14th over: England 42-2 (Root 13, Morgan 2) Marsh into the attack and Sams, on as sub fielder for Stoinis, dives to stop a whack from Morgan and takes enough of a wallop so that he has to leave the field himself. Marsh then raps Morgan on the pad with a slower ball and there’s an appeal, but it looked to be going over and when the umpires says not out there’s no review. So Morgan then tries to force the pace by trying to cut, only to bottom edger into the turf and just past his stumps. Maiden.
13th over: England 42-2 (Root 13, Morgan 2) When you’re relying on Pat Cummins as your bowler to target you’ve got a problem, and he quickly whips one past Root’s outside edge – but what on earth has happened to his bernies? He’s had some sort of accident – maybe he overshaved one and ended up chasing them up his face trying to get them level, but whatever it is, he now looks like a rugby league player. Maiden, and this is so good from Australia.
“Re Ben Wilks’ stay in a French ICU,” says Graham O’Reilly, “he doesn’t seem to have recovered even now. No self-respecting Frenchman, in a hospital or not, would serve the cheese AFTER the chocolate mousse.”
12th over: England 42-2 (Root 13, Morgan 2) Hazlewood continues for a sixth over, while Warne notes his surprise that Moeen isn’t playing, given a pitch that’s pretty good and should take spin. I guess OT is generally friendly to leggies, but England could probably use some extra batting, and the combo of the two makes hard to argue with the birthday boy. One off another excellent over.
“England do have a problem,” says Felix Wood, “and that problem is that Root isn’t the man to get them out of a spot of bother. I reckon the opposition are pretty happy to see him come in these days. That was a silly single, that was only called because of a mere four dot balls. I’m already dreading the Ashes.”
There’s plenty of time for Root to improve, but it’s true that he’s not as good as he once was, and we can’t really put it down to form because it’s gone on too long. Giving him the Test captaincy was an error, I think we can now say with certainty.
11th over: England 41-2 (Root 12, Morgan 2) Cummins replaces Starc and Root needs to do something here, because he’s consuming balls but can’t the scoreboard moving – unusual for him. He’s got 3 from 28 deliveries so calls for a new bat and immediately carts one just past square leg to the fence. He, and England, needed that. And that! Cummings slings down a half-volley, and it’s met with a glorious cover drive for four, then backed up with a characteristic quick single.
10th over: England 32-2 (Root 3, Morgan 2) Are England already rebuilding? They’re grafting out there – this is some serious bowling – and only have two more batsmen after this pair, who’ll want to set a platform rather than get out because “It’s just the way I play”. Two off another fine over from Hazlewood, who diddles Morgan outside off with its final delivery. That’s the first powerplay done.
And one last one on Headingley from Dave Millington: “I watched the morning session on TV full of hope but with a difficult decision to make.
I had a ticket for a Notts v Yorkshire T20 match at Trent Bridge that afternoon. All morning I was torn – TV or Trent Bridge? As I live 15 minutes from Trent Bridge I knew I could leave the decision to the last minute but I also knew my track record on important decisions (not good….).
I was leaning toward to staying at home but then England lost wickets and were down to the last pair. Ok, decision made and off to Trent Bridge. It was a swelteringly hot day and by the time I arrived all the covered seats were taken and I ended up sitting in a section of the ground best described as a sauna with the thermostat jammed on extra hot. In my haste to get there I’d forgotten my sun hat of course, something which will surprise nobody who knows me.
I watched the first innings whilst listening, with ever increasing incredulity, to Stokes’s innings on my phone and paid no attention to the action in front of me for which I’d paid my hard-earned cash. England won, which coincided with the end of the first innings at Trent Bridge (which I’d virtually ignored) and I had a wry smile knowing that as usual I’d made the wrong decision.
By this stage I was also feeling really ill due to the heat combined with the previous night’s alcohol consumption and realised that if I stayed there I’d be in danger of overworking the St John’s staff so I made the noble decision to go home.
I got home feeling really sick and uipset with my decision to go to Trent Bridge in the first place. To top it off Notts had a thrilling last ball win.
So in the space of a few hours I managed to miss Stoke’s innings, Notts last ball win and made myself ill in the process….”
This thing of ours…
9th over: England 30-2 (Root 2, Morgan 1) Starc’s first ball beats N3’s finest, a statuesque Morgan, then he gets down the other end with one twizzled behind on the leg side. Concerned about the lack of runs, Root then swishes at one offering a modicum of width – he misses – and that’s another good over for the Aussies.
During the last Pakistan Test, we were talking about where people were for Ben Stokes day, and I received this, from Ben Wilks, too late to publish, but it’s too good not to publish so here it is:
“I had gone to Morzine on the Thursday before the test match and had a big downhill mountain bike crash. I ended up in ICU for a week with both lungs collapsed and broken bones etc (French intensive care is amazing, not only are the staff fantastic but cheese following chocolate mousse after every meal? Sign me up). Anyway I was recovering well by the Ben Stokes day and had my iPad with me so with a convoluted set up got to watch the cricket. 6 times in that last hour I had alarms going off and nurses running in to check my heart rate, amazing day, I cried after it finished, I blame the morphine and Brie.”
8th over: England 29-2 (Root 2, Morgan 0) Australia are into this – this is what you get when you don’t muck about and just pick brilliant bowlers. Both Hazlewood and Starc fancy Root, and the former hauls him forward again before the ball departs, then a fine stop from Stoinis stops him getting down the other end and a hard cut goes straight to Maxwell at backward point. Another maiden for Hazlewood.
“On TMS Jimmy Anderson has remarked that England’s sub fielder will be gearing up for 50 overs,” says John Starbuck, “because Root won’t want to field at all today. Let’s see if he’s right. Also, according to the OED, there’s no such word as ‘metronomy’; you made it up. Well done!”
Similarly, Glenn McGrath was blessed with metronomia.
WICKET! Roy run out (Stoinis) 21 (England 29-2)
England couldn’t allow another quiet over so Root shoved to cover and set off; Stoinis, zoning in, collects the ball on the run and on the bounce. He could go for either end but picks the strikers’ demolishing the stumps with extreme prejudice. England have a problem.
7th over: England 28-1 (Roy 21, Root 2) After a wide, Starc beats Root with a jaffa, drawing him forward and pushing him back simultaneously before passing the outside edge. Four more dots follow…
6th over: England 28-1 (Roy 21, Root 2) Root stays down for a while, glugging down what looks like brufen and Vimto – I’m not sure we’ll see many quick singles till he’c coming up, and I’d not be surprised if he didn’t field. But he’s quickly on strike, when Roy dabs into the on side for one, only to retort by coming down and shoving to mid on; didn’t look much wrong in that. A further single follows.
5th over: England 24-1 (Roy 19, Root 0) There’s something extremely Tigger about Mitchell Starc’s bounding run-up, both in practice and principle – he’s going to enjoy inconveniencing those on the other end of it. He sends down a wicket-maiden, but England keep things moving thanks to four leg byes off Root’s buttock then, attacking the final ball of the over, he drives hard into his own knee. He’ll need a little rest after that, it looked a right sair yin.
WICKET! Bairstow c Carey b Starc 0 (England 20-1)
That’s a classical left-arm quick’s dismissal – or would be if every left-arm, quick was as good as Mitchell Starc, who hurls one across the batsmen that he expect to swing in, and when it refuses, he’s left with no option but to nick off.
4th over: England 20-0 (Roy 19, Bairstow 0) Roy comes down to and swishes hard enough to send a toe-ender through extra for four. England will want to show Hazlewood that his Test-match metronomy has no place here (whatever metronomy is) and perhaps that’s the start. And have a look! Roy twists the fifth ball off his toes for three, then adjusts feet to clobber one just outside off to the point fence. He’s seeing it now….
“I don’t think it is exaggerating to say Plunkett was, along with Rashid, England’s most important bowler,” says William Lane, “with their ability to take wickets in the middle overs. “For my money T. Curran is the best-equipped bowler to take over that role and while it is harsh on him, Plunkett was never going to make it to the next World Cup so they might as well give Curran the maximum time to learn his trade.”
I see that argument, I really do, but I’d have given Plunkett the chance to prove it wrong.
3rd over: England 8-0 (Roy 7, Bairstow 0) Roy shoves to midwicket, and Cummins dives over it like he’s Bobby Mimms; it runs away for a four England really needed. A wide and a single follow, and Australia will be satisfied with their start.
2nd over: England 2-0 (Roy 2, Bairstow 0) Bairstow takes a middle-stump guard; Roy was on two leg. And Hazlewood – who’s showing, once again, that serious bowling is serious bowling in any format – persuades Bairstow into a pull that drops not too far short of midwicket, then into a wild slash – that sounds worse than it is – outside off, twice. Maiden/
1st over: England 2-0 (Roy 2, Bairstow 0) Roy gets himself down the other end with a leading edge to fine leg for two, the only runs off the over.
“If football is intuitive and dynamic, you haven’t been watching Fulham!” says a “despairing already” Richard Hirst. They do, however, have a superb collection of hostelries in close proximity to the ground.
Yup, going over. The bounce at OT makes that a poor call from the umpire, as noted by Nasser.
Looking at a replay, I think Roy may get away with this…
WICKET! Roy lbw b Starc 0 (England 0-1)
This was a good ball, swinging and seaming into the batsman, but maybe a little high….
“It’s brilliant,” tweets Jamie Clarke of Sky’s coverage. “Interesting how it has such a focus on coaching and helping cricketers improve. You just don’t get this with any football coverage.”
Sky’s cricket is maybe the best any sports coverage has ever been and way better than the football, but we do need to be fair. Cricket is a repetitive and technical game, whereas football is intuitive and dynamic, so it’s trickier to offer guidance.
“Re Plunkett’s discarding,” says Matt McGillen, “it’s not that anyone thinks either of the Currans are better than Liam Plunkett right now, it’s that the Currans need experience so they are better by the time the World Cup rolls around.”
Sure, but that’s not for four years, and England places should be won, not donated. By all means phase Plunkett out, but not when he’s shown no signs of deteriorating form, and not when no one’s done enough to tax his place from him.
Another nugget from Broad: he wears a sweatband to give him a visual indicator of what his front arm is doing. I’d happily postpone the game by half an hour to get more of him talking cricket.
Cricket Auatralia have given us more gen on Smith: “Steve passed both assessments, but we have decided to rest him as an extra precaution in line with our high level of focus on duty of care to all players”.
“Could Eoin Morgan and Josh Hazlewood swap sides, then we could have a proper J v M game!” returns Richard Hirst.
I’d not noticed that. Friday’s game, which featured Moeen and Mark Wood, might’ve been contested by the fewest different forename first-letters ever.
“Feel we can’t start the day without a Bobness tribute,” says Richard Hirst, “so picking up the sun reference, rather than cricket, ‘The sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken’.”
And money doesn’t talk, it swears.
This new feature where kids send in their action is so good. It’s got Broad talking about yorkers, and how the slingier the action the easier the skill, and how when he’s tired, he focuses on keeping his arm high and straight.
“I’m lying on the settee with the Tour de France on the telly, the Guardian OBO on my phone, recording the Tuscan GP and the NFL starts at six,” says @TAFKAAB. “It’s going to be one hell of a day.”
You’re lucky/unlucky not to like football.
On which point, what a pleasure it is to have Stuart Broad in commentary. One of the joys of venerable old men is that they can speak honestly and fearlessly, because they’ve earned the political capital and everyone knows that whatever they say comes from a good place.
“I see Finn (who I queried on a previous OBO for his lack of pace only to be informed he was bowling reduced-pace cutters and can still hit the high 80s) is the leading wicket taker in the T20 Blast this season,” emails Tom van der Gucht. “It would be a great story if he got a white-ball England recall (in both T20 and ODIs) in a similar role to Plunkett, to make things happen during the middle overs. Older, wilier, still (hopefully) possessing disconcerting pace and bounce to enforce a few wickets.”
I love Finn, who’s sort of the reverse-Buttler: someone with the ability to be a superstar, but from whom it got away after a brilliant start. Graeme Smith is frequently noted as the man who retired England captains, but – in mine – his biggest impact of that ilk was undermining Finn’s confidence during the stump-kneeing incident. Finn is, incidentally, a brilliant talker about the game in both technical and mental aspect, and seems an absolute gent.
England: 1 Jason Roy, 2 Jonny Bairstow, 3 Joe Root, 4 Eoin Morgan (captain), 5 Jos Buttler (wk), 6 Sam Billings, 7 Sam Curran, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Tom Curran, 10 Adil Rashid, 11 Jofra Archer.
Australia: 1 David Warner, 2 Aaron Finch (captain), 3 Marcus Stoinis, 4 Marnus Labuschagne, 5 Mitchell Marsh, 6 Alex Carey (wk), 7 Glenn Maxwell, 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood.
I still can’t quite grasp how easily Plunkett was discarded. I can sort of see why a contract wasn’t forthcoming, though he’d indisputably earned one, but I can’t fathom why he wasn’t kept about. When the aforementioned matchwinning partnership was under construction, who wouldn’t have fancied him having a shy?
A question: is Tom Curran even close to as good as Liam Plunkett is good?
Australia are unchanged, as might be expected after an excellent performance last time out. Mitchell Starc looked in discomfort on Friday and this morning, but stays in the side, and Aaron Finch was particularly impressed with how Mitch Marsh and Glenn Maxwell built what proved to be the matchwinning partnership. Steve Smith is still absent.
England win the toss and will bat.
It’s the same track as the other day, which “had no demons in it”, but might wear a little later on. England were surprised there wasn’t more spin on Friday, and leave out Mark Wood, who hasn’t recovered as well as they’d like, and Moeen Ali for tactical reasons; they’re replaced by the brothers Cuzza.
If I wasn’t so ill with middle-aged nostalgia, I’d mock myself for the recency bias implicit in my feeling that 50-over cricket has never been so thrillingly compelling. It’s true that we don’t have Richards, Sehwag, Ponting, Murali or Warne, but it’s not really about the individuals – though we have more devastating ones than ever before – rather the format. As skills, thought and knowhow have developed, the game have done likewise, its phases, nuances and contours now far more likely to deliver a refreshing, complex and profound narrative than ever before.
Friday’s ODI was a prime example of this new world. It would’ve been hard to conceive of such a match even 10 years ago not just because Old Trafford was being redeveloped, and we’ve every reason to expect more of the same today. Because both sides have ridiculous firepower with bat and ball, neither can expect to silence all of the opposition’s champions, and as a consequence, we can legitimately anticipate another belter. So draw the curtains, pull down the blinds, and make the most of the September sun.