58th over: Australia 236-6 (Carey 5, Starc 0) A succession of bouncers from Wood discombobulates Green, who falls for the age-old trap. Smashing innings though, boom-bastic elegance, what a talent he is. Now, can England whittle out the tail quickly?
WICKET! Green c Crawley b Wood 74 (Australia 236-6)
Green slam-hooks a bouncer, but can only top-edge and Crawley is waiting at deep square leg. His third catch of the day.
57th over: Australia 235-5 (Carey 4, Green 74) Miserly from Broad until Green makes that jollygreengiant stride and cover drives with impossible elegance for a man mountain.
“Greetings from the Bunker.” Lovely to hear from you Charles Sheldrick.
“ My passion for cricket was ignited by the 1981 Ashes, I was 10, so I should be used to this by now.
Why does it still get to me after 40 years, the hope, the brief flash, like a glimpse of the sunrise through the fog, when England compete.
Then the gloom descends again and reality reasserts itself.
Do I need to get out more, or is that the problem?”
Charles, you just did need some sunshine. We all do.
56th over: Australia 230-5 (Carey 3, Green 70) All elegance, Green leans and sends a short one from Wood through backward point for four. In pounds Wood and sends down a succession of more short balls that Green ignores. England need a run-out or something here. A Billings stumping perhaps.
55th over: Australia 226-5 (Carey 3, Green 66) Broad sprints in with full-hearted fury Carey picks up a couple, but watches the rest fly safely by into Billings’ gloves.
54th over: Australia 224-5 (Carey 1, Green 66) A couple of dots, then a juicy one on leg stump which Green sends through midwicket for four with a jaunty air. A second follows , a back foot square drive: delicious.
53rd over: Australia 216-5 (Carey 1, Green 58) Ollie Robinson does not seem to have taken the field. Meanwhile James Anderson, resting, watches from the sidelines. The sky is now inky black and the fielders shadows are charcoal. Broad is bowling and Billings collects the ball as they run a single, a bundle of energy, collar up, sleeves buttoned down.
He’s not had a good day today but, to be fair, he’s been pretty good for the rest of the series – fast and full-throated, if unlucky. It always helps to be lucky.
I’ve just watched the highlights of the morning session and the elation from England to have Australia on the ropes at 12-3….can they pull something from the hat in this final session? The lights are on, the dark is rising.
Good morning Guy Hornsby!
52nd over: Australia 215-5 (Carey 1, Green 57) Root signs off the session – his tenth over – and they trundle off for the break. That’s 130 runs in the session, a mature fifty for Green and a glorious hundred for Travis Head before his moment of madness. Time for England to regroup – all is not lost – but Australia counter-punched with dental precision. Time for a quick coffee, but I’ll leave you to ponder this thought from Gary Naylor.
51st over: Australia 212-5 (Carey 1, Green 54) Woakes to Carey: a maiden.
Fifty for Green!
50th over: Australia 212-5 (Carey 1, Green 54) A single through the covers off Root brings Green his fifty – how he’s grown in confidence this series – and the last ball is drilled through the covers, a darling of a shot.
49th over: Australia 204-5 (Carey 0, Green 47) On the balcony the Australians are waiting, and the crowd clap Woakes’s approach to the crease. England polish their boots and scrub their pads, but there it is, a scamper for two through the off-side off just 112 balls. Head gets a big bear hug from Green, pulls off his helmet – his hair heavy with sweat – and grins to a standing ovation from the Hobart crowd. What a rescue act from 12-3. But what is this, he’s just plonked his wicket away with a splodge to mid-on. From elation to desolation in one false shot.
WICKET! Head c Robinson b Woakes 101 (Australia 204-5)
From nowhere, Head chips Woakes to Robinson the ball after reaching a glorious, gluttonous, humdinger of a century.
48th over: Australia 201-4 (Green 46, Head 99) I’m not entirely sure whether Robinson is physically unfit to bowl or Root just doesn’t trust him to bowl. Anyway, Root continues, and they pick a few, but Head finishes the over on 99 – tantalisingly close to his second hundred of the series.
47th over: Australia 197-4 (Green 44, Head 97) Woakes gets the nod and celebrates his recall with a juicy one, verging on half-volley, which Head flicks off the pads and away for four. And merrily we roll along.
46th over: Australia 192-4 (Green 44, Head 92) Three squeezed off Root, but narry a boundary.
“The last time I saw a wicket this green,” writes Jonathan Taylor, “was on the Hill at Kirriemuir – the only ground where you can watch the fall of the wicket from JM Barrie’s Camera Obscura…….. Much like this one the only difference between the wicket & the outfield was it had a set of stumps at either end.”
45th over: Australia 189-4 (Green 43, Head 90) Broad again, Root doesn’t’ have much choice tbh. The floodlights are on, and on the lush green bank the crowd lounge about. It’s a jumper evening. Just a single comes off it, as England get a breather. Are we close to the witching hour when the lights take over?The commentators seemed to think its approach was why Australia were going at such a clatter.
44th over: Australia 188-4 (Green 43, Head 89) Rejoice, a maiden (Root).
43rd over: Australia 188-4 (Green 43, Head 89) Broad again. Head slaps him through the covers like a bawdy swipe on a night out – and Broad is frustrated by the fielder who doesn’t move, shrugging passive aggressively. He shows the umpire the ball, bits seems to be coming off it – imagine peeling nail varnish – but any request is turned down. Head is now the leading runscorer of this series, leaping Labuschagne.
“Good morning Tanya,” Hello Tone White! “from cold, severe, S of France, glad to hear Doh-gi has gathered the blankets to get comfortable, it may turn out to be a long hard day in the field after the initial Australian fake collapse.An exhausted English team sent in to chase 472 tomorrow night?”
It’s definitely possible.
42nd over: Australia 184-4 (Green 43, Head 85) Root looks around the field for inspiration.. and bowls himself. Green tickles a single to bring up the hundred partnership in 117 balls. Root eyes betray his feelings. They aren’t joyous.
41st over: Australia 179-4 (Green 42, Head 84) It’s Broad to stem the flow, but Head square drives a fat one right down to the boundary without moving a toe. Green follows suit two balls later and dispatches a full bunger through the covers for four more.
40th over: Australia 169-4 (Green 37, Head 79) Wood doesn’t deliver his first ball, just sprints all the way from the top of his run to mid-way down the pitch. The first genuine delivery though, is a thick edge which flies through the non-existent slip cordon. And so it continues, with Wood not quite finding his line, and Head and Green squeezing and nursing 12 from the over. Frustration is bubbling.
“You got off lightly, Tanya,” says Jane Evans. “My dog just disappeared backwards out the dog door with the cardboard box from which I had just unpacked a new standard lamp so that I can follow the blog under lights. This is an enjoyable end to the series – variety being the spice of life and all that.”
39th over: Australia 152-4 (Green 32, Head 67) Head is making it look remarkably easy on an April green-seamer. An ease here, a nudge there. The ball ruffles Root’s trousers as Sam Billings continues to chat away from behind the stumps, bubbling with enthusiasm, like a glowworm in the darkness.
38th over: Australia 152-4 (Green 32, Head 67) Head picks up four more square off Broad, and that’s eight off the over as they take drinks, on a cloudy afternoon at Hobart. Advantage Australia, I fancy.
37th over: Australia 144-4 (Green 30, Head 61) Root again, and Green shovels the ball past square leg where Robinson (back on the field) collects with the ease of a creaking wheelbarrow.
36th over: Australia 139-4 (Green 26, Head 61) It’s Broad, all Ramboesque in his headband, he growls at Green who isn’t ready for his first missive. He stems the flow of runs – but who is going to provide the fire the other end?
35th over: Australia 138-4 (Green 25, Head 61) Root looks tired and thin as he clutches the pink ball. Australia take a couple as my dog steals her second human blanket, the dog blanket being beneath her.
34th over: Australia 136-4 (Green 24, Head 60) Mark Wood, whose day hasn’t gone to plan, throws himself onto the midwicket boundary to save one. You watch through your fingers – that plywood body has been through so much this tour. The partnership stretches to 53.
Morning Brian Withington!
“If there was one man who should have been first on the England team-sheet when this wicket was revealed, it was surely the legend that is
James Anderson Darren Stevens. I’d back him to get a few jaunty runs on it, too. In passing, is Robinson fit enough for Test cricket?In a series of disappointments, I fear this has all the makings of being the cruellest of all.”
Indeed. “Stevo’s gonna get you” would have been pinging all over the place. And yes, I think Robinson has work to do on his fitness, but, looking on the bright side, there is room for improvement.
33rd over: Australia 131-4 (Green 21, Head 58) Four singles milked off Root.
Fifty for Travis Head!
32nd over: Australia 127-4 (Head 56, Green 19) Morning everyone! Great stuff Jonathan, you’re a natural, you even nudged England from a position of strength to a careworn Joe Root having a bowl after 32 overs. Head goes to his fifty with a flick to fine leg off Woakes, and another through mid–off two balls later. The ECB report that Robinson is off the field with lower back stiffness, but will be back soon.
31st over: Australia 119-4 (Head 48, Green 19) Head is far from orthodox, but he’s nearing another Test half century in the most challenging of conditions. He and Green are coasting right now. Wood is 50/0 from seven overs, which is less than ideal on this pitch. I dare say it’s pretty chilly in Hobart right now, and some of the locals seem suitably well oiled.
29th over: Australia 107-4 (Head 42, Green 17) Head’s Covid scare hasn’t scuppered his natural dash. He’s 42 off 43 balls after striding to the crease at 12-3. Green thick edges a boundary.
28th over: Australia 102-4 (Head 38, Green 12) Things have settled down a bit after the first session pyrotechnics. I’ll shortly pass the baton over to Tanya Aldred in sunny Manchester. Thanks for going easy on me for my first OBO!
27th over: Australia 100-4 (Head 38, Green 10) I clearly went too hard at poor Ollie Robinson. He’s currently off the field and being tended to. It looks like a side strain but I’m not an MD. Australia reach their century.
26th over: Australia 97-4 (Head 37, Green 8) After a wonderful opening spell, Robinson has come out in trundle mode after lunch, and Green duly sends a loosener where it belongs. Head then follows suit. Ollie’s running in like he’s knocked over about three large steaks at lunch. And worryingly, he’s now left the field.
25th over: Australia 88-4 (Head 33, Green 3) We’re back on board, Novak’s been given his marching orders, and Wood is back into the attack. He’s already roughed up Head, and is noticeably tighter than his opening three over spell.
In other news…
If you can bear to peel yourself away from the dinner break, you can follow reaction with our liveblog:
Warren Skaife asks, not unreasonably: “Was Marnus’ dismissal the ugliest seen at any level of cricket?” I once saw a bloke in park cricket swallow a bee, and get run out mid pitch. By the time he’d trudged, off his face had ballooned up threefold. The poor bloke deserved a call back , surely, but local cricket in Australia is pitiless. And yes, it was ugly for Manus, especially as he was seeing them so well.
Lunch! Australia 85-4 (Head 31, Green 2)
The crowd is capped at 11,000, and masks are mandatory, but they’re certainly getting value for money. England made five changes, finally had some luck at the toss, and had the Aussies on the ropes at 12-3. But Labuschagne and Head steadied the ship, before Manus completely botched a fuller Broad delivery, fluffing about like a man with six left feet. An entertaining session and an even contest. I’m off for a coffee.
23rd over: Australia 84-4 (Head 31, Green 1) I’m still coming to terms with Marnus’ dismissal. He was bating so well, and tied himself in about a dozen different knots. Super bowling from Broad, but one of the weirder dismissals you’ll see.
WICKET! Labushagne 44 b Broad (Australia 83-4)
Extraordinary ball from Broad and Marnus makes a right royal mess of it! England are right back in it now.
22nd over: Australia 83-3 (Labuschagne 44, Head 31) Head keeps slashing, riding his luck, and baffling all and sundry with his shot selection. You’re always a chance, no many how many pies you’re throwing at him. But he’s still going at a run a ball.
21st over: Australia 79-3 (Labuschagne44, Head 27) The Labuschagne/Head partnership is now 67. The Aussies looked gone for all money after ten overs but they’ve now taken full control.
20th over: Australia 77-3 (Labuschagne 42, Head 27) Marnus steps down a green, seaming wicket and contemptuously flicks Woakes over mid-wicket for six. He’s seeing them a treat.
19th over: Australia 71-3 (Labuschagne 37, Head 26) Wood is quickly taken off, after conceding 31 from three wobbly overs. A much tighter over from the relieving Broad.
18th over: Australia 68-3 (Labuschagne 37, Head 23) The pitch may be green, but the outfield is outrageously quick. It’s clearly a tough wicket to get a start on, but there’s runs to be had once you get your eye in. The lights are now on, the two Aussies are flaying ‘em, and the visitors are getting frustrated.
17th over: Australia 65-3 (Labuschagne 37, Head 20) An hour ago, it looked like Australia could have be bowling by sundown. But Labuschagne and Head have wrested back control here. Stokes and Wood, teammates at county level, need to get their act together. And England will be ruing dropping Marnus on nought. He’s now 37 from as many balls.
16th over: Australia 50-3 (Labuschagne 26, Head 16) Woakes replaces Robinson and immediately cops a pounding from Head. He’s an old school dasher and is very lucky not to balloon a stinker of a shot to Stokes. You certain do take the good with the bad with Head! Marnus then creams a gift from Woakes for his sixth four. England have to be careful not to cough up their early advantage.