Saturday, 7 September 2019

Day four

Here we are again, another sunny day of Ashes cricket and I'm parked in my armchair in position to see another great English fight back.  Stokes and Bairstow start cautiously and then start to look comfortable even when the new ball is taken.  But inevitably wickets fall and it's Starc doing the damage.  First Bairstow is bowled yet again and then Stokes, who looked totally comfortable, edges to the cordon, will we make the follow on?  Buttler bats well with the tail and with cult hero Leach we reach the follow on target.  Buttler is last man out for 41, his best knock of the series but...

Australia bat again, already leading by 196.  Broad is bowling brilliantly and soon has Bunny Warner out for his third duck in a row.  He follows this with the other opener Harris and it's 16/2.  At the other end Archer is steaming in bowling with high pace and hostility.  He removes Funnyname and Head and it's 44/4.  It's been high class seam bowling from both ends and an absolute pleasure to watch, each bowls nine overs straight off.  But at the other end Smith comes in and still looks like he'll never get out.  When Overton and Leach come on to bowl there's an immediate let up in pressure and the two batsmen look set by tea.

It looks a different game after tea, Smith looks in no trouble and gets to another inevitable fifty.  At the other end Wade is managing to survive and the lead creeps passed 300, then Australia start to accelerate, Smith looking to score off every ball.  The partnership passes 100 with Smith looks like he's having a net, toying with the batsmen like no one else I've seen since Sir Viv Richards.  I don't use that comparison lightly but I do use it begrudgingly.  Finally  Leach gets him to hit one in the air and he's out for 82, the lead is 345.  Australia bat on, in normal circumstances they'd surely have declared but memories of Headingley...  Archer gets Wade who is getting more dislikable with every match  (great catch from Bairstow) but Paine and Starc thrash a few more and Australia declare with a lead of 383.

Cummins opens the bowling and removes Burns third ball, then bowls Root with the next bringing Roy in on a hat trick ball.  He survives and together with Denly makes it through to the end of play 18/2.

Once upon a time I would be feeling deep gloom with the Ashes all but gone but today I just feel acceptance.  I've enjoyed the cricket today, even though England have taken a battering.  We haven't lost the match yet, hope still remains but a draw tomorrow would be more miraculous than the win at Leeds.

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