Crisps stop drama, batting without bails along with Steve Smith watching it. Here is the selection of the activity out of Old Trafford…
Steve Smith headed an Australia recovery on his own return to the side following concussion onto a blustery and rain-hit day one of the fourth Ashes Test against England at Old Trafford.
SCORECARD | AS IT HAPPENED
Stuart Broad dismissed David Warner (0) for the fifth time in seven innings and also removed his opening partner Marcus Harris (13) as Australia tumbled to 28-2 after opting to bat at cold Manchester.
However, Smith (60no) – again after missing England’s Ben Stokes-inspired, series-levelling triumph in the third Test at Headingley – took his runs tally for the show to 438 in an average of 146 as the tourists closed per day on which just 44 overs were bowled on 170-3.
No evidence that Smith was seeing it had been required following the batsman casually swatted an energized throughout the. It was an odd sight but the shooter by which he attained a record eighth consecutive Ashes fifty in a row was all the more astounding.
Smith, in the words of Ian Botham, needed to dive to attain a full, broad delivery which was acres outside off stump but held his upper body shape well enough to drill it to four on the driveway – collapsing on his back knee in the procedure.
“He seemed like a drunk,” observed David Gower,”however he middled it” Proving, in the method, that so long as you keep your eye on the ball your place is of secondary significance.
The shot that was eccentric came in a session where Australia batted with no bails on the stumps – the bails being removed by the umpires once they were blown off by the wind. It took several 25 minutes to fourth umpire Rob Bailey to discover some heavy bails – or the first bails with a few screws drilled to the end of those.
Further interruptions were brought by the wind as rubbish – principally packs – brought play to a shuddering halt by swirling into and out of the batsmen’s eyeline. Inspired by the face of Stuart Broad, his nerves were got directly on by the waits.
Did England miss a trick? The build-up into the Test was dominated by the possible contest between Jofra Archer and Smith but, to the shock of a number of our pundits, the paceman didn’t appear to flex his back and then go all out if the coming batsman came at 28-2 – the speed gun consistently registering in the low 80mph bracket. What is more, Archer bowled only seven balls he pumped over at Lord’s, forcing him to miss the third Test at Headingley.
“It’s possibly the first time that Joe Root needs to be a tiny bit hard using Archer,” said Nasser Hussain, requiring some tough love, before admitting that conditions were tricky. “I understand you’re cold, I understand you’re stiff, it’s been a long summer, but shake it up!’ Make him out that this is definitely the most crucial spell”
Nas continued:”Smith could have spent the past two weeks considering this comeback against Archer, that has peppered him. I totally understand he was tired at that time Smith came in and so you take him out of the attack to give him another burst prior to dinner, but that burst never arrived.”
Ricky Ponting:”To me, England have appeared flat. But I do not wish to discount how difficult these states have been for filming. Is just how it’s been – and also a stop, begin sort of event. However there was not that fire that we would normally expect to see, even coming off quite a very long break from Leeds to here.”
Michael Holding:”Smith was allowed to go out there now and pretty much settle by the time Archer got straight back into the assault, Smith was pretty much depended. If folks get struck you can work out what is currently going on in their thoughts. It was odd because Archer hadn’t bowled his five overs at intense speed”
David Lloyd:”Where’s Warne sat?” Since the umpteenth empty crisp packet interrupts the day session.
See day two of the fourth Ashes Test live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports The Ashes from 10am on Thursday.
You might also follow over-by-over commentary and in-play clips on our rolling site on skysports.com along with the Sky Sports program.
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