Posted by: tootingtrumpet | September 14, 2019

Fifth Ashes Test Day Two – The Final Over of the Day

Irrefutable proof!

Ball One – Warner walks – aggrieved with some reason

Technology is neutral – the digital strings of 0s and 1s don’t know what they display and the electrical charge that animates the wires is just wobbles in a field. So “blaming the technology” is always something of a fool’s errand. That said, David Warner might want to blame the humans who develop the protocols governing its use and the human who looks at its output and interprets it. One set of technology (the visuals) showed no evidence of an edge: another (UltraEdge) did. But the on-field umpire had given a “Not Out” decision, so Warner may have expected the less than convincing evidence against that to be set aside and he bat on. History records otherwise and his world record of single figure scores as an opener in a series extends to 8. By all accounts, Warner has owned to edging it, but I doubt he would have been so forthcoming had the decision gone the other way. And it was probably still wrong in law, even if not in fact which is an interesting philosophical nuance that I’m sure Warner would be keen to debate.

Ball Two – Not summertime, but the livin’ is still easy

I suppose, since July had so many days seemingly borrowed from September, that there’s some justice in September being blessed with days borrowed from July. Of course, one might say that there’d be a decent crowd to see England play Australia at beer pong, so a full house – well, full houses – for The Ashes, is hardly a shock. The weather and, especially, the gate receipts might give the ECB some thought about scheduling, particularly in even years when England’s football team dominates the sports news agenda – the news agenda – pretty much into July.

Ball Three – Labuschagne’s pain moment

Marnus Labuschagne is a fine batsman in form, but pace does strange things to people. Jofra Archer was bowling fast and had hit him earlier in the spell and that just shook him up enough to get his thinking and his movements scrambled. Archer got one right up and right on the button and umpire Erasmus raised the finger. Like many England batsmen, he had got out of shape, the balance – always the key to success in any sporting endeavour – lost, the bat failing to make contact with the ball. It threw into sharp contrast the man at the other end, Steven Smith, who has batted for hours and hours only really flummoxed when roughed up good and proper by Archer at Lord’s. It’s another example of how Smith’s surface unorthodoxy disguises an underlying orthodoxy that gets the job done, over after over after over.

Ball Four – Smith hammers out the runs – prettily

Steven Smith can be, well, if not quite dismissed, certainly reduced to, a set of twitchy tics, crazy stats and a fine eye. He is, of course, much more than that, his concentration, his balance, his temperament and – I could go on. As if to gift us with a leaving present in this season mirabilis, his return after more than a year out of Test cricket lest we forget, he played some gorgeous strokes particularly through the covers. Amongst Smith’s many unsung virtues is his ability to hit the ball hard enough – but no more – detuning the risk, simplifying the game even more. It’s not often that one praises the aesthetic charm of the Australian ex-captain, but this was a day to applaud another side of this extraordinary character’s game.

Ball Five – Electric Curran provides excellent support for Archer’s arrow straight deliveries

The news cycle moves very quickly these days, so one needs to remember that Jofra Archer is playing only his fourth Test, but he’s already the game-changer in a skilled, if slightly vanilla, attack. Sam Curran is younger than Archer, if more experienced, and doesn’t have the fear factor Archer’s 90mph bombs strike into the hearts of even the best batsmen. He’s a smart cricketer though, whose wrist is good enough to move the ball both ways and whose brain is good enough to work a batsman out. Curran bowled nine dot balls at Tim Paine before the tenth induced the flat-footed drive and the edge through to the keeper. A perfect in-ducker saw off Patrick Cummins first ball, England’s two young guns with all seven wickets between them.

Ball Six – The over rates

Not good enough.

And, even though we’re losing overs, play continues ’til 6.30 – in mid-September. Though the light is good, the low slanting sun and dark shadows make sighting the ball, particularly in the deep, very difficult, possibly unfairly so. Anyone who has played club cricket knows this, and I’m surprised that the umpires are happy to allow play to under such conditions. Of course, had England bowled their overs in time… Marcus Harris might have caught Joe Denly! With a screaming howler from Kumar Dharmasena to end the day (rescued by DRS), it was a pretty poor finish to the day for the officials.


  1. I thought Woakes’ delivery to get Smith LBW just angled in and straightened a little. Though most reports seem to say that the great man just missed a straight ball. It must be worth a try against a player who looks to play off the stumps to leg, to angle it in and get it to hold its line.

    An under-rated use of the outswinger, I often think. Curran coming around the wicket might have a go ?

    I realise it’s the way Fred Trueman always insisted he’d get Viv Richards out – get him playing that flick over mid wicket, and, being Fred, not merely straighten it up, but hit the top of off.

    • Sounds like Fred!

      I’d bounce him relentlessly until he was hit and then go full and straight.

  2. I also noticed your comment comparing Sam Curran to John Lever, which brought back happy memories. Although the Essex constabulary still have a bulging case file on the unsolved disappearance of Lever’s inswinger. Long may Curran’s continue to arrow in on the pads.

    • Yes, Curran’s always going to go for a few with a 5-4 field, but he gets a few batting, so I think he’s allowed.

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