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The Ashes 2023: England v Australia, first Test, day four – live | Ashes 2023

The Ashes 2023: England v Australia, first Test, day four – live | Ashes 2023
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46th over: England 197-6 (Stokes 35, Moeen 1) Nip and tuck, nip and tuck. Gosh this is a good Test match. Moeen Ali to join Stokes. The hometown lad, could make himself a hero here. Might even do it with an innings of 30. The lead is 204.

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WICKET! Bairstow lbw 20, England 196-6

Lyon does it again! His classic style, the straightening down the line, Bairstow goes down to sweep and misreads the bounce. Hit in front of middle and leg. Erasmus takes as long to give it as Raza did to get his finger up earlier, a long delay. But does. Bairstow reviews, but that ball is going on straight enough to be flush on leg stump, three reds.

45th over: England 196-5 (Stokes 35, Bairstow 20) Frustration growing for Cummins! First gets belted through point, square of a wrong-footed Green, then he gets Bairstow’s nick off a flailing cut and sees it go just by slip. The Hollies Stand is in full voice. Bumper time, decides Cummins, bringing Smith from slip to midwicket. Labuschagne is at a striagther midwicket, Khawaja at mid on, Head at deep square leg. Plus Boland at fine leg. Bairstow evades the first one. Knocks away a single from the second. Stokes blocks. Another over goes for ten runs. This scoring rate is incredible. The lead is 203.

44th over: England 186-5 (Stokes 34, Bairstow 11) This pair still haven’t gone at Lyon. Bairstow defending, back and across. Lyon around the wicket to the right-hander, wanting to turn down the line of the stumps. Reverse sweep, single to deep point. Then Stokes is caught – or so it seems, but it’s a bump ball. Top edge, reverse sweep, looping to Boland at short third, who dives forward and comes up saying he held it cleanly. Which he did, but the umpires check the replay and find it hit ground just under the bat before looping up.

43rd over: England 184-5 (Stokes 33, Bairstow 10) Cummins replacing Boland, and after a couple of sighters, Stokes goes hard. Walks at him to whack one ball through mid on, waits back to flash a top-edged cut behind point. Eight runs. Long on is sent back, joining deep square, fine leg, and deep point. Stokes glances one. Bairstow another. Just the 10 off the over then.

The Edgbaston crowd having fun in the sun.
Photograph: Nick Potts/PA

Updated at 09.42 EDT

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42nd over: England 174-5 (Stokes 24, Bairstow 9) Lyon keeps working. The lead is 180. Australia need to break the partnership. England need at least another 70. Bairstow fiddles down the leg side and misses, but keeps his back foot down as Carey gets across to take. Only score is a Stokes single to start the over.

41st over: England 173-5 (Stokes 23, Bairstow 9) Delicate from Bairstow, reaching for Boland and guiding him just past Green at gully for four. The fates have not been with Boland today, in the way they have on other days. Twice Bairstow miscues badly, hard into the ground trying to wallop through cover. Third time he gets it, but the point sweeper fields.

40th over: England 167-5 (Stokes 22, Bairstow 4) Leading edge from Stokes to mid off, scampers a run. Bairstow seeps one. The singles off Lyon tick over.

To answer Michael Keane’s question, the session times were:
11 to 13:15
13:55 to 16:10
16:10 until presumably 19:10?

Given we can add a rain half hour as well as the usual extra half hour.

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39th over: England 163-5 (Stokes 20, Bairstow 2) Boland from the Pavilion End, getting Bairstow off balance with a ball spearing into the stumps. Keeps it out, just about. Slip and gully waiting. Bairstow thrashes a cut but the deep point saves three. And there is the first big Stokes shot! Doesn’t get it cleanly, charging and thrashing at width, the ball bobbling over cover off the angled blade for two. But he does get the next one, advancing again, taking it on the up, hitting the gap straight of cover. Labuschagne moves over a little. Stokes plays a reverse sweep to the seamer, one run to deep backward point.

38th over: England 155-5 (Stokes 13, Bairstow 1) Lyon to begin from the City End. Steve Smith at slip for Stokes. Short third for the reverse, deep backward point for the cut, cover and extra cover, long off for the lofted shot, mid on, deep midwicket, short fine leg. A sweeper’s field. And Stokes does play the reverse sweep, on the bounce straight to Boland at short third. No run.

As per the old debate, wonder if you need the long off especially, before he’s even tried a big shot. Stokes is anchored to the crease in this over, hit on the pad twice, defending the rest. Another maiden.

We’re back… what will the second session bring?

Barnaby Jenkins. “Putting my son to bed here in Sydney with the cricket on in the background. Quietly singing to myself as I go. Just before lights out, he asks me, ‘Dad, what’s a shit Moeen Ali?’”

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Lunch – England 155 for 5, lead by 162 in the third innings

What a session of cricket. Joe Root started with his foot pressed flat to the floor, as though no time at all has passed since he finished batting on the first day. Pope was blown away early, but Brook went with Root strike for strike. Then Australia found their way back into the contest through Lyon, extracting first Root, then Brook, to go to 493 Test wickets.

England have a lead, and have power in their batting, but have a lot of work to do between Stokes, Bairstow and Moeen. The match beautifully in the balance! Grab a snack.

37th over: England 155-5 (Stokes 13, Bairstow 1) So close, but Bairstow survives! In-ducker from Boland, seam movement, smashes the pad. Umpire Raza takes a long time, then slowly puts the finger up. Contact is high on the pad with some angle in. Looks like it might be clipping the leg bail if anything. And DRS gives Bairstow a green light by about one millimetre, at the top corner of the bail. Would have been an unlucky dismissal had a millimetre been hitting, it looked too high live. Next ball, pad again, appeal again, Raza keeps his finger holstered. Australia have one review left so they don’t chance it. England reach lunch in safety!

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Updated at 08.28 EDT

36th over: England 155-5 (Stokes 13, Bairstow 1) Another quiet one from Lyon. A single to Bairstow to start his scoring day, two blocks from Stokes.

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35th over: England 154-5 (Stokes 13, Bairstow 0) Boland comes back, having switched ends to have the pavilion at his back, and Stokes gives him the charge to deflect four to fine leg. Bairstow follows up by nearly getting run out, charging down and being sent back, beating the throw from point but he’s injured his hand in the process. Did that throw clip his hand? Seems so.

“Enjoying the OBO,” writes David Roche. “Agree that we need specialist third umpires, and the decision on the LBW referral for Lyon to Stokes demonstrates why. If an umpire makes the right decision but for the wrong reason, it is still a bad decision.”

I should clarify, and I’m pretty sure on this but not 100 percent, that the guidelines for DRS give the umpires no latitude. In the same way as there is a set order for looking at each piece of teach, it also says that any movement on the soundwave at the right time must be treated as an edge. Because otherwise the decision-making is too opaque, and the optics for spectators who don’t understand the difference would be too difficult to explain. If so, it’s not the right process, but it’s a compulsory process.

Jonny Bairstow returns to his crease after a near run-out.
Jonny Bairstow returns to his crease after a near run-out. Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images/Reuters

Updated at 08.21 EDT

34th over: England 150-5 (Brook 46, Stokes 9) So it’s Bairstow and Stokes, the Headingley duo, the ones who got that chase moving in 2019. Bairstow defends his first two balls against Lyon to end the over. The lead is 157.

Updated at 08.14 EDT

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WICKET! Brook c Labuschagne b Lyon 46, England 150-5

Oh ho! Do your best Ravi Shastri voice and say, “Against the run of play!” Straightforward stuff really, Brook plays a pull shot at a short ball, doesn’t get the placement or elevation, and although he hits it hard Labuschagne dives to his right at midwicket and takes a very good catch. Five down.

Harry Brook plays ta shot that is caught superbly by Labuschagne.
Harry Brook plays the shot that is caught superbly by Labuschagne. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Updated at 08.11 EDT

33rd over: England 150-4 (Brook 46, Stokes 9) A long delay for a change of ball halfway through the over. Hazlewood gets bounce with the new one, and after Stokes hits it to point he runs down the pitch shaking his hand, it must have jarred. Gets back on strike, then leaves a ball outside off stump. I was joking earlier about Stokes not playing shots, but it is a little odd by the time it’s 9 off 26 balls. He could hit the hammer at any moment, of course.

If you want our round-up of the county champs and the Blast results over the past week, here you go.

32nd over: England 146-4 (Brook 44, Stokes 7) England lead by 151 runs with this pair at the crease and big hitters to come in Bairstow and Moeen. Another hundred runs and they’re in a good spot. Brook punches one run off Lyon to cover. Stokes defends! Then, gets his front leg out of the way and jams a single off leg stump while half falling over.

31st over: England 144-4 (Brook 43, Stokes 6) Yep, eventually we get ball-tracking showing that the Stokes appeal from Lyon was missing off stump. Still, if that had gone to hand off the pad, he would have been given out caught on that evidence. It’s a clear flaw with the system.

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Brooks has another waltz at Hazlewood and skews three runs through cover. Stokes gets a couple more.

30th over: England 137-4 (Brook 39, Stokes 3) A couple of singles, then Stokes survives an lbw referral upstairs. The ball gets under the toe of the bat and hits pad. I thought just outside the line, maybe turning away. The DRS though, says he’s hit it. Which he hasn’t. The disturbance on the soundwave graph is long and low, which is a scrape sound, not an edge. But as so often, the inability to read the technology correctly means the wrong decision is made. Any noise is held to be an edge, even though a qualified sound engineer could tell you what kind of noise it was. Resume the argument for specialist third umpires.

“I’ve just noticed that the forecast for tomorrow has improved, at least for the afternoon. Might England be being a bit more circumspect now that there’s a chance of some play tomorrow after all?”

Right this minute, Richard O’Hagan, they are. Not sure how long it will last.

29th over: England 135-4 (Brook 38, Stokes 2) Twelve balls for one run, Stokes, after blocking the last of the previous over. Hazlewood bowls to Brook, who takes four balls to put Stokes back on strike. England’s captain covers his off stump and drops the ball to backward point, no run. Finally, he charges Hazlewood but gets nothing to hit, can only bunt a run to midwicket.

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28th over: England 133-4 (Brook 37, Stokes 1) Hot stat alert: Carey is now one stumping away from a share of the record for an Ashes Test. Which is four.

Those already there? Bert Oldfield, twice, what a man. From a stretcher-bearer in the First World War trenches to gloving everything that came his way. Affie Jarvis, the cheerful South Australian with the fine moustache. And Jack Blackham, the man who kept Jarvis out of the team for most of his career.

Elevate Carey to that company, and it will be a grand day for lovers of history. You’d like his chances of getting one more from this England team.

Two leg byes and a single from the Lyon over.

Ben Stokes has faced a maiden over

27th over: England 130-4 (Brook 36, Stokes 1) What doing? What are we seeing? Josh Hazlewood has bowled a very respectable over tight on an off stump line, and, well, England’s captain, he just, he blocked it out. I don’t know how else to say it. He defended each ball, solidly, getting forward.

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Is this some new level of mind game? Get them expecting something and then keep changing? Ever twisting and turning? Twirling towards freedom?

The whole ground sits in disbelief.

 Ben Stokes plays a shot as wicketkeeper Alex Carey and Steve Smith of Australia react in the background.
Ben Stokes joins the action. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Updated at 07.31 EDT

26th over: England 130-4 (Brook 36, Stokes 1) This is the real quiz. Stokes to the middle. Five balls to face. And he… defends four and then tucks a single? What’s this?

WICKET! Root st Carey b Lyon 46, England 129-4

He falls! It has been a joyously entertaining morning’s work, but noon has passed and Joe Root’s pumpkin has arrived. He gallops out at Lyon, isn’t to the pitch, faces serious turn, and Carey takes the ball well outside leg stump after it beats the inside edge, and knocks off the bails. Didn’t have a stumping before he went to India earlier this year, Carey, but he has three in this match.

Joe Root is out, off the bowling of Nathan Lyon
Joe Root’s innings is over, four short of a half century. Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images/Reuters

Updated at 08.05 EDT

25th over: England 129-3 (Root 46, Brook 36) We had a later than usual drinks break there because of the extended session. At last, here’s Hazlewood. Had some errors with our block order if you were confused there, sorry. Brook lays into him just as hard. Smokes him through the covers for four!

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24th over: England 121-3 (Root 45, Brook 29) More from Lyon. This is statement batting. Picks off two through point, then clouts four over cover. No one gets an easy time here.

Updated at 07.13 EDT

23rd over: England 113-3 (Root 44, Brook 22) Cummins bowling his seventh over of the spell. A Brook single. Root just keeps out a yorker, looked as good as the Pope one. Cummins goes around the wicket to the right-hander, looking for something different. Root guides a run to deep third.

If you’re interested, Joe Root today has also gone to 21st on the list of Ashes run-scorers, passing The Big Ship, Warwick Armstrong, and gone to 11th on England’s list, passing Kevin Pietersen.

22nd over: England 111-3 (Root 43, Brook 21) Lyon on to bowl, and Brook takes to him immediately! A cut shot through point, a sweep behind square, four runs from each. Two more with another sweep, two with a clip, one more with a normal shot to midwicket. Just the 13 from the over. England have been ruthless this morning.

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21st over: England 98-3 (Root 43, Brook 8) Serious seam movement inwards from Cummins as Brook leaves, the ball bouncing just over his off bail. Cummins drops to his haunches for a second in disbelief. Then fires one past the outside edge as Brook charges and wafts, before staying home and leaving another very close to the off stump. Impressive burst from the bowler. Searching, gets too straight and Brook picks off one run to deep midwicket. A rare quiet over on the scoreboard.

Root has just gone past Richie Richardson into 17th spot for most Test runs against Australia. Currently 2177 at an average of 41.

20th over: England 97-3 (Root 43, Brook 7) First boundary for Brook, picking off a full straight ball from Green through midwicket. Four, then one. Root comes way across his stumps and nearly loses leg, trying to catch up with the ball and missing. Stays leg side of the next ball and glides one.

“Liked the Jonathan Liew piece, while it’s not Father’s Day in this hemisphere,” writes Eamonn Maloney. “It’s indeed so that cricket fans are usually made through their fathers, but often so also is the way they interact with the game. My brother noticed a comment I made on the OBO yesterday which led to a discussion about how dad used to call up the ABC radio’s Grandstand coverage from the rotary phone in the hallway, in a bid to have his (strongish) opinions amplified. Required more patience and commitment in those days but there’s a clear line from the dialing digits to the typing thumbs.”

19th over: England 90-3 (Root 42, Brook 1) Cummins continues, no Hazlewood. Root takes him off the pads to deep midwicket, where Head gets razzed in front of the Hollies sliding across to keep it to two runs. Same dose next ball. Scoring so easily. Then Root tries the scoop again but there’s too much pace from Cummins and the line is straighter, over middle stump. Misses. More luck with conventional play, picking off a full leg-stump error through deep backward for four.

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Matt Dony has been pondering Joe Root too.

“As you eloquently explained yesterday, it’s aa fool’s errand dwelling on ‘what ifs’. If you change one thing, you change everything. But, I do wonder what could have happened had Root stepped down from the captaincy a bit earlier. He is a sensational batter, even more fluid and creative without the (cliche klaxon!) Burden Of Captaincy. My suspicion is that Stokes became captain at the perfect time for him, so any intervening period between an earlier Root abdication and now would have been played in a different style and with a different approach. But surely Root would have flourished whatever. Alas, we’ll never know. We can simply enjoy the now. It’s impossible to know whether it’s the best timeline, but it’s a million miles away from the darkest timeline.”

18th over: England 82-3 (Root 34, Brook 1) Cameron Green is the man for all jobs now. He was at first slip in the previous over, Khawaja out from there. Now he’s bowling ahead of Hazlewood. Is there a problem? Hazlewood was off the field briefly. He’s back on now at fine leg. Seems to be warming up.

Green from the City End. Root slices a single. Harry Brook does likewise. Deep third and deep backward point now for Root, along with a deep square leg and a fine leg. So Green has licence to bounce him? Slip, cover, mid off, mid on, midwicket. Runs anywhere square on the off side, and Root goes there, driving in front of point for two. Then a single square.

WICKET! Pope b Cummins 14, England 77-3

17th over: England 77-3 (Root 30) Finally one goes down! Australia get something back their way, last ball of the over.

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It starts with Cummins to Root, who is taking a few breaths between bursts of freneticism, defending a couple. Cover is open for him, point and mid off now stationed, and he takes a run to deep third. Nathan Lyon fields, then does some bowling warm-ups. He’ll surely be on soon. He comes up to backward point for Pope, and that’s a mistake because Pope cuts fine, right where Lyon had just been, for four. Cummins zeroes in on off stump and Pope stays behind it.

But Pope isn’t expecting the fullest pitch. That’s the perfect yorker, right on the line, a sharp angle in at the stumps from wider on the crease, and it sneaks under the toe of the bat to flatten off stump. Brilliant fast bowling.

Ollie Pope turns to see his off stump knocked over
Ollie Pope bites the dust. Photograph: Paul Greenwood/Shutterstock

Updated at 07.23 EDT

16th over: England 72-2 (Root 29, Pope 10) Interesting. Cummins is usually quick with a bowling change if someone is getting tonked. But perhaps he thinks that doing so with Boland now would be some sort of defeat. Boland gets another over, and tucks up Root with two really good balls, before erring in width and being slashes for four! Leaning away from the ball is Root to make more room, such a shot. Then plays a crisp straight drive but mid on is able to stop it. Glides another single. The sun is shining. He can do whatever he likes. It must feel so good to be Joe Root right now.

15th over: England 67-2 (Root 24, Pope 10) Cummins said before the match about that there would be times when England’s approach had him under pressure as a captain, and said there was nowhere he would rather be. This is the moment. He bowls to Pope, who takes two more runs through square leg. Green back in the gully for Pope, the cordon applauding a decent ball. Making a point of keeping their own spirits up. A drive on the bounce to cover. Only two men out, deep square and fine leg. Sun shining strongly now. Pope strokes a drive for three, straight of Labuschagne again, who is lurking between cover and mid off trying to be both. Root pinches one more and keeps the strike.

“I hope you’re ready for a day of excesses!” emails Tony White. “I can’t wait to hear from the OBOers who failed their Bazball GSCE’s trying to understand JR’s rocking start to the day!”

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14th over: England 61-2 (Root 23, Pope 5) This was always the question: would Boland be susceptible to a Bazzing? He overpitches here and Root drives him perfectly through extra cover. Then opens the face and dabs so fine that it goes on the bounce to Smith at second slip. Green is back closer to the action now, backward point. Head is down at deep third. Labuschagne at cover. No mid off. Then a mid on, midwicket, forward square leg, long leg, so Boland can target the stumps. He doesn’t, and Root gets the glide away for a run this time.

Pope advances at Boland and hits that gap at mid off for four! His first runs of the innings. Boland responds with a better length and draws a rare defensive shot. Then a single to point.

“I see Root has done that thing where he unobtrusively races to 20 odd runs without doing anything flashy,” writes Martin Lloyd. “I imagine once he’s in he’ll start to play some shots…”

13th over: England 51-2 (Root 18, Pope 0) Off strike with a leg bye goes Pope, so he still hasn’t scored but gets Root back into the action. Root is happy with a single tucked off his leg stump. More leg byes for Pope, four of them to fine leg. Cummins hasn’t got his line right. Australia, dare I say, rattled early.

12th over: England 45-2 (Root 17, Pope 0) Too straight for thee! Scott Boland strays onto the pads and Root whips him through midwicket with elan. Lovely. Then Boland gets his line right, and Root plays his reverse again for six. Gets plenty of that one, over the keeper who is up to the stumps. It soars away!

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He enjoys it so much that he plays it again, next ball. Doesn’t get a full piece, skews the ball flatter, but just over slip and away for four.

That takes Green out of the cordon, Australia putting their tallest man back on the rope at deep third. So Root taps the ball into the gap at point for two runs.

Sensational batting.

Joe Root scoops a ball from Boland for six runs
Joe Root gets this one right and scoops a ball from Boland for six. Photograph: Graham Hunt/ProSports/Shutterstock

Updated at 06.10 EDT

11th over: England 29-2 (Root 1, Pope 0) Ummmm, ok? That’s one way to start the day. Cummins bowls length, and Root tries the reverse scoop over deep third without having seen a delivery yet. Misses it by a mile, and it misses his stumps. Settles for a single to fine leg a couple of balls later.

Only three balls in the over, finishing the one that was abandoned yesterday.

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Here we go.

“Appreciate the blog from Perth (Australia),” writes the helpfully specific Brendan Crozier. “Any reason why play has not started early today, given the time lost yesterday?”

They don’t do that here, Brendan. The theory is that because the evenings are light, you can play late. But that only works if the sky is clear. There’s also an old argument that it’s not fair to start play early because people have planned their arrival time and would miss that part of play. But if the overs aren’t bowled, they miss that part of play anyway.

But, yes. There is never an early start in England, there is time added to the end of the day. And we’ll have 15 minutes added to each of the first two sessions before the breaks, too.

Now, here’s the kind of email I can get behind. From Dennis Johns.

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“Morning Geoff. Nice to see you here this morning, looking forward to the Aussie perspective on an absolute snorter of a Test match. But that’s not why I’m writing. I was reading Dead Lions (spy novel, part of the Slow Horses series) by Mick Heron this morning and found a reference to the OBO in it! We’re told that a character called Harper ‘emails the Guardian’s over-by-over cricket blog on a regular basis’. It was published 2013 – did we know this? Does the OBO get a shout out in any other novels? Enjoy the day’s play.”

Here’s a call out to the OBO readership. Another question, do we have a collective name for such? What is the Beyhive of the OBO?

Drop us a line

Of course you can send me an email through the day, or get in touch with Twitter, for thoughts large and small. Have at it.

I’ve just settled on an executive decision for today though. Most of the emails already have been about Robinson and Khawaja and sledging, and I appreciate that people have views on it, but I’d rather not sidetrack the coverage this morning into more back and forth on a well tilled field.

It will be the same discussion we’ve had time and again: some people are all for it, some say it’s the understandable by-product of competition, and some find it diminishes their enjoyment of the game.

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Robinson has extensive form, and you would think that someone with his history might engage in more thought or tread more carefully. But he doesn’t, and hasn’t, so most likely won’t. There’s not much point hashing it all over.

And last on our list of links, one of the great mysteries of the OBO. I am only its servant, so who am I to question?

Behold, the Test Match Special overseas listening link.

Lastly, we’ve had a huge response overnight to this one from Jonathan Liew, who arrived yesterday with a pensive air on Father’s Day. “I’m going to write about my dad,” he said when it came time to discuss column topics. And, what a piece.

This is a top piece from Barney Ronay, capturing the tension of old and new, and what can be impressively irritating about Bazball for anyone not on the inside of it.

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If you’re the kind of person who likes a podcast wrap while walking to the ground or making a sandwich, there’s Day 3 on The Final Word with me and Adam Collins. Here.

Australia's Steve Smith before play on day four.
Australia’s Steve Smith before play on day four. Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images/Reuters

Updated at 05.28 EDT

I wrote about the shifting moods of an English summer and an English Test match, which is still fitting given that we’ve seen at least three of those moods in the last few hours.

And here is Simon’s Ashes Diary, throwing together the vignettes into some semi-coherent whole. Like making a quiche.

Once that’s done, check in with Ollie Robinson’s press conference via Simon Burnton. Played a few shots last night, did Robinson.

Let’s play our favourite game: Read What We Wrote on The Guardian Yesterday!

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I suggest you start with Ali Martin’s match report. Be informed.

As ever for England, Joe Root is the key. Played like a dream on the first day, made his 30th career ton, and he will resume on 0 not out. So nearly could have been out three times yesterday, a couple of lbw shouts and a caught behind appeal that missed by a millimetre. It was a tough time to bat. This morning, not so much.

England are already on the field, in a big circle at the southern end doing keepy-uppy warm-ups. Some Australian players are on the eastern side of the ground doing cricket warm-ups. Cricket? Nerds.

Good morning from Edgbaston.
Good morning from Edgbaston. Photograph: Graham Hunt/ProSports/Shutterstock

Updated at 05.29 EDT

Preamble

Geoff Lemon

Geoff Lemon

Hello from Edgbaston! The sun is out, and the forecast is set fair, though there is still plenty of scattered cloud about and was the occasional cold blast of wind as we made our way into the ground. It should, overall, be a good batting day for England, but the forecast for tomorrow is awful. So, if this is the last reliable day, what does the new England philosophy demand?

They’re 28 for 2, leading by 35 runs. They have, in theory, 98.3 overs of play today. So do they go hell for leather for two sessions and then throw Australia in? We’ll see just how Baz the Ball might be over the day.

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Geoff Lemon at Edgbaston (now) and Rob Smyth

Published: 2023-06-19 14:29:13

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