Opinion 2021 - Ashes Tests v England - Comment and Opinion

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Covers are coming back on...​

We have to be back underway before 10:30pm AEDT, so this little sneeze from the sky might be terminal for the day's play...
I say sneeze, it does not look like it's raining hard - there's nothing even coming up on the camera that's out on the ground.
It appears to be the case that we cannot play until 11pm in any case, despite what the conditions of play say, because of a local rule that means the floodlights have to be off by then to satisfy the local residents.
 

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Stumps: Australia 6-241: Carey 10 (27), Starc 0 (5)​

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Well this is desperately disappointing, as it really doesn't seem like there is much rain out there at all, even the umpire supervising the replacing of the covers has taken his umbrella down.
It does mean that play will start at 2:30pm AEDT tomorrow, so half an hour earlier, but still, I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say we'd have liked a bit more cricket today.
So where do we stand, England started like a bull at the gate, rampaging through the top order to leave Australia 3-12 thanks to 10 overs of supreme quality from Stuart Broad and Ollie Robinson.
However, then the wheels came off, England once again showing their extraordinary ability to turn a position of strength into a remarkable weakness.
Marnus Labuschagne counter attacked before his hilarious tangling of his legs saw him bowled middle stump before lunch, however Travis Head continued the resurgence of Australia off the canvas, scoring at close to a run a ball before popping a catch to Robinson just after making his century.
Cam Green was good too, making 74, but he fell too, to a well worked plan against Mark Wood, who went at 6.9 runs per over in a hugely expensive day for the quick.
I, Simon Smale and him, Jon Healy will be back nice and early tomorrow (well, at 2:00pm AEDT) and we hope you'll join us then.
 

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DAY TWO​

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About to drop the summer's most fire mix tape: Tales From The Tail. (Getty)
Helllllooooo! Welcome to day two of the Ashes in Hobart.
Yesterday had a bit of everything - a mini collapse, great bowling, garbage bowling, sublime batting, batting bloopers, injuries, weather - so what does this Saturday promise?
One thing's for sure, Australia will want more runs. 6-241 is decent - spectacular considering they were 3-12 at one point - but day one proved this pitch can flatten out, so they'll be wanting to push that score up around 300.
Can England dictate terms like they did to start day one or will the Aussie tail do its thing? Simon Smale and I will be here all day to tell you what g'wan.
 

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England lets this slip again​

If this English team was a footballer, it would be Steven Gerrard.

They'll be on top, all over the Aussies, the bowlers will have their tails up or batters will be set, and then...

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...they just let it slip.
Yesterday it was getting David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Steve Smith to have Australia 3-12, but they dropped Marnus Labuschagne on nought and allowed him to score 71 off 72 with Travis Head. Then they got him before dinner but the Aussies reloaded with Head and Cameron Green.

It's been the story of this tour for them, as Dean Bilton wrote last night.

It's been their curse all series to know trouble is lurking around every corner, the unsinkable buoy of their own incompetence always bobbing just a wave away.
On an historic day in Hobart, its first playing host to a men's Ashes match, England again displayed its unique ability to turn a position of even moderate control into a complete disaster in the blink of an eye.
Time and again in this series, Australia's hasn't so much had to get themselves out of jail but wait for England to forget to lock the cell door and casually stroll out.
 

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Marnus in good company​

Marnus Labuschagne's dismissal on day one was absolutely hilarious no matter which way you slice it.
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But, just as his pull shot and leg-side flick has a bit of Ricky Ponting about it, so too did that dismissal.
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That was day one in Adelaide way back in 2012 and he's still not ready to laugh about it.
 

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Some reaction from the Poms​

Yesterday went from great to terrible in a hurry for England, symptomatic of their entire tour so far.
BBC Cricket correspondent and ABC commentator Jonathan Agnew went as far as saying the day was "potentially the worst days of the series" for the tourists.
"This has potentially been one of the worst days of the series. England have basically been let down by batting throughout but today the bowling was depressingly poor," Agnew told the BBC.
"At 12-3, you'd want Australia at 140 or 150 all out, you don't want them to score too much more than that.
"They have 100 more already."
After the match England bowling coach Jon Lewis acknowledged the bowling was not quite up to scratch.
"We bowled a little bit wide and a little bit full and didn't adapt quick enough," Lewis said.
"In future the guys on the field, they do talk brilliantly with each other and communicate fantastically well, but I think sometimes we try to keep going with the same plan a fraction too long."
He also said that Ollie Robinson needed to be "fitter" to be better at Test cricket.
Meanwhile, the head of the ECB Tom Harrison said the drubbing had shown that a "reset" of domestic cricket was needed.
"We're not making excuses. We should have done better and we have to look at all of the reasons," Harrison told the BBC.
"It's really disappointing and a real shame for all England fans that we haven't been able to perform better."
Harrison said he had written to Cricket Australia to request a system where more English players could feature in the Sheffield Shield, much in the same way top Australian players come to the County Championship.
 

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The players are on their way out​

Alex Carey and Mitchell Starc are the not-out batters with Australia 6-241.
England absolutely must rediscover their energy from the first 10 overs yesterday, otherwise this total could blow out in a hurry.
The big question is will Ollie Robinson even bowl today?
 

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60th over - Mark Wood to Alex Carey to start things off
A searing yorker to start, and Carey digs it out. On the button straight away, and with pace, real pace.
Beaten! But not out. Mark Wood wasn't even appealing he was that certain Carey was caught behind, but no edge. Just a bit of bat on pad.
Joe Root and Sam Billings were certain as well. I don't know who dissuaded them from reviewing, but they're owed a beer.
 

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61st over - Stuart Broad from the other end

Down leg and Billings dives to take the catch. Sounded like a bit of pad on the way through.

First runs of the day with a Mitchell Starc single down the ground. Ben Stokes moved well to get across and throw down the stumps. Moving better than he did yesterday at least.

Broad's already complaining about the ball. C'mon mate. It's just a Kookaburra. They always feel a bit fat.

Carey pushes at a ball going across him. Broad over the wicket to the left-hander. Not something you see every day.
 

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62nd over - Wood continues. I'm trying to see what Ollie Robinson is doing.

Mitchell Starc gets off strike off the first ball with a single off his pads. Disappointing for England, although considering the form he's in, they may prefer bowling to Carey.

Carey gets one of his own and Wood fires in a rising bouncer, but Starc just parries it off his face down into the ground with his gloves. Looks like he barely felt that and it didn't rush him. Isn't it funny how some of those balls break fingers or pop up in the air, and others just have no impact whatsoever.
 

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And he's off strike with another single. Picking these off easily right now.

Broad's pulled out of his run-up and shouted "STOP MOVING THE ROBOT!!!", complaining about a broadcast camera on top of an RC car on the boundary behind the batter. Crikey. A bit precious.
 

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Starc holes out!​

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Wood bangs in the bouncer and Starc takes it on, top edging to Rory Burns at square leg. Just reward for Wood and Starc's promotion to eight goes about as well as Khawaja's elevation to open.

I maintain if someone's batting well at nine and getting runs, leave them there. Screw their ego. Actively bumping them up to eight so often seems to put the pressure on them and it regularly stuffs things up.