Days One and Two
Entirely washed out, no play occurred.
Not a lot to report here, only the morning session was played but a lot of wickets would fall. Australia finished on 80-4.
When Australia resumed, England would gradually begin to pick through the batsmen, but once again, Steve Smith stood strong. Archer used the pace that he was called up for bowling a bouncer to Smith and catching him on the arm. Later on, another bouncer flies down the pitch and smacks Smith just below the ear. Smith hit the deck and would go off for a concussion test but would later return. Some, however, did question whether he was quite the same after the blow. Eventually, he would go for 92, out lbw. He would later go to hospital for a check on his arm but returned to watch the end of the days play having been given the all clear. After the Aussies had been bowled out England came to the crease leading by 8. Roy went for 2, another low score that has led to are being asked not necessarily about his place in the side, but more about his place in the order. Root went for a duck, the Aussies celebrated like they’d won the series. Burns and Denly both got in to the 20s but would go not long after. England finish the day 96-4, with a lead of 104 and Stokes and Butler at the crease. Its all to play for tomorrow, Should England bat for the next 40 overs or so and couple that with a decent total, they’ll fancy themselves. Equally, Australia will be looking to build on their wicket hall today and take a second victory in the series. A proper test finale is brewing.
Well… it did look like we may have been set for a thrill. However… as had been the theme of this match, the start was delayed until 12:10. With this in mind, a draw looked like the most plausible option as it seemed we may be denied the thrilling test finish we were hoping for. What was promising though is that the condition of the pitch put every bowler and every batsman in the game. News filtered through shortly after the start of play, that Steve Smith, who yesterday received a blow to the head from England paceman Joffra Archer, had woken in the morning reporting feelings of grogginess. Repeat concussion testing was performed on Smith, and deterioration was reported from yesterday. As a result, Smith has been withdrawn from the match, and Cricket Australia were seeking permission for a concussion substitute from the ICC match referee. Smith’s availability for the third test will be considered “but the short turnaround is not in his favour” but ongoing tests will continue. Update: Smith has been ruled out for the third test.
Stokes and Butler resumed; Butler went for 31 and that’s a score he should take courage from given he’s not at his best. Once again, an England innings had life breathed into them by Ben Stokes who would make it to 115 before England declared on 258-5. With 48 overs and in need of 267, an Australian win looked unlikely, but a decent start saw them get to 132-3. They would however then loose three wickets in the space of 17 runs. The game continued but fading light saw a close to play before England were able to see off the Australian batsmen, and before the Australian batsmen were able to reach their target. With the match drawn, Australia not only retain their 1-0 lead, but will also retain the Ashes if they win the third test. There is still much to play for.