Michael Vaughan used to set funky fields to jam up Hayden, Langer, Gilchrist and company in 2005 and Joe Root has taken on that mantle, albeit against a less stellar cast.
At one point, Steve Smith had scored only 17 runs from 66 balls in the first session.
The dizzying merry-go-round of leg side fielders were placed strategically, as if to scream at the Aussie skipper: “See, we are doing something to put you off.” It did rattle Smith to be fair, but he’s got that magic asterisk to his name.
During this Steve Smith innings, that pool couple has got married, had a couple of kids, separated, reconciled and moved to Perth. #Ashes
— Dan Liebke (@LiebCricket) November 25, 2017
ENGLAND CAN’T FINISH THAT TAIL
Before England were mentally Mitchelled, they had the Aussies at 6-132 on the first day at Brisbane four years ago. All looked well with the world.
Then Johnson came in and whipped a smart 64 in able support of Brad Haddin to push the Aussies up to 295.
Likewise. from a wobbly 209-7, Pat Cummins gave Steve Smith stellar support with a classy 42 as England again struggled to get rid of the tail.
Oh for a Darren Gough bag of tricks to knock them over.
TOO LONG IN THE FIELD TO TWO DOWN
You know that feeling when the dominant position turns into a deficit and there’s a protracted hour of hostility to face against a revitalised attack? Fancy losing a couple of quick wickets? Box ticked.
The real interest now lies in how many England can get. It would be a shame for the “neutrals” (tough to spot, I grant you) if they crumpled. This match deserves a competitive fourth day.
Just overheard this epic conversation:
“Dad, who’s your very worst England player?”
— Henry Moeran (@henrymoeranBBC) November 25, 2017
THE SPIRIT OF CRICKET LIVES ON
With Australian tails up, the pace attack that was so muted by the pitch on the first day suddenly cranked up the volume to vicious levels. Mitchell Starc and Cummins electrified their moustaches to Kenneth Branagh Poirot proportions.
Three years to the day since Phillip Hughes was fatally hit, the Aussie players immediately checked on Root’s health after a 90 mph crack to the side of the helmet. Starc then bowled another short ball. That’s the way it has to be.
STONEMAN MADE OF THE RIGHT STUFF
For a relative Test rookie, it wasn’t so much the runs, but how Stoneman dealt with the whole situation, having also seen his skipper receive a sickening hit.
Many pundits have been saying nice things about how the Surrey man goes about his work. He’s proved there is a chance for gnarled pros that may not have got a look in with a more cliquey England dressing room a decade ago.
Who would have thought Stoneman would look more secure than Alastair Cook?
Silverwood unlikely to try Stokes-Buttler IPL job swap for England
Ben Stokes was promoted to the top of the order and Jos Buttler slotted in down at number five for Rajasthan Royals recently.
Rassie upbeat ahead of T20 series despite contrasting build-ups
South Africa have not played together since March while England had a full international programme over the summer.
India suffer double blow as Rohit and Ishant ruled out
India will have to do without the services of Rohit Sharma and Ishant Sharma during the first two Tests against Australia.
Sam Curran stars as England get creative in internal T20 practice match in Paarl
Jos Buttler’s XI coasted to victory over Eoin Morgan’s team, with a second target then hastily set to gain more practice time.
Kagiso Rabada reiterates BLM support as South Africa opt against taking knee
The Proteas will not take a knee during the forthcoming series against England.
Olly Stone ready to ‘bash down the door’ after England recall
The Warwickshire paceman was included in the one-day international squad against South Africa and impressed in an intra-squad warm-up game.
Sam Billings striving to make sure he keeps place in ‘phenomenal’ England side
Billings and Joe Root put on 103 for Jos Buttler’s XI in a 40-over intra-squad warm-up victory in Cape Town.
Joe Root hits decisive 77 as Jos Buttler’s team triumph in England warm-up match
The 23-man squad was split in two for the 40-over practice match in Cape Town, with Team Eoin Morgan challenging Team Buttler.