11th over: England 77-3 (Bairstow 46, Ali 1) Decent comeback from Zampa after getting cleansed over the fence.
WICKET! Billings c Finch b Zampa 4 (England 76-3)
Billings tries a reverse but Zampa gets enough turn and bounce to catch the gloves and Finch, at slip, catches above his shoulder.
11th over: England 69-2 (Bairstow 39, Billings 2) Zampa continues and Bairstow, who’ll want to dominate this innings now, carts his first ball over square leg with malice aforethought then nudges a single.
10th over: England 69-2 (Bairstow 39, Billings 2) Bairstow takes two to fine leg, then takes a prance down the pitch to mass-murder Agar over long on. But Agar comes back well, ceding just a one and two from his remaining three balls, then Nasser points out that this is England’s worst powerplay since they lost to West Indies in Kolkata.
9th over: England 58-2 (Bairstow 30, Billings 2) A single off each of the remaining five balls of Zampa’s over.
WICKET! Malan c Stoinis b Zampa 21 (England 53-2)
Malan looks to slog sweep but Zampa sees him coming, tweaking his first ball just that little bit harder than usual so that when it bounces higher he doesn’t get all of it, and Stoinis, sprinting in, dives forward to hold a screamer at deep midwicket.
9th over: England 53-1 (Bairstow 27, Malan 21) Zampa into the attack, which reminds me of an interview I read with him earlier today, in which he said:
““I’ve always taken a couple of bottles of whisky on tour with me,” he says. “A few of the boys have started to do it too.
“We have a whisky club. At night people will bring different bottles. Some like Japanese. I like Scottish Highlands. Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc have started to enjoy it and a few other guys are starting to dabble.”
Yes, the Aussies have a kiddush club.
8th over: England 53-1 (Bairstow 27, Malan 21) Agar into the attack, and Malan slog-sweeps his first delivery for two, but only because Hazlewood, running around the boundary, palms it back into play, table-tennis style, then Malan gets right foreard, turning a length ball into a half-volley. If he misses, he’s dead, but he’s not in missing form, clobbering four to deep square. A single follows, then Bairstow scythes well outside off, between point and 45 and that’s four more, backed up by a brace to point. 13 from the over, and England are starting to motor.
7th over: England 40-1 (Bairstow 21, Malan 14) Bairstow is warming up, leaping onto his tippy-toes to punch a lovely drive through cover for two. The other five balls of the over yield singles, and England will be wanting to get going.
6th over: England 33-1 (Bairstow 17, Malan 11) Bairstow misses a force into the leg side and wears it on the thigh; there’s another rejected appeal, and this time Australia have no recourse. There follows a no ball, then an edge for four by Bairstow, who’s trying to swing his eye in … and maybe he has, swatting the next delivery from outside off to the midwicket fence. Lovely shot. On which point, what is going to become of him? If he’d been dropped from the Test side when it was time, he might’ve gone away, worked on his technique and forced himself back in by now. But instead they kept picking him as though hie could play his way through his faults, and now you wonder if limited overs will be his thing. It’d be a shame, because he’s got so much talent, but it’s also possible that mentally, he can’t flit between formats.
“Loved the ‘Josh Hazlewood running in to bowl’ video, says Bill Hargreaves. “I always thought that fluid terminator was a double for Brett Lee.”
I can see that too.
5th over: England 23-1 (Bairstow 9, Malan 10) Bairstow pulls two to fine leg. He can’t find the middle at the moment.
“Re Jason Roy’s injury,” says Gary Naylor, “Michael Atherton said that he was never afflicted with a bad side – that’s not how we remember much of the 90s.”
Maybe he means that they weren’t imposed on him, he just selected them.
It looked like there might’ve been an under-edge, but the replay suggests he bothered the air just above the ball. Australia have now burned both reviews.
5th over: England 21-1 (Bairstow 7, Malan 10) Kane Richardson into the attack and Bairstow forces his loosener for two down to deep square. But what’s this?! Bairstow steps away, tries a flip, and looks to scoop, missing; that looks out to me, but after the appeal is denied there’s no review, and a replacy suggested Bairstow flicked his own pad. Next ball, though, Bairstow looks to pull from outside off, misses, and there’s an appeal, then a review when it’s rejected.
4th over: England 19-1 (Bairstow 5, Malan 10) Hazlewood is doing very nicely here; maybe being good is being good. But he has a bit of bad luck when Malan top edges a decent bouncer for four, and two singles follow. This has been a good start for Australia.
3rd over: England 13-1 (Bairstow 4, Malan 5) Bairstow forces one down the ground and they run three, while Warne discusses Buttler, saying that the fear of what he might do to you is a big thing. The same was so of Warne, who’d somehow convince batsmen they’d played a bum shot after hitting him to the fence. Anyhow, Starc hurls one at Malan’s hip and Malan sn’t missing out, hoiking behind his right buttock for four. But he gets away with one next ball, misjudging the pace of a bumper that’s onto him quickly and pulling tamely, just about eluding the man at mid on. A wide and a single follow.
2nd over: England 4-1 (Bairstow 1, Malan 0) Malan likes to have a look at the bowling before throwing hands, and has been told that’s ok by Eoin Morgan. He edges his first ball into his pads and can’t nab a single.
WICKET! Banton c Wade b Hazlewood 2 (England 4-1)
This has been a good start by Australia and this is a good ball by Hazlewood, inviting Banton to hit over the top while crowding him for space and moving the ball away. He looks to free his arms, and edges behind.
2nd over: England 4-0 (Banton 2, Bairstow 1) Warne really likes Hazlewood as a Test cricketer but wonders if he has the variety for the shortest form. But perhaps he can vary his line by moving about the crease, even if he sticks to the same length. Anyhow, the batsmen rustle a single each.
Josh Hazlewood running in to bowl.
1st over: England 2-0 (Banton 1, Bairstow 0) Banton bunts to mid off and Bairstow sprints through for the single, then Starc sends down a very wide. I love watching him, but I wonder if he’ll ever be a brilliant bowler, or will just be a brilliant bowler at his best.
We don’t even get to see if it went down, because Banton, looking to turn towards midwicket, got an inside edge to the ball.
1st over: England 0-0 (Banton 0, Bairstow 0) Starc finds a bit of swing but from too straight, his second delivery rapping the pad on its way down. And then again! Full and straight from Starc, not out says the umpire, and Australia review! Might’ve just been going down…
“I’m worried that I might have cast the runes that led to Bell being out for 90,” says Tom van der Gucht. “I’d literally messaged a Warwickshire-supporting friend with a screenshot of the score and a comment about not wanting to jinx him only to see upon hitting the refresh button that he’d been bowled by my cricketing near-namesake Tim van der Gugten. My apologies to all the fans out there and to the man himself.”
“This is probably a bit harsh,” says Will Lane, “but for all the chatter surrounding England’s strength in depth we manage to put Denly in the starting XI. How on Earth has that happened?! Injuries is the answer I know but nonetheless, how has that happened?!”
I guess because he’s a good fielder, can bowl, and a solid citizen. I don’t suppose he’d be my choice, but in the absence of Morgan, Roy, Stokes and Buttler, he provides some calmness and experience.
“One thing I have liked about this weird summer of cricket, is that once it started, the cricket has just kept on coming, domestically as well as internationally,” emails Andrew Cosgrove. “I will try and enjoy this week as much as possible.
I have two comments to make:
1) Surely dominant team with strength in depth, you have to look at the All Blacks. For a lot of the last I don’t know how many years, New Zealand and New Zealand A (or North Island and South Island) would have been there or thereabouts.
2) If you asked me to name a dominant England batsman in an Ashes series, I would instantly think of Cook in 2011. It felt like he was batting for the whole series.
Hoping tonight’s game won’t be an anticlimax after the two previous games.”
Agreed, the diet of discovered cricket has been a triumph. I guess New Zealand won two World Cups in a row, 2011 and 2015, so maybe.
“We often debate whether captaincy affects Joe Root’s batting,” says Smylers. “But something about Sunday’s coverage did make me wonder if Eoin Morgan also is wearing too many hats.”
I can only defend my N3 brethren. We lead where others follow.
Email! “Looking forward to the game tonight from Zürich!” says Ken McMahon. “Depth always a great topic and plenty of it in NZ rugby (winners of the World Cup final with their 4th-ranked number 10) and of course Aussie rugby league who could play whoever won Origin and replace them with the losing team and still win.”
Yeah, I wondered about an All Blacks team, but don’t know very much about union.
The way Finch talked about it, it seemed like Carey is injured but Cummins and Warner are left out. He – and Stoinis – have had a lot of chances, more than they’d get if they were English at the moment. Dawid Malan, who averages over 50.87 in 15 T20s, with a strike-rate of 157.73, doesn’t get in the top three when Bairtstow, Buttler and Roy are all available.
England: 1 Tom Banton, 2 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Sam Billings, 5 Moeen Ali (capt), 6 Joe Denly, 7 Tom Curran, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Jofra Archer, 11 Mark Wood.
Australia: 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 Matthew Wade (wk), 3 Marcus Stoinis, 4 Steven Smith, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Mitch Marsh, 7 Ashton Agar, 8 Mitchell Starc, 9 Kane Richardson 10 Josh Hazlewood, 11 Adam Zampa.
So Banton will indeed open the innings. As Buttler said the other day, it’s the best place to bat in T20, and he’s not done well enough this series, so will fancy it tonight.
Moeen will captain England and says it’s a huge honour. He enjoys the responsibility and always being in the game, but doesn’t think he’ll be as good as Morgan, though he’s encouraged others players to become leaders. Morgan and Buttler are out, Billings and Denly are in.
Three changes for Australia: Warner, Carey and Cummins out, Hazlewood, Marsh and Wade in.
Australia win the toss and will field.
They think it looks like a good wicket and will skid on under lights.
Eoin Morgan’s dislocated finger looks set to keep him out this evening. A shame, as he’s in stupid form even for him, but what can you do.
In the second half of his career, he scored so many tough runs – always in beautiful style. As a combo, you cannot beat that, and I wonder, had Mark Ramprakash been managed in the same way and played with players as good, whether he’d have filled in the missing bits too. He’s the great lost talent of my lifetime, I think, which sort of brings us back to Buttler again. It was dicey, but I’m so glad they stuck with him in Tests; doing well over the long format can only be good for him in the shorter ones.
I can’t think of many like him – not players who started badly and found a way, but players who were mentally weak and found a way not to be. That is very unusual indeed, and says a very lot for Andy Flower. And for Ian Ronald Bell.
Back to Ronald, he managed a mere 90 in his final knock. Read about that – and more – here.
I have recently become lost down a rabbit hole of extended remixes.
I don’t properly remember the 1985 Ashes, so feel comfortable saying Bell’s batting in the 2013 Ashes – Bell’s Ashes – is the best I’ve ever seen from and England player, across a series. Absolute, total mastery.
A question: has any sports team ever had the strength in depth that England now have in limited-overs cricket? Australia in the 90s perhaps have a claim, likewise the current France football team, but I can’t think of many times management could pick two XIs, two XIIIs or two XVs and expect either of them to beat any opposition.
But we can nevertheless assume that Eoin Morgan will pick what he deems the best side available to him. Partly because it’s rare a team get to paste Australia to nil, but mainly because whoever wins will finish the series top of the world rankings.
So the likelihood is that, if Eoin Morgan is fit, England will make just one change, replacing Jos Buttler, who is celebrating his birthday
by unbubbling with his family, thereby allowing Tom Banton to move to the top of the order. Which brings us back to where we started, except Australia have a habit of ruining England’s hopes and OBO preambles alike.
with a trough of WKD
Play: 6pm BST