August 18, 2022

Review and News

Covid Australia: Alan Jones calls out politicians who didn’t lose a cent all through lockdowns

1.17am GMT 01:17 A correspondent after my own heart, Patrick Myer. “The best way to...

1.17am GMT

A correspondent after my own heart, Patrick Myer.
“The best way to get my 10-week-old daughter to sleep is by playing Daft Punk’s song Around the World, often. It’s made me ponder the nature of repetition and why bowlers overstep when the consequences of doing so are so high. Surely the bowling coaches are employed to ensure that every time, the start of the run up is the bathing dancers, the back foot is the skeletons, and the front foot is the robot men?”
Nyew, nyew nyew nyew nyew, nyew nyew nyew nyew, nyew nyew nyew nyew. Nyew. Nyew. Nyew…

1.15am GMT
Australia lead by 280 on the first innings

A huge score for Head, a huge score for Australia, and a huge deficit for England to face. They’ll need 280 runs to make Australia bat again. It’s possible, on this surface, if Root carries on his 2021 and a few others come with him. But it will take something special.
The roller is on the pitch, the bowlers are warming up, and we’ll start England’s reply shortly with 45 minutes until lunch.

1.13am GMT
WICKET! Head b Wood 154, Australia all out 425

That’s it at last! One ball after Hameed drops another catch, running around from deep square leg while wearing the shin pads, trying to catch a lofted shot lunging forward but only flailing one hand at it when he could have used two, he puts down Head’s lofted flick. Two runs conceded. So Wood goes Route 1 with the next ball, straight and off stump, and Head trying to make room to carve misses out and the bails fly.

at 1.13am GMT

1.11am GMT
150 for Travis Head from 143 balls

104th over: Australia 425-9 (Head 152, Hazlewood 0) Leach will be in the firing line now, with Head on strike and nine wickets down. First ball, whack! Slog-sweep through deep square, four. Head charges and tries the same shot but only drags a single.

1.04am GMT

103rd over: Australia 420-9 (Head 147, Hazlewood 0) Josh Hazlewood comes out at No11. He’s a left-hand bat despite being a right-arm bowler. Two slips and a gully only. Wood bumps him, in at the ribs, right-arm around the wicket. Hazlewood gloves it away. Australia’s media manager doesn’t have much faith, setting up for -innings interview on the boundary line. Hazlewood digs out a full ball to close the over.

1.02am GMT
WICKET! Lyon c Robinson b Wood 15, Australia 420-9

Nathan Lyon lights up the Gabba on 420. Doesn’t much fancy the pace of wood. Gets four off the top edge with a pull shot that is dropped by Buttler, periscoping one arm up behind the stumps. But it only costs England those four runs, as Lyon goes again at the next ball and gets a much higher top edge that drops into the hands of square leg not too far from the pitch.

12.58am GMT

102nd over: Australia 415-8 (Head 146, Lyon 11) I thought England had frozen him in carbonite like Han Solo or something. 11 overs, 1 for 95 yesterday. But he’ll get a go after drinks. Lyon edges a single. Head takes two balls to come down the wicket and attack, but can’t beat cover. In the end just a couple of singles from the over. An early deep breath for Leach.
Malan is off the field again. Been off three times in 90 minutes. I think he has the runs. (Uniquely among England players.)

12.52am GMT

101st over: Australia 413-8 (Head 145, Lyon 10) Nearly bowled, is Head, as he steps across his stumps in an effort to use Wood’s pace and deflect him high over fine leg. Misses completely, and it zips past his leg stump. But he nails the shot four balls later – after he’s scored a run and Lyon has pulled three – off his pads and way over long leg for six! Long boundary at the Gabba but that carries all the way.

12.50am GMT

Here’s Richard Williams. “I know we’ve all been dealing with covid and that but there’s nothing like staying up late for a horrible first two days in the opening test of an Ashes series Down Under to really make you depressed. Sorry, I mean come on England!”

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12.45am GMT

100th over: Australia 403-8 (Head 138, Lyon 7) It’s looking pretty comfortable out there for Lyon, driving crisply for none to mid-off after tucking two runs off his pads. Woakes bowling with two staggered slips, a fifth slip / gully, and a backward point – bets hedged. His final ball dies through to the keeper. The lead is 256.

at 12.52am GMT

12.42am GMT

99th over: Australia 400-8 (Head 137, Lyon 1) Oh, England. A boundary for Lyon now, who tucks into a pull shot from Stokes. Can’t say he nails it, but it trickles away behind square for four. Another Australian milestone arrives.

12.38am GMT

98th over: Australia 395-8 (Head 136, Lyon 1) Lyon has five balls to face after a leg bye. Appeal from Woakes against Lyon after beating the inside edge, but that’s going well down the leg side. Before that… was that a chance? Just saw it on the replay, Lyon’s straight drive actually carried past Woakes on the full, and bowler got a hand to it. Another one down.

12.31am GMT

97th over: Australia 394-8 (Head 136, Lyon 1) A bit of Nathan Lyon, then, as Lou Bega might have sung had his interests been differently aligned. Lyon always gets super nervous before he bats, but he’s entertaining for the crowd. Head dinks a ball to square leg, short of the onrushing Hameed, after skewing an edge to deep third. One run apiece for those shots. Lyon picks up his first in between.

at 12.35am GMT

12.27am GMT

“How did you manage to magic your way into Brisbane, then?” asks Andrew Benton. “I like Brisbane loads – though its the only Aussie city I’ve been to – nice weather, and nice people. My old mate has a bamboo farm a bit north of there – its quite a place to wander around under the cathedral of bamboo poles. Would be a good place for England to go meditate and get some much-needed inspiration!”
I magicked my way in by being willing to do two weeks of isolation for three days of cricket. Simple, unsubtle, but effective. The price to pay.

12.26am GMT
WICKET! Starc c Burns b Woakes 35, Australia 391-8

96th over: Australia 391-8 (Head 134) The Warwickshire Wizard is back for another spell. The cauldron isn’t to his liking initially. Starc smites him through long on for four. Stuart Broad wanders around the boundary line in his training kit to have a chat with Rory Burns at deep midwicket. The reason for that is a mystery. “You’ll be on for a bowl soon Burnsy, pitch it up”? But perhaps Broad’s visit is a benediction. Because from the last ball of the over, Starc aims a huge swipe, and Burns has time to settle underneath it and avoid dropping another catch.

England celebrate a breakthrough. Photograph: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

at 12.33am GMT

12.19am GMT

95th over: Australia 386-7 (Head 133, Starc 31) Ben Stokes comes on to bowl for the first time today, and Travis Head slots him for six! Second ball, lofted drive on the up, sailing over the rope. That’s a statement piece. He follows up with a pull shot, hard but only for one run with Hameed strolling disconsolately in the deep.

12.16am GMT

94th over: Australia 379-7 (Head 126, Starc 31) Dawid Malan is back on the field, so perhaps that injury story was a false alarm. A false Malan? Anyway, he’s out there. Fielding at short straight mid-on, next to the non-striker. No use as Starc belts a straight drive underneath the feet of a leaping Robinson in his follow-through, four runs.
The Australian lead is 232.

12.12am GMT

93rd over: Australia 375-7 (Head 126, Starc 27) Serious pace and carry from Wood as he cranks up the catapult again. It zooms past Head’s bat, nowhere near it. But Head steers away a couple of runs, glances a single, then Starc gets a thick edge through the gap for four. The pain keeps coming for England.

12.08am GMT

92nd over: Australia 367-7 (Head 123, Starc 22) Robinson keeps probing away, this time beating Starc on the inside edge and beating his off stump at the same time. Head is happy collecting singles at the moment.

No runs for Head this time. Photograph: Darren England/AAP

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at 12.28am GMT

12.05am GMT

91st over: Australia 366-7 (Head 122, Starc 22) Wood to Starc, and you have to admit, the Australian quick has dished out plenty but can take it as well. Looks quite calm against the pace, ducks the short ball, clips a couple of runs when it’s straight.

11.57pm GMT

90th over: Australia 364-7 (Head 122, Starc 20) Robinson is bowling pretty well to Head now. Starts outside off stump, tracks back gradually, and has him play another couple of false shots. Head’s weak spot, but he has seemed impervious to good bowling in this innings.

11.52pm GMT

89th over: Australia 362-7 (Head 120, Starc 20) Mark Wood to Starc, this could be a contest, as Head cuts a run to deep point. Two staggered slips and a backward point for Wood, with cover, mid-off, mid-on, midwicket, deep square leg and fine leg. Starc cuts between point and cover for two. No bouncers from Wood.

11.48pm GMT

88th over: Australia 359-7 (Head 119, Starc 18) Robinson to Head, who is still happy to play a shot a ball. A good line from Robinson though means that he finds the field each time, until guiding a single past gully.

11.46pm GMT

Sam writes from the airport. “About to board my flight home having witnessed the first two days with my very close, and very vocal, Australian friend. Memories to take home and cherish, even as an Englishman hoping for a way back into this game. Alas, it can be done! I have seen England rebound and they have 3 whole days to do so (over rate permitting). Bring it on I say. Wishing for Burns to be 50+ upon hitting the tarmac. Enjoy the cricket!”

11.43pm GMT

87th over: Australia 358-7 (Head 118, Starc 18) Second over of the day, and Woakes increasingly looks no teeth, all gums. Drops short without effect, and Head pummels that pull shot for four. Woakes strays down leg, conceding an extra off the thigh pad, allowing Mitchell Starc a look at him. One look is all it takes, Starc using his full height and driving off the back foot through long-on for four. Now that’s a shot.

11.40pm GMT

86th over: Australia 349-7 (Head 114, Starc 14) The batting fast bowler stayed around in defensive mode last night, but he’s keen to get going this morning. Lofts a drive from Robinson between the bowler and mid-off, not hitting it cleanly but getting a run down the ground for his trouble. Head opens the face to push to point, then gets an overthrow as Hameed pings the ball between keeper and first slip. Start as you mean to go on, I guess…

11.37pm GMT

85th over: Australia 347-7 (Head 113, Starc 13) Chris Woakes starts us off, and draws a couple of half-false shots to begin with: Head off the outside portion behind point, Starc off the inside through square leg. Starc picks up three runs for his trouble though, after a Head single.

11.34pm GMT

“Probably been mentioned before. Practising in nets, why don’t bowlers or coaches pay more attention to the line?” asks Steve Richards. “And a simple free-hit penalty seems to have sharpened minds in 20/20. Would that be fun in Tests? Especially if the slip / gully / short-leg field has to remain in place?”
Generally the video system picks up every no-ball these days, so there is already an impost with the extra delivery and extra run. But it can sometimes – as we saw with Jasprit Bumrah during the English summer – be in a bowler’s interests to get a few extra deliveries at a player. So it’s not perfect. But few things are.

11.31pm GMT

An England injury update: Stokes is ok to bowl, Robinson is fine and only had cramp… but Dawid Malan isn’t out there today. Did a hamstring, apparently, from chasing leather all day. Zak Crawley is out there in his place.

11.29pm GMT

Here come the players, into the bright Brisbane sunshine. Travis Head resumes on 112 not out, of course. He’s joined by Mitchell Starc out there, with Australia’s lead at 196. Chris Woakes has the ball in hand. Here we go then…

Players take the field. Photograph: Jason O’Brien/PA

at 11.47pm GMT

11.22pm GMT

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Pat Cummins for prime minister? “I said for years I think Imran Khan is now the president of Pakistan,” says Langer. “He was the captain. No reason why a fast bowler can’t be a captain. He’s so so composed. Huge upside in Pat Cummins’s leadership. The way… He’s a superstar player. But the way he goes go his business he’s so well respected. He’s calm, he’s relaxed and started off so well for him. Let’s hope it continues.”

11.20pm GMT

Langer on Travis Head: “What I love about it, if you look back on the history of Australian cricket players get dropped and they either… Two things happen. They either get better or they fall by the way side. Travis Head is another great example. He’s gone away… I loved how he was covering his off stump. He was getting across. That brings his pull shot in, his cut. Playing on drive to get his 100 up. That’s one of the toughest shots in the books. He’s really improved his game. He’s so composed and it’s great to have him back in the team.”

11.18pm GMT

Australia coach Justin Langer is speaking to host broadcaster Channel Seven.
“It’s been amazing the way the boys have gone about their business. Great to bowl first on the first morning and relentless yesterday. Dave Warner partnership with Marnus was incredible. Travis Head coming back from not playing for a while, what an innings that was.”

at 11.45pm GMT

11.15pm GMT

It wouldn’t be an Ashes Test without a degree of controversy, and yesterday was no different as a pretty major tech failure – with the no-ball camera system not working – made headlines for the wrong reasons. More on that below:

11.09pm GMT

Weather report: There was a big electrical storm in the skies over Brisbane last night, but the players will be bathed in sunshine when they walk out onto the Gabba turf in about 20 minutes for the start of today’s play.

The Gabba, looking resplendent. Photograph: Jason O’Brien/PA

10.56pm GMT

Or if you want some more detail in an audio medium, Adam Collins and I are doing 15-minute reviews of each day for the Guardian on The Final Word podcast. Emma John is sitting up late to write beautiful summaries of the day before we get into the analysis. You can find this on normal podcast apps anywhere, or here.

10.43pm GMT

Geoff Lemon

A big Brisbane hello to all of you out there in the world, from the few of us in here, in the privileged position to actually be at this match. Most of the press contingent is in Sydney or Melbourne doing it remotely, but there is a hardy few banded together at the Woolloongabba ground.
And you’d scarcely credit it, but the skies are largely blue, the radar is clear, and the forecast is mostly sunny at a top of 31 degrees by the sensible scale of measurement. The score is Australia 343 for 7 in the second innings, after England’s 147 in the first.
But there is a way back into this match for England. The deficit is 196. The weather is set fair for the next two days. The way is: get these last three wickets quickly, then bat like a dream. Make about 400, get a couple of hundred ahead, and be in the game on the final day.
It may not seem likely at this stage, but I would guess this pitch will be its best to bat on today and tomorrow, with more time in the sun. Given Australia’s push towards 400, England could make one too.
But of course, that depends on getting those three wickets. And we’ve seen the last few partnerships put on plenty before. One of the players resuming will be Travis Head on 112 not out from 95 balls, having made one of the fastest ever Test centuries by an Australian. He trusted his hands and eye last night, played a shot at each ball, and it worked for him. If he can push on today, he can shut the gate on even that narrow English avenue back into the game.


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