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The Ashes: England v Australia, first Test heads for thrilling climax after delay – live | Ashes 2023

The Ashes: England v Australia, first Test heads for thrilling climax after delay – live | Ashes 2023
Key events

Right, lots of people getting back to me regarding Philip Gillibrand’s query (46th over).

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Here’s a good one, pointed out by Geoff Wignall: opener Desmond Haynes was the last man out in both West Indies innings against New Zealand at Dunedin in February 1980. Ended up a one-wicket win for the Black Caps after Haynes made 55 and 105 in a low-scorer.

One game finishes, another begins. The women’s Ashes gets underway on Thursday with a five-day Test at Trent Bridge. Buzzing for it.

Here’s Megan Maurice on Australia, who will be without the great Meg Lanning.

Tea: Australia 183-5 – 98 more runs required

59th over: Australia 183-5 (Khawaja 56, Green 22) Tidy from Root, who usually likes bowling from around the wicket but is going from over, trying to spin one through Green’s gate. A maiden, and that’s tea. England won the first half of the session, Australia claimed the second.

Australia need 98 to win.

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58th over: Australia 183-5 (Green 22, Khawaja 56) Robinson, wide of the crease, angles the ball in, scream scrambled, and beats the forward prod of Green. A beauty, but no joy. An attempted yorker from Robinson turns into a low full toss, but Green can only steal one off it.

Fran Collins has seen enough: “Can only envisage one result now, sadly. Australian victory. England need a couple of wickets quickly.”

It’s into double-figures. Australia need 98 to win.

57th over: Australia 181-5 (Khawaja 55, Green 21) Joe Root’s in and gets some pretty sharp turn into Green. Just one off it.

Good point from Leandro: “The question is, when do we start panicking that Australia may win it? Is 210-5 too late to start? Should I begin straightaway?”

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It’s been a good 20 minutes or so for Australia so, yeah, I reckon you can go ahead and start sweating.

Australia need 100 runs to win.

56th over: Australia 180-5 (Khawaja 54, Green 21) Anderson flies in and delivers a back-of-the-hand slower ball that Khawaja helps on its way for a single. Green then finishes the over with a thumping drive to the long-off boundary for four.

Will Dean sounds a bit worried: “One can’t help but wonder if Uzzy will manage a very similar feat to that of Ben Stokes at Headingly 2019…. Perish the thought!”

Right then, I’m going to start the countdown.

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Australia need 101 runs to win.

55th over: Australia 173-5 (Khawaja 52, Green 17) Moeen floats one up to Green who drives hard and picks up three after Anderson fails to stop the ball at cover. Khawaja receives a long-hop but can only sweep it to the man in the deep for one.

54th over: Australia 167-5 (Green 13, Khawaja 50) Green, starting to look a little more comfortable, punches Anderson nicely off the back-foot to pick up two. He grabs a single off the last ball of the over, too.

53rd over: Australia 164-5 (Green 10, Khawaja 50) Moeen is being allowed here to do what he said he couldn’t: hold up an end. Just one run off it.

Fifty for Usman Khawaja

52nd over: Australia 163-5 (Green 9, Khawaja 50) Khawaja picks up a couple to bring up a half-century, following up on his first-innings ton. What a Test match he’s had after two difficult tours of England in 2013 and 2019.

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Here’s a suggestion from Robin Hazlehurst: “So if Uzzy Khawaja is playing the diametric opposite of Bazball with his defensive slow scoring, shouldn’t it also have a fun name? How about Uzball?”

I think he’s just playing, like, normal Test cricket, right?

Usman Khawaja reaches his fifty. Eventually. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images
Updated at 11.16 EDT

51st over: Australia 161-5 (Khawaja 48, Green 9) Two off Moeen’s over.

Stat bomb: My OBO colleague Tim de Lisle points out that Stuart Broad has the best strike rate in the match, beating Nathan Lyon. It’s been a terrific effort from the quick who I, prior to the game, didn’t have in my England XI (I went for Wood). He’s still proving people wrong.

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50th over: Australia 159-5 (Green 7, Khawaja 48) Green drives well through the covers to pick up two from Anderson. Brendon McCullum has his feet up by the dressing room and, as ever, looks very relaxed.

49th over: Australia 156-5 (Green 4, Khawaja 48) Full toss from Moeen and Khawaja can breathe easy – he sweeps away for four. The left-hander picks up two more off the next ball. Nearly a howler from the batter, trying to flick Moeen away only to pop up a leading edge – but the ball doesn’t carry to mid-on. Then he tries to rock back and cut but misses completely.

48th over: Australia 150-5 (Khawaja 42, Green 4) Khawaja clips Anderson away for one after seeing off two dots. Green continues to resist.

Usman Khawaja ekes out two more runs.
Usman Khawaja ekes out two more runs. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Updated at 11.00 EDT

47th over: Australia 149-5 (Khawaja 41, Green 4) Moeen continues, and Green shows off his forward defence. You still feel that Australia still need to go after Moeen despite that wicket – they haven’t had any success against the quicks today, and they really need a bit of a push now, just a few boundaries to get this chase properly going. Just one off the over.

“Taha it’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen,” says Kim Thonger. “Australia collapse to 199 for 9 after tea, and then Lyon and Hazlewood successfully block everything for two hours until the close. Result, a draw. I’ll stake your reputation on it.”

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46th over: Australia 144-5 (Khawaja 40, Green 4) The lean, mean (he actually seems to be a lovely young man) Cameron Green is out there with Khawaja now. Anderson returns to test out the big all-rounder’s defence, and gets a couple to sneak past the bat. And then an outside-edge! But it stays low and runs away for four.

Philip Gillibrand asks: “The tweet from Alison Mitchell [see below] about how long Khawaja has been out on the field begs the question whether any cricketer has been out on the field for the whole of a test match i.e. has any opening batsman ever carried his bat in both innings and fielded for two complete opposition innings?”

“If so, he would have earned his match fee!”

Anyone got an answer? I’m rather occupied.

45th over: Australia 143-5 (Khawaja 39, Green 0) Moeen Ali is just a box-office cricketer, isn’t he? Those first three balls were no good, really, and then he just gets it right outta nowhere.

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WICKET! Head c Root b Moeen 16 (Australia 143-5)

Right then, this is very interesting. Moeen has the ball, and he’s going to test out that finger. A poor first ball from the offie, short and smacked away by Head for four. Head then cuts away for a couple. The batter then gets a thickish edge that runs away for another four, despite Broad’s best efforts to stop it at third man. Moeen finally gets one right, tossed up outside off that Head edges away. AND THEN THE WICKET! Moeen tosses it up, gets sharp turn and Head hangs back, and gets an edge that goes to Root at slip. Oh Moeen, that is magical, that’s why you’re here – what a story!

Moeen Ali gets Travis Head for 16!
Moeen Ali gets Travis Head for 16! Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Updated at 10.36 EDT

44th over: Australia 133-4 (Head 6, Khawaja 39) Broad continues after the break and goes short (shock) to Head, who swings hard and gets something on it to pick up four. Another bumper follows and Head ducks. The batter then cuts hard, but straight to Robinson at cover. A yorker follows – Broad showing off all the tricks, trying everything, and Head is still struggling to find the meat of the bat. A pull shot then goes straight to the fielder, but he does clip one off the hips for one to finish the over.

“Welcome to the fun Taha,” writes John Sims. “I’ve been following England tests this way since before my twins (now 19) were born here in New Jersey, and their early nurdling sounds were reminiscent of the great I Ron Bell’s batting. England’s approach has been a revelation – my first test was at Edgbaston in the early 70’s when I walked there with my father and great uncle. The early declaration makes it great entertainment and a real thinker’s conundrum: would I do that? So much better than the terror of failing we’ve had for decades.

“Ben – I have a meeting with the COO in 45 minutes. Please whittle them out by then.” Might have to keep the notifications on.

43rd over: Australia 128-4 (Head 1, Khawaja 39) Robinson isn’t giving anything away. Maiden. Drinks, and England will be pleased with what they’ve pulled off so far. A wicket and no real aggression from Australia. Or is that more frustrating? Surely they want them to play a few shots to invite something silly. Maybe that’ll come soon. Surely we’re not on for a draw, right? Ah man, my mind’s scrambled.

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So far Khawaja has been out in the middle for all but 3.3 overs of this entire match – those overs were the remainder of Aus 1st inns after he was out #Ashes #BBCCricket @bbctms

— Alison Mitchell (@AlisonMitchell) June 20, 2023

42nd over: Australia 128-4 (Khawaja 39, Head 1) Head finally gets off strike, pulling away to fine leg for one. Khawaja drives nicely but hits it straight to one of the fielders at cover. Broad oversteps, but Australia don’t seem to be going anywhere at the moment. The bowler, 163 Tests in, remains relentless – heart to go with skill – and he finishes with a yorker that Khawaja toe-edges for one. Oooph, he’s got away with that one. This is thrilling.

Travis Head has a wry smile for Ollie Robinson.
Travis Head has a wry smile for Ollie Robinson. Photograph: Ashley Western/Colorsport/Shutterstock

Updated at 10.20 EDT

41st over: Australia 125-4 (Head 0, Khawaja 38) Khawaja is playing a game of patience, waiting on the bad balls. Unfortunately for him, the bad balls don’t seem to be coming. He’s added four so far to his overnight total.

Afternoon to Simon McMahon: “I think the only thing worse than following the nail biting climax of an Ashes Test at work is not following the nail biting climax of an Ashes Test at work. Been torture waiting on play to start. Now that it has, let’s hope we get a result. Though who will be celebrating is anybody’s guess I reckon. A tied Test, maybe..?”

Interested to know how many people have opted to WFH today…

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40th over: Australia 123-4 (Khawaja 38, Head 0) Broad is bowling a lovely spell, pushing the ball away from Khawaja from over the wicket. The left-hander isn’t falling for it, refusing to poke and prod for the outside edge. A leg-bye for one gets Khawaja off strike, and Broad thunders in a short ball to Head. He’s still on 0 after 11 balls.

39th over: Australia 122-4 (Khawaja 38, Head 0) Robinson is in for his first bowl of the day, and Khawaja clips him away for one. The right-armer gets a bit of shape away from Head, who is still searching for one off the middle of the bat.

38th over: Australia 121-4 (Khawaja 37, Head 0) Travis Head, the aggressor, is in. He will surely play his shots and with the nightwatcher gone, we’re into a proper battle now. Edgbaston is beginning to roar a bit louder, and Broad has the momentum. Back of a length first up, and Head gets behind it. Broad continues to bang ‘em in, and the left-hander resists until he tries to pull the last ball of the over. Nothing comes of it.

“To satisfy narrative tension, England should wait until the new ball is due to wipe off the final three wickets,” says John Starbuck. How’s your ticker?

WICKET ! Boland c Bairstow b Broad 20 (Australia 121-4)

Broad into Boland, and that means more bumper action. Boland gets out of the way of the first one pretty easily. But then the fuller one and HE’S GONE! Swings in, full, and Boland nicks off to give Bairstow the catch. Six more to go for England.

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Stuart Broad celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Australia's Scott Boland.
Out! Stuart Broad gets the nightwatchman for 20. Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images/Reuters

Updated at 10.01 EDT

37th over: Australia 121-3 (Boland 20, Khawaja 37) More runs for Australia as Boland picks up four leg-byes off Anderson. A shout for catch as Bairstow holds on down the leg side, but the ball came off Boland’s pad, not bat. Wide from Anderson and Boland cuts hard for one.

Also, this is magnificent:

36th over: Australia 116-3 (Boland 19, Khawaja 37) Sharp bumper from Broad to Boland, who does well to duck out of the way. Another short ball follows – but Boland does well to ride and guide it behind square on the leg side for one. Khawaja’s on strike but Broad sticks to the same plan – he sends another bouncer in, whistling past the opener’s helmet. A clip to fine leg for one follows.

Fuller from Broad to Boland, who has a little poke outside off, but gets nothing on it. The right-hander is resolute, though, and picks a ball off his pads for one.

Scott Boland ducks a short ball rom Stuart Broad.
Scott Boland ducks a short ball rom Stuart Broad. Photograph: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 09.46 EDT

35th over: Australia 113-3 (Boland 17, Khawaja 36) Anderson to Khawaja again, and it’s quiet. Six dots, and that makes it just one run from the last three overs. Pressure building.

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34th over: Australia 113-3 (Khawaja 36, Boland 17) One keeping a bit low from Broad, but Boland gets behind it. One then tails back into the right-hander, who brings out a leave (remember those?). Boland then cuts hard, but Ollie Pope stops it at gully.

33rd over: Australia 113-3 (Boland 17, Khawaja 36) Oops. Misfield from Ollie Robinson at midwicket helps Boland get off strike. Anderson gets some pretty-lookin’ outswing going against Khawaja. And then a play and miss outside off from the batter, which fires up Edgbaston.

“G’day Taha.” G’day Jack Faine.

“This test and its fifth day provides such fertile terrain for the unfolding of so many different narratives – it’s hard to know where to look! For me, I’ll be looking to Usman Khawaja and Moeen Ali, both with such great stories of careers resurrected, who both hold an opportunity today to win the match for their respective countries. Here’s hoping for an even contest to keep us all entranced to the end.”

Beautifully put. I’ve absolutely loved the Khawaja story over the last 18 months and, well, Mo, how can you not love Mo. Hope that finger’s OK.

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32nd over: Australia 112-3 (Boland 16, Khawaja 36) Broad to the nightwatcher Boland, who manages to pick up three with an edge down to third man. Bit of swing away from Khawaja for the quick. The opener – whose bat looks well massive at the moment – sees off the rest.

Stuart Broad is getting some movement off the pitch.
Stuart Broad is getting some movement off the pitch. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Updated at 09.30 EDT

31st over: Australia 109-3 (Boland 13, Khawaja 36) Anderson v Khawaja to kick things off. The left-hander blocks one, leaves another, blocks again and then inside-edges for a couple. Two more dots to finish. It’s already very tense.

Australia need 174 more runs. England need seven wickets. Let’s gooooooooo

Chris Drew writes in: “Before we get too far into ‘drop Brook/bring in Foakes/YJB to open’, there is another aspect that has to be considered And it has a direct implication. Bowling.

“We don’t know fully yet how Ben’s knee holds up. How much will he be able to bowl? That impacts on who you bring in as a bowler (Mark Wood?). Do we need another bowler, and Stokes only plays as a batter?

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“These Ashes are as much about ‘the Battle of Ben’s Knee’ as anything, as it affects the whole balance of the team.”

Dropping Brook? Who suggested that – what is happening to the discourse?!?! Anyway, let’s not get too far ahead – as Bazball tells us, just look at what’s in front of you. And we’ve got a thriller on here – let’s get going!

Kim Thonger is looking on the bright side:

“This seems an opportune moment to point out that I don’t think anyone has thrown into the OBE this test, the Boycottian cliché, ‘add two wickets to the score’ to get a truer understanding of the direction the game might take.

“I’m therefore throwing it in now.”

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Jimmy A has his say:

Thanks Dan! Oh boy, this is exciting/nervy/joyous/brilliant/very exciting/too exciting/ermahgawd.

How do we see this going? You can’t help but think about Edgbaston ’05. That was the thing that got me into this silly sport, and I really hope today does the same for some other eight-year-old watching. I’ll be here all the way till the close – keep me company and let me know how you’re watching/listening/reading/feeling.

Daniel Gallan

Daniel Gallan

Alrighty folks. Not long to go but my day is done. Sincerely, that was one of my best shifts at the OBO wheel. You’ve all been brilliant!

Loved the chat about mental health and how Bazball has served as a balm. The Foakes/Bairstow debate will continue to twist and turn and of course the nickname banter had me giggling.

I hope you enjoy the cricket and keep the chat alive as the excellent Taha takes over. You’re in safe hands.

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Til next time…

InzaDan-ul-Haq.

You know, this is a really good idea…

Theory…

If Boland gets out, Aus should send in another nightwatchman.
They have a long tail. Try and get said next batter (Cummins, Lyon) in and bat time. Hardest time to bat will be first 10 overs. Any extra runs are freebies. Eng will hate it.

Big boys will bring it home.

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— Tom Decent (@tomdecent) June 20, 2023

“Hi Dan, Thanks for the fantastic coverage. It’s been a wonderful Test and what odds on an England victory by two runs?”

It’s been fun, Tom Keil. Hope you enjoy the actual cricket in a bit.

“It’s also been a Test that’s largely proved Bazball will hold up against the Aussies. The one area of the team that needs to be scrutinised, is Bairstow keeping wicket. Bazball is fundamentally about creating heavy momentum from the outset. The batsman all bat like they are on 150, but from ball one. And England set fields like they are 500 ahead, regardless of the actual score. It’s partly worked so well because it rips up the traditional cricket notion that pressure has to be built over long periods of time. Bazball yanks the momentum to England from the opening ball of each day, and it’s hard for opposition teams to cope with it.

“But nothing kills momentum faster than dropped catches and missed stumpings. Foakes barely ever makes a mistake and so the pressure is never released by him. Bairstow has missed too many opportunities in this Test, and every time he does the Aussies grow a little bit taller. For me, if Bairstow plays it has to be as a pure batsman, and the choice is between him and Brook at 5.”

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England favourites?

67 overs to play. Anyone? My instinct says England – a lot of runs to go, and they only need a couple of mistakes. If not, we’ll see something special. #Ashes

— Geoff Lemon Sport (@GeoffLemonSport) June 20, 2023

Wet outfield. This is a good spot from one of the keener observers in the game. How will a wet outfield impact the bowlers? Will it make batting easier? I guess the scorecard will tell us all.

Tells you that the surface underneath is still not completely dry. Both Scott Boland and Alex Carey have rested their bats on a pair of gloves rather than directly on the ground #Ashes pic.twitter.com/HI6rZiCa0F

— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) June 20, 2023

Revised conditions

They’ll try to get 67 overs in – 52 plus the last hour to squeeze in 15 if needed.

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Tea is now at 4:30pm BST/ 1:30am AEST and they can go until 7pm BST/4am AEST.

Updated at 08.53 EDT

“Great point on how the dressing room reacts to the first person getting dropped,” says Philip Ward.

“Feels a bit like that movie The Beach. Right now, we’re in the bit before Leo gets kicked out. Sounds like utopia until it isn’t.

Derek Sutherland writes in from a gorgeous part of the world:

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“Hi Dan, loving the OBO (as ever), and enjoying tracking the test match vicariously. Really frustrating to see you’ve lost a session today (it’s sweltering here in the Peloponnese, you could have had some of our sunshine if you had asked nicely).

“My question – it’s a beautifully balanced test (or at least it was with a full day’s play available), but any guess how this might have played out if the Aussies had won the coin toss?

“Winning the toss can be close to decisive at times in England – would Australia have batted for two full days and racked up 600 before declaring at tea on day 2?”

Cummins said he would have batted first and we know that they wouldn’t have been as aggressive, nor would they have declared with a set batter not-out overnight and on a ton.

Peter Hicks calls me out!

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Hi Daniel. With great respect this is a stupid thing to say: We’re getting some cricket! Plenty of time to get a result. Go make yourself some food. Get comfy. Tell your family to leave you alone. Not long now.

Instead, tell your family to gather round the tellybox and watch something that could very well be spectacular and memorable. Involve them, encourage them to enjoy cricket. Welcome new members to the cricketing family.

Right you are Peter! Let me unequivocally retract my previous comment (will even amend as it’s a key event). Thanks for keeping me honest.

Every now and then I get a letter that needs no editing and should be posted in full. First it was Simon in Cornwall who opened up about his own struggles with mental health and how Bazball has helped him through a tough time.

Now it’s Barry Eyre who has sent in this lovely ode to the game, to fathers and to rain:

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“As I sit in our holiday cottage in Northumberland with my six month old rwin grandkids, waiting for the rain to subside and surreptitiously checking news from Edgbaston, I read Jonny Liews piece as recommended by your good self.

I must admit to quickly wiping away a tear, thinking of my own dad and my introduction to the beautiful game. (Or both beautiful games).

They say it takes a village, and for me it was a village cricket team. In the 60’s and 70’s my dad and his friends were the heart and soul of our village cricket team.

Saturdays and Sundays, from the age of I cant remember when, me, and a bunch of other offspring, would go with our dads to cricket played in glamorous arenas like Sileby, Mountsorrel, Heather, Ibstock, Cropston.

We learnt by watching. Wandering around the boundary. Picking up an old ball and having a knockabout on the outfield. Looking for the match ball in the hedge when someone despatched the opponents fast bowler to cow corner. Did the sun always shine? My memory tells me it did…

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School holidays were spent glued to the BBC and Jim Laker’s sparse commentary , or the lyrical John Arlott on Test Match Special. Or better still, TV pictures with radio commentary. In the red hot summer of 76 I spent most days watering the square to my dads instructions as he worked in one of the local factories.

So Jonny is right; it’s not just about Bazball. It’s about all those subtleties, those shared experiences, those little moments from my past that keep me checking the score when no-one else is looking. Cricketing dads.

About 10 years before he died, I took my dad to an Ashes test at Trent Bridge. We watched David Gower complete an elegant century and, in an unspoken way, I felt I’d payed back all that cricket education and special moments we shared on the cricket fields of North Leicestershire. Althougjh I don’t know what he would have made of Bazball,..

And it’s still raining here.”

Hat tip to you Baz.

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To Starc or not to Starc?

“Hi Daniel “Eight-Pints-to-the” Gallan (sic),”

“Any thoughts on the Aussie’s decision to leave out Starc for this one? None of the Aussie seamers have bowled badly. Yet, Starc is a particularly good white ball bowler – so may be well positioned to deal with the whole Bazball approach. He also, unequivocally, shortens the tail.”

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, Gavin Byrne, and yes, it seems like the Aussies could have used a bowler like Starc. Someone who doesn’t rely on the pitch as much and can bowl at pace.

However, I initially thought that they’d made the right call. I thought that Starc’s natural length would be more hittable than Boland’s. I didn’t factor in the reverse scoop from Root though.

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Confrimed start time: 2:15pm BST/ 11:15pm AEST

We’re getting some cricket! Plenty of time to get a result. Go make yourself some food. Get comfy. Gather your loves ones. Not long now.

Updated at 08.41 EDT

“Hi Fourth Dan,” Ah yes, I forgot about this one, Kevin Foster.

“I see the current Cricinfo headline for their commentary is “Live – Rain de-instensifies but no play before lunch”. Is “de-intensify” a specific cricketing term? I’m new to the game.”

No, I don’t think that’s a cricket term. Then again Bazball wasn’t a thing not long ago.

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I’ve got over 100 emails to get through. You’ve all been brilliant. Thank you for making this a lot easier. I obviously can’t get to them all but will reply individually if they’re not posted here.

Here’s a Dan Gallan XI by Mac Millings:

  • Danil Gallanskar

  • Ranjan Madangallan

  • Gallan Border

  • Jason “Dan” Gallian

  • MS Dhani

  • Chris Jor-dan Gallan

  • Javagallan Srinath

  • Gubby Gallen

  • Jimmy Danderson

  • Curtly Danbrose

  • Muttiah Muralithagallan

Head Coach: Brendon McGallan

“Hi DannyGally, Many thanks for keeping us entertained on OBO!” It’s been a pleasure, Mike Friend. Just hoping I get to see some actual cricket before my shift ends at 2.

“Quick question regarding start time. We have light meters to determine quality of light. But is anything other than the palm of a hand used to determine the wetness / dryness of the outfield? I ask because if it’s too damp in even one small area of the playing surface, the risk to England is that the ball will soak up the damp and stop swinging. On the other hand, the longer the start time is pushed back, the advantage swings to Australia since a dry pitch and overhead conditions will lessen how much the ball swings.”

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What a great question. I honestly don’t know. Maybe the umpires have a sponge they use? Massive first hour after the restart once we do get going.

Inspection in 15 minutes. Lunch is officially over in less than that. Going to grab a bite now (trying the intermittent fasting thing so, as you can imagine, I’m pretty hungry!)

Alex Greggery in Melbourne has a very challenging question that speaks to Simon’s earlier entry on mental health. What do you all reckon?

“Dear Daniel Anvil-Smiting Gallan [nice], At the risk of injuring my brain, I have a few thoughts…

“I love Recent English Test Cricket, for reasons beautifully articulated earlier by Simon in Cornwall. I’m most curious about what happens when an underperforming player has to be dropped. Can the long-leash, results-don’t-matter attitude be maintained in the dressing room?

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“I wonder how Foakes feels about his situation – can he buy into Bazball at this stage? I’ve been fascinated by the injustice of his England career for years now. The discussion feels a bit moot though, as there’s no way Bairstow will lose the gloves so quickly.”

Yes. Eventually a player will need to be dropped. I suppose Foakes already has been dropped. Not exactly “vibes and man-feelings”, as Barney would say. Really intersting point on how this chimes with the new energy. Easier to promote solid mental health in sport when you’re winning I suppose.

Thank you also to Mesnil Man, Robin Armstrong and Kit Lewis who also shared the TMS link. You OBOers are just the best 🙂

Thank you, Shreedutta Chidananda. Here’s the TMS link for those in need:

Mark Gillespie makes a couple of really solid points, presented here in full:

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“To question the level of the opposition in those games kind of misses the main benefit, I think. While there are tactical innovations that have directly helped win some games, especially in Pakistan, the main benefit seems to be that England now have a clear purpose and a lack of fear that allows them to play at or near their full potential far more of the time. What mustn’t be lost is that at the point McCullum and Stokes took over, England had 1 win in 17 tests. So it’s not that another team playing conventional cricket wouldn’t have won some/most of those subsequent tests, it’s that this England team wouldn’t.”

“On the keeper situation, to me Foakes was the man in possession and had done well, and the facts that his keeping is better than Bairstow’s, plus Bairstow’s batting goes down a level, means that dropping him for Bairstow was never the right choice. The options were to drop Pope, who has been OK without being amazing under Stokes, or Crawley if they felt Pope was capable of opening.

On your second point, I think Pope being vice-captain plays a role. And they don’t want him opening. No. 3 was a difficult position for a long time and Root doesn’t want to bat there. As one reader said earlier, it perhaps should have been Bairstow or Brook if Foakes is to play. Or they stick with this team and hope YJB can come good with the gloves.


Daniel Gallan (earlier) and Taha Hashim (now)

Published: 2023-06-20 16:31:59

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