15th over: Australia 127-3 (Warner 56, Stoinis 0) Two wickets from Rashid’s last over. First Smith, then Glenn Maxwell, who flew home from Lancashire last year after suffering from mental health issues, has a bit of swing. Australia need 36 from 30 but with one new batsman and Archer about to bowl very fast at him.
WICKET! Maxwell c Morgan b Rashid 1
A mistimed drive pocketed by Morgan at extra-cover. Surely there isn’t a twist in this?
WICKET! Smith c Bairstow b Rashid 18
Beaten by a legbreak which he slogs to a running Bairstow in the deep.
14th over: Australia 124-1 (Warner 54, Smith 18) How does he do that? Smith dances into Moeen and smashes him for six – his arms seem to double in size as hie does it. To rub salt into the wound, England can’t find the ball which has bounced somewhere underneath the white bucket seats. Banton and Jordan search in that slightly half-hearted way you do when you think the task is an impossible one. Eventually they locate it
Adam Mallord’s hunch is wrong , but only just: “England have clearly set out to lose this game without taking a wicket, thus depriving the Ozzie batting line-up of practise and lulling them into a false sense of security. We’ll over power them in the rest of the series. Canny.”
13th over: Australia 115-1 (Warner 53, Smith 10) A couple here, a couple there, and Australia motor onwards.
Tim de Lisle sums up the situation as pithily as ever.
12th over: Australia 111-1 (Warner 50, Smith 9) Wow! Smith looks at a 94mph bouncer from Wood, wobbles his bat up, tiptoes forward then sidesteps, before pulling the ball over his shoulder. The next ball he pulls at one that goes through Banton on the boundary rope. Warner reaches 50 off 47 balls and Australia are racing here.
11th over: Australia 98-1 (Warner 46, Smith 0) Morgan has obviously decided it is now or never to deploy his trumps. Archer is recalled and it nearly works as Finch ducks and flays at a bouncer and the ball falls just short of Wood at the fine leg boundary. Then it does work! 93mph into the floodlights. Let’s see what Smith can do.
WICKET! Finch c Jordan b Archer 46
A 93mp rocket does for Finch, who drives uppishly and is caught by a leaping Jordan, with two hands.
10th over: Australia 91-0 (Warner 44, Finch 42) Like an anxious collie, Wood is worrying the batsmen. He thwacks Warner in the guts who falls to the ground. A smiling Wood checks on him, Morgan bounces up. Finch ignores a 92mph bouncer. They only manage a couple off the bat but there are two wides.
Stat attack, that was the fourth time in five innings that England haven’t taken a wicket in the power play. What ho, David Willey?
9th over: Australia 87-0 (Warner 43, Finch 41) Will Morgan bring Archer back as soon as Smith comes in? Not relevant for now. Warner goes down on one knee and reverse-swoops into the stratosphere for a couple. Finch crisps Rashid, trigger foot, plonk to the knees, and a straight six. What a swish of the bat! Ah – two more boundaries, one through extra, the other over. It’s all brutally masterful.
8th over: Australia 68-0 (Warner 39, Finch 26) No pyrotechnics, but they don’t need them. A tidy over from Curran, no boundaries, but nine still come from it. Australia need 95 from 74 balls.
7th over: Australia 60-0 (Warner 32, Finch 26) The sun has completely gone now, the Rose Bowl bright but hollow with people who could have been. Rashid chucks in a googly first ball, but Warner and Finch aren’t confident. Buttler appeals for a stumping off the last ball, he looks confident, Rashid less so….and yes, Finch’s toe is still safely within the boundaries of the crease.
6th over: Australia 55-0 (Warner 29, Finch 24) Australia bash and nudge through the last over of the power play, from Jordan.He and Curran have stemmed the flow, for now. Finch and Warner knock up fifty in 24 minutes. England need a breakthrough.
5th over: Australia 45-0 (Warner 26, Finch 18) Now we have fast-ish both ends, with Tom Curran replacing Archer. The bold moustache has gone and it is a smashing over, Australia can’t get him away. Finch gets a new bat but can only nudge Curran for another single.
4th over: Australia 41-0 (Warner 24, Finch 16) So Morgan ends the speed-both-ends experiment and calls over Jordan, whose first ball is as wide as you can be without being called a wide. The second is fly-swatted by Warner over backward point. Then, Jordan pulls back control with a slower ball and some fuller deliveries, until the last, which feeds Finch’s cut habit.
3rd over: Australia 31-0 (Warner 19, Finch 12) It’s all Australia for now – a brutish pull from Warner, then a ugly looking cramped swish from Finch that beats third man and does the business.
2nd over: Australia 20-0 (Warner 12, Finch 8) Wood, just as fast, takes the other end. Slightly worried demeanour, a more obvious acceleration in approach. Warner is nearly beaten by a ball that skids onto the splice from Wood, and bumps over mid-off for four. Then a swivel pull for another four. Not pretty, but effective.
1st over: Australia 9-0 (Warner 1, Finch 8) Archer, two thick gold chains round his neck, hanging like celebratory garlands, glinting in the floodlights. He panther-pads in, Warner tips him away for a very quick single. Finch swivel-pulls, powerfully, square, the ball crosses the boundary with a bounce or two. Then a second off his hips down to the fine leg boundary. Ah, clever, a slower ball stems the flow.
The openers are out in the middle, and Archer has the ball….
Huge apologies about that. Television now on the right channel and it is clearly twilight – the floodlights illuminating Shane Warne, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Ward on the mic. There’s quite a lot of ego there but I’m really enjoying their commentary. The one thing I can’t work out is Warne’s trousers – they don’t seem to have a zip. Would Liz approve?
20th over: England 162-7 ( Jordan 14, Rashid 1 ) Super bowling by Cummins, fast and to his field. Jordan hurries through for a few twos, Rashid pulls out the ramp again, with equal lack of success. Jordan finishes the innings with a boundary but from here it doesn’t smell like enough. I’m going to try and find some batteries, back in five!
19th over: England 152-7 ( Jordan 5, Rashid 1 ) Jordan has a swing over extra-cover; Rashid swings and misses and the dot balls build up. Only two England batsmen currently have double figures, Morgan will hope one of these two can add to the tally.
WICKET! Malan c Smith b Richardson 66
Malan opens his shoulders and has another bash, but once too often and Smith pockets another catch. The pendulum swings again.
18th over: England 147-6 ( Jordan 1, Malan 66) A pricey over from Zampa, five wides then Malan tucks in: two huge sixes sizzle over the long boundaries of the Rose Bowl.
17th over: England 125-6 ( Jordan 0 , Malan 50) Richardson gets the fourth over from the end. Some outstanding fielding by an acrobatic David Warner saves a nailed on boundary from Curran. Curran, increasingly desperate, tries a ramp, which ends without consequence. Then the wicket. Amidst all the fun of the fair, Malan goes to his eighth 50 in just his fourteenth IT20 – off 37 balls. You wouldn’t call it the autumn of his career – perhaps the beginning of July? Anyway, he’s making hay.
WICKET! Tom Curran c Agar b Richardson 6
In, up, and straight to the fielder at the cover boundary.
16th over: England 122-5 ( T Curran 5, Malan 48) Maxwell bowls round the wicket to Tom Curran, pushing it through. Maxwell has just sneaked in three overs for 14 when no-one was looking – could be a game-changer.
15th over: England 117-5 ( T Curran 2, Malan 46) The remote isn’t working and the cricket has turned into the football. bear with me, I’m going to have to take this off the radio for a couple of overs.
14th over: England 109-5 ( T Curran 0, Malan 40) Sorry brief technical difficulties.
WICKET! Moeen c Zampa b Maxwell 2
Moeen, so brilliant on Tuesday, hits a brittle reverse-sweep, top-edges and is caught by Zampa at third man..
13th over: England 106-4 (Moeen 1, Malan 38) Malan is now the senior batsman and he belts Zampa for two boundaries, a six square and a four skimming through middwicket.
12th over: England 92-4 (Moeen 0, Malan 26) Wonderful! This is getting a bit spicy. Morgan is in destructive form, but not tonight. Again, the spinner does the damage as England’s batsmen can’t resist having a go.
Guy Hornsby is still confident.
WICKET! Morgan c Smith b Maxwell 5
Morgan foxtrots down the pitch and heaves Maxwell skyward – as it drops, it is gathered by Smith, sprinting round from long off.
11th over: England 86-3 (Morgan 5, Malan 20) Finch recalls Starc – who is not generally to Morgan’s taste. Malan flays him over cover point, before Morgan has a go, driving nicely before being caught by a shorter one and heaving a less-convincing pull that falls in no-man’s land.
10th over: England 75-3 (Morgan 0, Malan 18) A great fightback here by Australia’s spinners, just as England had threatened to get away. No luck for Banton today.
WICKET! Banton c Finch b Agar 8
Wow, a sensational two handed catch by Finch, running and stretching at full pelt.
9th over: England 70-2 (Banton 6, Malan 11) You’re new, you know you’re battling for your place for the T20 World Cup, whaddaya do? If you’re Tom Banton you get your eye in first ball, then, to your second, you reverse-sweep Zampa over backward point.
8th over: England 65-2 (Banton 1, Malan 11) A wonderful innings by Buttler, now it’s down to the new boys…
WICKET! Buttler c Cummins b Agar 44
Much relief for Australia as Buttler takes a wide-legged cut-price pull with not quite enough vigour and Cummins catches it down on his knees at deep midwicket.
7th over: England 48-1 (Buttler 43, Malan 10) Little pepperpot Adam Zampa has the ball, in a slicked back mullet and trousers that his nan has taken up. The definite Mark Owen of the group. But he’s good and accurate and there is just one boundary, a squeeze by Malan through cover.
6th over: England 48-1 (Buttler 41, Malan 5) The hirsuite Cummins looks like an American film star, a brat packer perhaps. But which one? A good over from him, long levers, dark hair, chest hugging, arm pumping run up, back of a length, on a sixpence. Just the one four from Butler, who steps to one side, and escorts the ball to the mid-off boundary.
5th over: England 48-1 (Buttler 35, Malan 4) The most miserly over yet, but Malan still manages to whip a boundary off his legs for four, off his first ball.
4th over: England 43-1 (Buttler 34, Malan 0) Cummins, long haired, replaces Agar after one over. This time Buttler pulls out a golf shot boundary, imagine hacking into some thick royal icing on a wedding cake. Nasser has spotted that Bairstow fell victim to a cross-seam ball from Cummins, one that held up off the pitch.
WICKET! Bairstow c Starc b Cummins 8
Finch brings third man in and Bairstow is cramped into a push that billows into Starc’s hands.
3rd over: England 35-0 (Buttler 29, Bairstow 5) This time England play tip and run for a few balls before Buttler eases Starc, all head over toes, to the boundary. Starc smiles beatifically – he’s faking. Then another, screaming through backward point, for four. Australia, who haven’t played international cricket since mid March, have having a workout.
2nd over: England 24-0 (Buttler 19, Bairstow 4) Ooof! Buttler dances down the wicket and cracks the shaven headed Agar back over his head for six. The next ball is shorter and Buttler pulls him, hackishly, for four. Then another, jucier, fatter, six, over mid-on. The bat speed is just incredible.
A timely email pops in, from William Lane. “An oft discussed topic nowadays I know, but the depth of England’s T20 (and ODI) batting line up is scary. This team is seriously strong and Roy and Stokes are missing! As is Root!
Who would they even replace? Probably Malan and Jordan I suppose but Malan has a iT20 century and Jordan has a wealth of experience we need for a young bowling line up. Good problems to have though of course.”
1st over: England 8-0 (Buttler 3, Bairstow 4) Buttler touches his toes and stretches, back in his favourite form of the game. Starc, coming off a long run, resplendent in grass green and yellow with a strange wide collared yoke, bowls a wide first ball. He continues wide of off stump for much of the over, Buttler gets off the mark with a shuffle wide of midwicket and Bairstow shifts his last ball through the covers for a boundary.
An email! You’re home first Tom vd Gucht!.
“Looking at the England team, we still seem heavy on right armed fast and fast medium. I know Curran and Willey may be deemed too medium pace, but has anyone heard anything on the street regarding why Mills has been overlooked? Doesn’t he have an incredible record in international T20? And Willey’s powerplay stats are mightily impressive – even if he’s considered suspect at the death.”
Willey’s absence has been a puzzle, even to those who follow England full time. Man of the series v Ireland: no place in either squad against Australia. The most informed guess I heard, was that they just don’t fancy him and in a time of plenty, they can afford to be fussy. Mills has been hampered by injury in the past but this is a reminder of just how good he can be.
Here come the Aussies, down the steps, to a dry, but empty, Rose Bowl.
This is the ECB’s statement on Azzem Rafiq’s accusations of institutionalised racism at Yorkshire.
“We are deeply troubled to hear of Azeem Rafiq’s experiences and recognise the courage it has taken for him to speak out.
“The ECB welcomes Yorkshire County Cricket Club’s commitment to thoroughly and urgently investigate this case and the wider review of club policies and culture. We will follow these closely and are in contact with the club and with Azeem. We will consider any further ECB steps which may be appropriate.
“Azeem’s story is similar to some of the experiences we have heard about during the Black Lives Matter movement and demonstrates how much work is needed across the game, sport and society as a whole to eradicate racism.
“The ECB is opposed to discrimination of any form and remains committed to making the changes needed to make cricket a game for everyone.’’
England will wear black armbands today in memory of former Northants and England allrounder David Capel, who died yesterday. I’ve got happy memories of watching him on the BBC, a member of those crazy 80’s and early 90s England sides. RIP.
Australia win the toss and will bowl
England play four quicks, Bairstow opens with Buttler, both Banton and Malan get a go, but no place for Billings.
England: Bairstow, Buttler, Malan, Banton, Morgan, Ali, Jordan, T Curran, Archer, Wood, Rashid
Australia: Finch, Warner, Smith, Maxwell, Carey, Stoinis, Agar, Cummins, Starc, Richardson, Zampa
England, of course, come into this game fresh from defeat by Pakistan at Old Trafford just a few days ago, despite Moeen Ali rediscovering his most delicious form.
Aaron Finch and Eoin Morgan make their way to the middle….
I know I’m not the target audience for Sky’s Transfer Centre, but it all seemed to get unnecessarily heated over whether it was Messi 1, Barcelona 0, or the other way round. (He’s staying, by the way.) Maybe this is how it will be at The Hundred draft one day?
And some fascinating insights into the Australian psyche in this piece from Adam Collins.
As far as meaningless white-ball series are concerned, Australia’s 2018 trip to England lives long in the memory. The first time the national side convened since the sandpaper fiasco four months earlier, they were duly annihilated by the world’s top-ranked ODI team – whitewashed five-nil, coughing up a world-record 481 in Nottingham, and then hammered in the sole T20. But more significant than the results was the fact that it was Justin Langer’s first series in charge.
It’s a Friday evening in early September so it must be… the first in a six match white-ball series against Australia. The ultimate digestif from the strange 2020 themed restaurant, where the service starts infinitesimally slow but then arrives at breakneck speed.
The cards have been shuffled and England are strengthened by the return of four multi-format players from the Test bubble: Mark Wood, Jos Buttler, Jofra Archer, and Sam Curran, though Jason Roy (injury) and Ben Stokes (compassionate leave) are not available to pull on the new red and wine kit. Joe Root, of course, didn’t make the cut for the T20s. Yesterday, Eoin Morgan called Jonny Bairstow, Roy and Buttler three of England’s greatest white-ball players and said he would continue opening with Buttler “until we feel it’s not working.” Once Roy is back, those knocking heavily on the dressing-room door, including young Tom Banton, and the more grizzled Dawid Malan, may be in for a long wait. This is a chance to impress.
The Aussies are at full strength, ranked No. 1 in the world in T20s – who could resist a spot of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell, Aaron Finch, and Steve Smith, and on National fish and chip Friday as well.
Did you ask when the two sides last met in white-ball cricket? the World Cup semi final.
Tonight, we’re at Rose Bowl, for the first of three T20 games; later in the month, the whole circus moves to Old Trafford for three ODIs. Grab your vessel of choice – this should be fun.