Ashes Tour Diary: A Half-Century Unwanted for England and an Expensive Day for an Australian
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Australia tightened their grip on the Ashes as England collapsed again on day one of the third test at the MCG.
Here, Standard Sport cricket correspondent Will Macpherson provides the latest installment of his Australian tour diary …
Half a century undesirable for England
With the first wicket of the day, Haseeb Hameed fell behind Pat Cummins, England hit an unwanted milestone: fifty (50) test ducks in 2020.
This sad story began innocently in Galle in January, when Sam Curran was beaten for a starting player (one of his three Golden Ducks this year) and accelerated at an alarming rate.
Hameed ducked in his first comeback heats after a five-year absence with England in August, and has made three more since. In total, England’s openers made 14 (Rory Burns is the market leader with 14) and they regularly found themselves a wicket before scoring a point.
He is one of 19 notable players to have pulled off a duck this year, with the following full breakdown:
• 4 Lawrence, Hameed, Sibley, Bairstow, Robinson, Anderson
• 3 Hameed, Large, Curran
• 2 Buttler, Crawley, Archer, Bracey
• 1 root, leaching, stone, wood, Moeen, Bess
• 0 Stokes, Pope, Malan, Woakes, Foakes, Overton
England now need five ducks in the second inning to break their own record for the most part in a calendar year: 54 in 1998. If that sounds like a lot, they scored them at a lower rate that year, because they played so many tests.
Five might sound like a lot, but you never know …
As England floundered with the bat in the middle of the day, a half-naked field invader strode through the MCG’s outfield, briefly escaping safety while making a political statement scrawled across his chest (he stood opposed to Australia’s vaccination mandate).
Harmless Japs, you might think. But as security tracked him down, a message popped up on the big screen: The ground break-in fine was a fee – and very specific – $ 9,913.20. It’s a pretty expensive day.
Scott Boland became the second Indigenous Australian to play men’s test cricket. Too bad the first one, another fast bowler in Jason Gillespie, is not there to present his Baggy Green. Gillespie is the head coach of the Adelaide Strikers, who play Hobart tomorrow night.
Josh Hazlewood was a suitable and capable substitute. Boland essentially fills his place as he recovers from side tension. It was lovely that Boland’s wife Daphne and his two young children were on hand to listen to what Hazlewood had to say. Boland said Hazlewood has been a bowler he has admired for some time.
Boland is a major tryout cricketer, and he picked up Mark Wood’s wicket and took a steeplechase from the depths to end England’s innings. He spoke with strains of his pride in this historic moment and his desire to inspire young Indigenous children to play the game. In cricket, role models are rare, which contrasts with the codes of football. .
Given his early days, it’s worth noting that Boxing Day’s Player of the Match is now awarded the medal Johnny Mullagh, who led the Indigenous Australian tour to England in 1868. Last year Indian Ajinkya Rahane became the first winner.
A quirk of England’s innings: there were more three (16) than four (13). The MCG’s outfield is huge and the morning rain also made it a bit slow. But perhaps it also betrayed England’s difficulties in timing the ball.
Hazlewood, by the way, is still not quite in good shape after suffering an unusual injury in the series opener in Brisbane. He is hoping he might be available for Sydney, but the side strains are a mystery.
“I’m still a bit far away, (this test) is probably a week early,” he told SEN. “It’s probably more on the touch this one, it’s a bit interesting, it’s the intercostals between the ribs, there is a slight tear.
“I’ve never had it before, I’ve had the normal oblique lateral tension which is the most common, but we take each day as it comes and we will make the decisions about how I feel.”
With the abandonment of Ollie Pope and Rory Burns, England no longer has players from Surrey by their side.
With this pair, Ben Foakes, Jason Roy, the Curran brothers and Mark Stoneman all playing Test cricket lately, you have to go back to August 2017 against South Africa, there are 56 Tests, to find a team without Surrey. in England.
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