Australia have bowled 52 overs today and taken just three wickets, yet Cameron Green hasn’t been thrown the ball.
We haven’t heard anything from team officials but perhaps the youngster has a niggle? He appeared to be stretching his side on the broadcast but for a bowler with match figures of 2-32 from 15 overs, it is rather perplexing.
Green has 0-8 from five overs in this innings.
Buttler has faced 159 balls for his 25 runs. He has showcased outstanding concentration in his super slow dig.
England 7-174 (target 468)
As England make their way to 7-173, with less than 40 minutes before the tea break, we have a reader question.
Question from Peter: “Locking in the squad for the rest of the series already, another bad move by George Bailey, favouring certainty for certain players when others (Renshaw, Handscomb, Maxwell) have been afforded no comfort. What’s the risk of keeping players like Harris on their toes?”
I think that’s a great call Peter. However, Usman Khawaja is a handy replacement for Harris should selectors want to pull the pin on him. He’s the next man in line, even if he hasn’t been opening the batting in the Sheffield Shield for Queensland this year. His average of 96.8 in Tests as an opener shows he has the technique and temperament to perform at the next level. Age (35) is a question mark. The only Australian batter under pressure, aside from Harris, is Cameron Green. But his bowling has been very good and gives Australia a fourth seam option. Green is a player of the future worth persisting with.
You also have to factor in what value there is bringing someone like Maxwell into a squad, should he warrant it. Is he better suited playing some form of cricket – ie the Big Bash – rather than running drinks? I’d say so. It was great to see tweaker Mitch Swepson get some overs in the BBL the other night, having been an extended member of the Aussie Test squad. I’d have no qualms picking Renshaw for a Test this summer if Harris can’t make some runs but I have a sneaking suspicion he will score a century in Melbourne. Bailey likes to provide certainty for players but there has to be some pressure being applied by those next line for sure.
Australian squad for final three Ashes Tests
- Pat Cummins (NSW) (c)
- Alex Carey (SA)
- Cameron Green (WA)
- Marcus Harris (VIC)
- Josh Hazlewood (NSW)
- Travis Head (SA)
- Usman Khawaja (QLD)
- Marnus Labuschagne (QLD)
- Nathan Lyon (NSW)
- Michael Neser (QLD)
- Jhye Richardson (WA)
- Steve Smith (NSW) (vc)
- Mitchell Starc (NSW)
- Mitchell Swepson (QLD)
- David Warner (NSW)
Neser comes into the attack, searching for his second wickets of the innings after what has been a productive debut.
The Queenslander drops a very tough caught and bowled opportunity that comes back at him quickly.
England 7-169 (target 468)
Meanwhile, Mike Hussey insists the Ashes isn’t all over red rover.
Just as Australia looked a little bereft of answers, the final delivery of the eighth over with the second new ball has done the trick. It’s an absolute beauty as Richardson clean bowls Woakes through the gate with ball that nips back in off the seam.
He departs for 44.
England 7-166 after 88 overs (target 468)
Three more wickets and Australia will have a 2-0 series lead.
This is proving to be a very frustrating partnership for the Australians.
Woakes and Buttler have been batting for nearly 30 overs and Australia just can’t seem to remove them. At what point do Australia begin to get nervous? A long, long way from here. But as we know, cricket is a funny game.
Starc has finished his 20th over and has figures of 2-34. Very economical for a bowler who has tended to leak more runs than Hazlewood and Cummins. With those two aforementioned named out of this Test, Starc has lifted when his side needed him most.
England 6-160 (target 468)
England have made their way to 6-155. Australia are yet to strike with the second new ball.
Question: “Who’s a better keeper-batsman? Bairstow or Buttler.”
Question: “Is Shane Warne preparing to eat some humble pie? #Starc”.
Is Mitchell Starc literally licking his lips there? Probably not. But he has a brand new pink ball in his hands that this England pair of Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler won’t be looking forward to facing.
Starc, for mine, has been the best of the Australian bowlers in the second innings. His pace has been excellent on what is a quintessentially flat Adelaide pitch. Without stating the obvious, it’s imperative Starc pitches up and therefore can hopefully get some swing back into these right-handers.
Buttler gets hit, very close to where Joe Root did on a couple of occasions yesterday. Ouch.
It’s a tidy maiden from Starc.
My old man has just texted through: “I might have $10 on the draw”. These two are proving difficult to dislodge.
England 6-155 (target 468)
It’s a maiden from the Aussie skipper, who hasn’t bowled in a Test since the 2019 Test against Pakistan at the Adelaide Oval. His leggies have come out rather well there. I’d be happy to see more of it but you suspect a new ball is going to be taken here.
‘The SCG will remain without crowd restrictions for the New Year’s Test and Big Bash matches despite rapidly increasing COVID-19 infections across Sydney.
A crowd of 12,000 is predicted for the Sydney Sixers’ clash with the Adelaide Strikers at the SCG on Tuesday night while up to 40,000 a day are expected for most days of the fourth Test starting on January 5.
Sources with knowledge of the situation said with the NSW Government focusing on hospitalisation rates, and not case numbers, there are currently no plans to reduce capacity at the SCG for the Sydney Test or for Big Bash games.’
READ THE FULL REPORT HERE