Sat, Dec 25, 2021 23:32 GMT
First published on Sat Dec 25, 2021 10:36 PM GMT
11:32 p.m. GMT23: 32
Pat Cummins: “Feels like a bowling day. There is good grass cover on the wicket. Doesn’t that mean we’ll beat them, but we think we’re good at bowling.
About Scott Boland: “He was a skilled artist. He plays very, very well on this wicket. We noted him and a couple of injuries that made the decision easier. He’s a great option for us. We are lucky to have it.
11:31 p.m. GMT23: 31
11:24 p.m. GMT23: 24
Theo in Colchester is running late and used his time well. “With a delayed throw I think it’s time to share my theory about the sympathy of this Australian team that has leaked since the World Cup. As an England fan, it’s impossible to overlook the fact that the current group of Australian Fast Bowlers are all disturbingly personable: Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood are consistently adorable, and Richardson, Neser &, now Boland, all came across very nicely. The batters, on the other hand, are essentially a list of people I’d love to see with a few herrings removed. Smith & Warner obviously, Labuschagne probably just because he’s a little too good. And the ODI team brings more examples, especially Finch. So the question is, where does that leave us with Nathan Lyon? I can’t quite figure out where weirdos fit.
Some thoughts of my own. Isn’t that true all over the world? Seam bowlers are better, nicer, prettier, more learned, more charming, more honest and more courageous than thugs *. I’m surprised you don’t like Aaron Finch, I thought he always came across well with non-Aussies. Nathan Lyon … try this for size.
11:20 p.m. GMT23: 20
“I see you tucked the video of Brett Lee against Piers Morgan in our stockings just to be safe. A fine opportunity for me to come all over Bah Humbug and go full Scrooge. Like everyone else, I laughed myself sick about it back then (even Piers’ mother struggles with her gag reflex when it appears under the mistletoe). Then I read what the real Gandalf, Richard Hadlee, had to say about it, and I burned and twisted with shame. The failure of Hadlee’s sense of humor was total and delightful. Armored in manly decency, he made me (and old Brett) look like terrible little fellows. For the White Kiwi wizard, it was a hideous failure for a top athlete to risk the health of a middle-aged amateur, however disgusting. The difference between a man and a boy hadn’t been shown to me in such detail since I was six years old. I recommend his text. It will make your nads pull back right away. That means, if someone has a video of them peeing in their coffee, I’m for it.
11:16 p.m. GMT23: 16
11:15 p.m. GMT23:15
England entered the Melbourne Test 2-0 during the 1998-99 Ashes Tour and managed to claim one of the most satisfying victories in Mark Ramprakash’s career.
What England needs at the time is that some players find this inner steel. I think they have it all. The squad consists of some strong personalities – Ben Stokes, Root, Dawid Malan â ???? who are quite capable of asserting themselves like Stewart in 1998. On paper the gap between the sides isn’t that big, but if England doesn’t find the inner strength to come out and compete, the Aussies will continue to put them down.
23:11 GMT23: 11
On the subject of England recovered from a 2-0 deficit with three players to play, the seniors made the right noises before the test.
11:07 p.m. GMT23: 07
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« As Elton John once sang: » It’s a sad, sad situation that is getting more and more absurd « . It would be a true miracle if England were to recapture the ballot box, the change in attitude and talent required to win three times in a row surely exceeds it. When miracles are to occur there are many more worthy reasons to which they should be applied. Field mistakes and giving away wickets should have been ironed out over the summer and it will be interesting to see if the pressure management has put in over the past few days brings anything. At least one could then rightly say that a certain learning is taking place.
All relevant points. However, I think the most striking thing is simple: that this cohort of Australians is better at cricket than their English rivals. This is magnified under Australian conditions. Aggravated by injuries and lack of preparation for the tourists. I feel like a lot of the « roots need to be in order to do this » ???? Analysis and heated discussions about application or concentration are mostly performative and largely empty. What really needs to be resolved is why this English team is so ill-equipped for this challenge; repeated. Until then, the incidental complaints about field work and captain leadership will be little more than ignoring the wind.
10:58 p.m. GMT22: 58
Pass the time drizzling around with Simon Burton’s look at the Boxing Day Tests of yesteryear.
The Boxing Day Test has become, in the words of Mark Butcher, « an important part of cricket folklore, » but it was a surprisingly new addition to the calendar. England and Australia first met on that day in 1950, when the second test resumed on December 26th after two days off. The following year the West Indies themselves played test cricket on Christmas Day, which one tourist described as « sacrilegious ». and was not much more popular with the home side. « I’ve never played at Christmas in my life and I don’t have to like to do it now either », ??? said an unnamed Australian.
22:55 GMT22: 55
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10:54 p.m. GMT22: 54
Let’s go @JPHowcroft. 4 changes, partly in hope, maybe in despair. My twin brother Dave is underground for 2 days and handles it from the locals. With drizzle in the air, if you won the throw, would you be bowling SAFELY? I think Wood can have a lot to say here. Hopefully.
Good luck to Dave. Being out in the G isn’t always the most relaxing place for an Englishman to be out in the middle of an afternoon session. (I speak from my own experience.)
As for the litter. Yes, you’d assume it was bowl first, but a wet outfield may require a second guess. I’m not sure if it matters much to Cummins, but Root really has to attack, and with such a poor hit order around him, his only path to victory may be to get in early with the new ball.
22:51 GMT22: 51
There has been a lot of talk about the pitch here at MCG, but – Melbourne is Melbourne – the start of the game is threatened by drizzle. The pitch is covered only ten minutes before the throw, while some rain is blowing over the arena. It was beautiful midsummer in Victoria for a week or so, but the conditions today are cool, with a blanket of cloud enveloping the CBD, and some of them heavy enough to hit the ground.
22:43 GMT22: 43
To start with, some sad news after the announcement of the death of former English all-rounder, captain, coach, selection player and self-proclaimed supremo Ray Illingworth.
10:36 p.m. GMT22: 36
Hello everyone and welcome to a live coverage of the Boxing Day Ashes Test. We’ll be at Melbourne Cricket Ground at 10.30am local time (11.30pm UK).
Hope you are all well fed, rested and ready for one of the most important days on the sports calendar. As Cliff Richard sang, it’s a time to give (your wicket off to show during a blockathon), a time to get (dropped), a time to forgive (Jos Buttler), and a time to forget (Joe Root wins the litter in Brisbane). Now let’s enjoy the good we see.
That includes the selection of Scott Boland, only the second Indigenous Australian man to be awarded a baggy green, as well as the prospect of around 70,000 fans in the MCG who one of the most incredible spectators in the sport. There is England’s last chance to correct some mistakes in the struggle to recover the ashes. Pat Cummins is back. Just like Jonny Bairstow. And Zak Crawley. So put the wrapping paper in the recycling, put your selection box on the table and indulge in one of the most beautiful days (or nights) of the year.
I’ll be back with more shortly, but if you want to join in, you can reach me via email or twitter (@JPHowcroft).
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