32nd over: England 122-5 (Billings 3, Woakes 5) It’s not Starc but it’s Hazlewood – that’ll do. But after four dots Woakes takes action, making room to base through cover for four. “Change of angle” muses Warne, on his preference for a left-armer.
“Why haven’t England dropped Bairstow yet?” asks Arthur Graves. “He also won’t make it to the next World Cup.”
Because he’s up there with England’s greatest ever one-day batsmen and at 30 has many, many more runs left in him, would be my guess.
31st over: England 118-5 (Billings 3, Woakes 1) Zampa continues – Warne, not usually one for thanking a spinner – says he’d have been tempted to give Starc a go. But there’s almost another wicket when Woakes retreats to a full one, can’t get the bat down in time, and there’s a big shout. But Carey, who’s done well with the reviews this innings, spots an edge, so Australia don’t review. One off the over.
30th over: England 117-5 (Billings 3, Woakes 0) Pat Cummins, just what you want when you’re deep in shtuck. A maiden duly arrives, the sixth of the innings.
“A soupe’ in its original meaning,” says Alistair Connor, “is the big slice of peasant bread that you put in your plate before putting a ladle of liquid on top. Thirty-five years in France has liberated me from the middle-class obsession with aristocratic table manners. Real French eating is regional, and peasant-based.”
Next time my wife chastises my agricultural eating style – when we were on a break, she consoled herself with thoughts of me at the table – I’m going to tell her I’m just pursuing a Gallic interpretation.
29th over: England 117-5 (Billings 3, Woakes 0) Zampa now has 2-16 and has bowled really well, again. Australia stick in a slip and a silly point, but Woakes dead-bats the over’s one remaining delivery.
WICKET! Morgan lbw b Zampa 43 (England 117-5)
Huge wicket for Australia! That’s a poor call and a great review because it was the absolute acme and epitome of gone. The Aussie players enjoy the celebration because the know that might be the match.
29th over: England 117-4 (Morgan 42, Billings 3) Billings’ bat gets stuck as he seeks to slide it in, sent back by Morgan, leading to an umpire’s review; he managed to stamp a foot before Carey broke the stumps. But what’s this?! Zampa tosses up, it doesn’t spin, and when it hits Morgan on the pad and Not Michael Gough rejects Australia’s appeal, Finch and Carey agree a review.
“The point about delaying wine intake at the beginning,” teaches John Starbuck, “is to save a little after the main course, so as to have the cheese to help finish the red wine. Then you can have something else with dessert. Much like an England batting innings.”
But Tom Rebbitt offers another opinion: “The only reason the French don’t start on wine until after the soup is because they’re still on aperitifs! Which is one (cycling, art, landscapes…) of my favourite things about France: to walk into a restaurant and hear ‘Aperitif?’ before you’ve even sat down!”
28th over: England 116-4 (Morgan 45, Billings 2) Morgan has wrists made of liquid osmium. Cummins sends him one that’s full and straight, and somehow a skip and a push sends the ball back past the bowler. He made room to play off side, but when that wasn’t possible, was somehow able to divert the ball in a different direction. It’s remarkable, it really is, and he’s starting to get into this. A single follows, then one to Billings, who is beaten outside off in between.
27th over: England 110-4 (Morgan 37, Billings 1) England might have to go after Zampa, though my inclination is that these two will try to keep it ticking then have a proper go at maybe 40 overs. And this is another good over, just three singles from it, but Billings off the mark with a drive to extra.
“I’ve paused mid-bike ride to see Root’s fallen on his sword,” says Harry Lang. “Has there been any talk today of dropping him from short-form cricket and Test captaincy to let him be the thoroughly excellent batsman he is for another 10 years? Or has he earned untouchable status?”
It’s hard to take the captaincy away when the team are winning, but if it was the difference between prime Root and current Root, it’d be a smart move (that’d never happen).
26th over: England 107-4 (Morgan 36, Billings 0) This is a huge partnership; if it fails, it’s hard to see England winning this. Wicket maiden.
“It’s very hard for a player to captain a side if he isn’t doing much with the bat,” says Digvijay Yadav, “regardless of what Brearley did in the 80s. But otherwise, the Test side would have a lot more spunk.”
Sure, but Morgan is a lot better than that – he has two Test centuries, and even if he wasn’t a good captain, is unlucky not to have had more chances at that level.
REVIEW SAYS OUT!
Umpire’s call on the stumps, just trimming the bails, but England are in the muck now.
WICKET! Buttler lbw b Cummins 3 (England 107-4)
Excellent change from Finch, who’s having a good match. It came from wide of the stumps and arrowed in, beating Buttler for pace; Buttler reviews encouraged by Morgan, and fair enough, England need him, but Michael Gough is umpiring at the bowler’s.
25th over: England 107-3 (Morgan 35, Buttler 3) Morgan is opening up now, reverse-sweeping Zampa for four then crunching him over cover for four more. But Zampa comes back well, sending down three dots.
“What’s the record for the most comments published in a 50-over innings? asks Richard Hirst. “I’m going for it!” before a further email notes: “Even more surprisingly, the French tend not to start on the wine until after the soup course. The British are not always so restrained!”
A friend of mine used to see away a bottle before grace. FAOD he’s English, not French.
24th over: England 99-3 (Morgan 27, Buttler 3) Three singles, then Morgan takes a pigeon step down and clouts a drive over cover and into the fence. That was very, very good.
“I’m secretly hoping that Morgan ends up 36 not out off of 174 balls, just because he can. And England would still be in with a chance with him captaining,” reckons Simon McMahon.
England’s greatest-ever captain being Irish is one of the most English things ever – I wonder where the Test side might be if they’d given him the gig a few years ago.
23rd over: England 91-3 (Morgan 21, Buttler 1) There’s a chance that because Buttler is now at the crease, that wicket will help England – it’ll need to. Four off the over, Buttler getting off the mark with a force behind square on the on side.
“It’s not great to see a fluid batsman such as Root struggle so badly, much like Bairstow on Friday,” says Felix Wood. “Surely at this point the slow scoring is not only having an impact now, but also putting greater pressure on the likes of Buttler lower down the order? If a batsman is going to score at under three an over then I’d prefer it to be Jos for his first 50 balls so he can get his eye in and go big thereafter? Root needs to start going aggressive now – get runs or get ou … oh he’s just hit ten off the over. Carry on.”
Or not. And yes, it’s tricky when you’re not middling it – do you assume it’ll come, or do you have a swish and go big or go home?
WICKET! Root c Finch b Zampa 39 (England 90-3)
This is a lovely ball, tossed up then dipping and turning before Root can smother, kissing his outside edge and finding the hands of the captain who just relocated himself to slip. Excellent all-round, and ends a tortured innings.
23rd over: England 90-2 (Root 39, Morgan 21) Later than he might’ve expected, Zampa is into the attack and finds a hint of turn immediately. England won’t mind that too much with Adil Rashid sat in the hutch…
22nd over: England 87-2 (Root 37, Morgan 20) England really need to maintain momentum, and Marsh’s second ball is taken for three by Morgan, who mistimes a drive over extra. Two singles follow, and I guess if England can keep at roughly a run a ball for another 15 overs, if Buttler were to come off they’d still set a challenging total.
“Thoroughly enjoying this old skool run rate England seems to be going with,” says Pete Salmon. “Very ‘going down a rabbit hole and seeing Graeme Wood being dismissed in the 15th over, with Ian Chappell saying, First wicket for India, it’s 1/38.’ More of it please.”
I half-expect to look out my window and see Vauxhall Chevettes, BMX Raleigh Burners and white dog turds.
21st over: England 82-2 (Root 36, Morgan 16) Stoinis continues; it’s unclear whether England’s approach against him reflects the ball not coming on or batsmen not feeling in good touch. Morgan has asked for slow, dry pitches so that England are ready for the next World Cup in India and this is absolutely that – I guess it’s fair to expect a defeat or two while players acclimatise, though makes the absence of Moeen an odd one. Anyhow, after three singles, another lovely cover drive gets Root four, and he doesn’t bother kvelling, instead coming down the track to swat Stoinis over midwicket for an absolute six. By the time he got there, he could’ve stuck that anywhere, which tells you how nicely his feet moved.
20th over: England 69-2 (Root 25, Morgan 14) Another good over from Marsh, yielding a wide, a leg bye and three singles. A run a ball from here gets England to 250, but they’d need early wickets to have any chance of defending that.
“We live in SW France,” says Richard Hirst, “and the cheese/dessert issue is always a lively one. No problem if we’re having French friends for dinner, the cheese always comes first. But if, as tonight, it’s only British friends, then do we honour our native or adopted country?
It’s matched only by the question of bread with soup – not done at all by the French, despite the British view of them as a nation of inveterate baguette eaters. At large communal meals, the mayor, a huge Anglophile, always makes sure that the kitchen sends out bread with the soup for the British contingent. Entente cordiale in action!”
No bread with soup? Soup exists to be soaked up by bread. Someone needs to call the Hague.
19th over: England 64-2 (Root 24, Morgan 12) Though Adam Zampa bowled well yesterday, it’s Marcus Stoinis who replaces Cummins because pace is working well for Australia. England really should get after his part-timers, but won’t want to give him a wicket, and he nearly gets one when Morgan swats flat to deep square, his shot beating Cummins’ dive, but only just. England needed that four badly, and a chop to third man gives two more.
18th over: England 57-2 (Root 23, Morgan 6) Another fine over from Marsh, just two from it, and at some point one of these batsmen needs to have a dart because Jos Buttler is waiting behind them. Not yet, but they can’t really permit another 10 overs like that.
“Just over three an over isn’t going to cut the mustard,” says Derek Stocker. “Pray tell, is this the slowest-ever start for England in an ODI?Can’t blame the batters, Australia’s deliveries are just too good!”
I’m absolutely certain England have made worse starts, but agree that the bowling has been superb.
17th over: England 55-2 (Root 22, Morgan 5) Root drives through backward point and they run three, but only one more comes from the remaining five deliveries. It’s a minute since I’ve seen an England innings so becalmed.
“What’s the record number of maidens in a 50-over innings?” asks Richard Hirst. Eight, a mark shared by Bishen Bedi of India, against East Africa in the 1975 World Cup, and Phil Simmons of West Indies, against Pakistan in 1992.
16th over: England 51-2 (Root 19, Morgan 4) Marsh offers Root a smidgeon of width and pushes off his toes to glance through point where Labuschagne dives over it, allowing England four. He comes back well, though, the remaining four balls of the over yielding just three – one to Root and two to Morgan, thanks to another misfield.
15th over: England 44-2 (Root 14, Morgan 2) Stuart Broad reckons 250 or so is defendable here, saying the pitch must be hard to bat on and should get slower and lower. I wonder how much of what we’re seeing is the track and how much is the bowling, as Broad says that the cross-seamers Cummins is bowling offer an unknown: if it hits the leather it might skid on, and if it hits the seam it might dig in and slow up. In Tests, he says, you don’t use it much as you want to preserve the state of the ball, but he likes it for bouncers in limited overs. Root will know that, having faced 46 balls for for 14 runs, he needs to deliver a score here, but this latest over yields just a single, to him via third man, and a wide.
14th over: England 42-2 (Root 13, Morgan 2) Marsh into the attack and Sams, on as sub fielder for Stoinis, dives to stop a whack from Morgan and takes enough of a wallop so that he has to leave the field himself. Marsh then raps Morgan on the pad with a slower ball and there’s an appeal, but it looked to be going over and when the umpires says not out there’s no review. So Morgan then tries to force the pace by trying to cut, only to bottom edger into the turf and just past his stumps. Maiden.
13th over: England 42-2 (Root 13, Morgan 2) When you’re relying on Pat Cummins as your bowler to target you’ve got a problem, and he quickly whips one past Root’s outside edge – but what on earth has happened to his bernies? He’s had some sort of accident – maybe he overshaved one and ended up chasing them up his face trying to get them level, but whatever it is, he now looks like a rugby league player. Maiden, and this is so good from Australia.
“Re Ben Wilks’ stay in a French ICU,” says Graham O’Reilly, “he doesn’t seem to have recovered even now. No self-respecting Frenchman, in a hospital or not, would serve the cheese AFTER the chocolate mousse.”
12th over: England 42-2 (Root 13, Morgan 2) Hazlewood continues for a sixth over, while Warne notes his surprise that Moeen isn’t playing, given a pitch that’s pretty good and should take spin. I guess OT is generally friendly to leggies, but England could probably use some extra batting, and the combo of the two makes hard to argue with the birthday boy. One off another excellent over.
“England do have a problem,” says Felix Wood, “and that problem is that Root isn’t the man to get them out of a spot of bother. I reckon the opposition are pretty happy to see him come in these days. That was a silly single, that was only called because of a mere four dot balls. I’m already dreading the Ashes.”
There’s plenty of time for Root to improve, but it’s true that he’s not as good as he once was, and we can’t really put it down to form because it’s gone on too long. Giving him the Test captaincy was an error, I think we can now say with certainty.
11th over: England 41-2 (Root 12, Morgan 2) Cummins replaces Starc and Root needs to do something here, because he’s consuming balls but can’t the scoreboard moving – unusual for him. He’s got 3 from 28 deliveries so calls for a new bat and immediately carts one just past square leg to the fence. He, and England, needed that. And that! Cummings slings down a half-volley, and it’s met with a glorious cover drive for four, then backed up with a characteristic quick single.
10th over: England 32-2 (Root 3, Morgan 2) Are England already rebuilding? They’re grafting out there – this is some serious bowling – and only have two more batsmen after this pair, who’ll want to set a platform rather than get out because “It’s just the way I play”. Two off another fine over from Hazlewood, who diddles Morgan outside off with its final delivery. That’s the first powerplay done.
And one last one on Headingley from Dave Millington: “I watched the morning session on TV full of hope but with a difficult decision to make.
I had a ticket for a Notts v Yorkshire T20 match at Trent Bridge that afternoon. All morning I was torn – TV or Trent Bridge? As I live 15 minutes from Trent Bridge I knew I could leave the decision to the last minute but I also knew my track record on important decisions (not good….).
I was leaning toward to staying at home but then England lost wickets and were down to the last pair. Ok, decision made and off to Trent Bridge. It was a swelteringly hot day and by the time I arrived all the covered seats were taken and I ended up sitting in a section of the ground best described as a sauna with the thermostat jammed on extra hot. In my haste to get there I’d forgotten my sun hat of course, something which will surprise nobody who knows me.
I watched the first innings whilst listening, with ever increasing incredulity, to Stokes’s innings on my phone and paid no attention to the action in front of me for which I’d paid my hard-earned cash. England won, which coincided with the end of the first innings at Trent Bridge (which I’d virtually ignored) and I had a wry smile knowing that as usual I’d made the wrong decision.
By this stage I was also feeling really ill due to the heat combined with the previous night’s alcohol consumption and realised that if I stayed there I’d be in danger of overworking the St John’s staff so I made the noble decision to go home.
I got home feeling really sick and uipset with my decision to go to Trent Bridge in the first place. To top it off Notts had a thrilling last ball win.
So in the space of a few hours I managed to miss Stoke’s innings, Notts last ball win and made myself ill in the process….”
This thing of ours…
9th over: England 30-2 (Root 2, Morgan 1) Starc’s first ball beats N3’s finest, a statuesque Morgan, then he gets down the other end with one twizzled behind on the leg side. Concerned about the lack of runs, Root then swishes at one offering a modicum of width – he misses – and that’s another good over for the Aussies.
During the last Pakistan Test, we were talking about where people were for Ben Stokes day, and I received this, from Ben Wilks, too late to publish, but it’s too good not to publish so here it is:
“I had gone to Morzine on the Thursday before the test match and had a big downhill mountain bike crash. I ended up in ICU for a week with both lungs collapsed and broken bones etc (French intensive care is amazing, not only are the staff fantastic but cheese following chocolate mousse after every meal? Sign me up). Anyway I was recovering well by the Ben Stokes day and had my iPad with me so with a convoluted set up got to watch the cricket. 6 times in that last hour I had alarms going off and nurses running in to check my heart rate, amazing day, I cried after it finished, I blame the morphine and Brie.”
8th over: England 29-2 (Root 2, Morgan 0) Australia are into this – this is what you get when you don’t muck about and just pick brilliant bowlers. Both Hazlewood and Starc fancy Root, and the former hauls him forward again before the ball departs, then a fine stop from Stoinis stops him getting down the other end and a hard cut goes straight to Maxwell at backward point. Another maiden for Hazlewood.
“On TMS Jimmy Anderson has remarked that England’s sub fielder will be gearing up for 50 overs,” says John Starbuck, “because Root won’t want to field at all today. Let’s see if he’s right. Also, according to the OED, there’s no such word as ‘metronomy’; you made it up. Well done!”
Similarly, Glenn McGrath was blessed with metronomia.
WICKET! Roy run out (Stoinis) 21 (England 29-2)
England couldn’t allow another quiet over so Root shoved to cover and set off; Stoinis, zoning in, collects the ball on the run and on the bounce. He could go for either end but picks the strikers’ demolishing the stumps with extreme prejudice. England have a problem.