Yes, 6-for-35. Malan and Bairstow were magnificent and flying. Australia were leaking runs and losing their way. Smith was running out of options. Then the left-hander took on Lyon, top-edged, and it was on. Batting with the tail again, Bairstow went from complete control to hectic. His downfall was inevitable. Between times, Moeen edged his second ball. The short ball took care of the bowlers. Now? From nowhere, it is Advantage Australia.
With that news, I’m going to leave you for some lunch. Back shortly. If looking to take your mind off what just happened, have a listen to our chat with Guardian columnist Jason Gillespie from after the Adelaide Test. On a lot more than cricket. He was fantastic.
Broad tries to repeat the smack of the previous over, making room for himself. But gets none of it, spooning Starc straight up in the air, taken by the man at short leg. They have lost their last six wickets for 35. What a shocker. A bit more on that in a tic. It is lunch.
115th over: England 403-9 (Broad 12, Anderson 0) Broad hits a MASSIVE SIX off Hazlewood’s first ball. Big swing, perfect contact. Nearly out of the ground at backward square! 104 metres! Whoa! Pushes England to 400 as well. Not the way they fancied getting there, but that’s old news now. Off strike to fine leg, leaving Jimmy with three balls to see off. The barrage continues, Paine doing very well to save four byes when the bowler misdirects. Finishes with a yorker. Anderson up to the task.
114th over: England 396-9 (Broad 5, Anderson 0) An hour ago England were hoping for 500, now they will be lucky to get 400. Especially if Starc gets it on the stumps. Has a great record doing just that to the tail. Not initially though, Broad backing away and Starc following him with a bouncer. He still managed to lob it over mid-off though, so well played, I guess. Nearly makes it to the rope, in the end they get three. A bit of confusion nearly creates a run out, but they’re still there. Starc continues to short approach, Anderson going inside the line each time in order to leave outside leg by the time the ball arrives. Ducks a bouncer to finish. Bit of a waste there, for mine.
Sam Howard captures the sentiment of my inbox. “Ridiculous. England, having been brilliant all day yesterday, have unstitched all of it in the last 30 minutes. 5 for 25. England should have been at least 450. It’s the hope…”
He’s fended a bumper straight into the air, Bancroft completing the catch at short leg. It was on the cards, Broad twice flirting with the man under the lid earlier in the set. Fantastic, accurate short bowling from the Australian. England have lost 5-for-25. Lunch will be delayed, with the visitors nine down. What a mess.
113th over: England 393-9 (Broad 2, Anderson 0)
112nd over: England 392-8 (Overton 2, Broad 1) Customary boos for Stuart Broad as he arrives. He’s away with a pull behind square. As is Overton, pushing to cover for a couple. Starc goes by his outside edge next up. That’s really moved. A crack, maybe? Good batting from Overton to get his bat out of the way of the final ball of the over.
Oh, and sorry to all those I dismissed earlier for predicting an inevitable England collapse. You were right, I was wrong.
YJB misses a flick, inside edging onto middle stump. Stump out of the ground. His first ball back into the attack and straight into the book. Tremendous innings, but another poor dismissal. “He wouldn’t have played that shot half an hour ago when batting with Malan,” observes Simon Katich on radio. Not wrong. The collapse is 4/21. England could be all out by lunch and the Waca crowd know it.
Another wonderful catch! Cummins resting down at fine leg makes significant ground, coming forward to complete the take on his knees. It was a flick off the hips from Woakes, he made good contact, but that matters little now. England lose three wickets in a hurry. 15 minutes to lunch. Uh oh.
111th over: England 389-7 (Bairstow 119, Overton 0)
110th over: England 384-6 (Bairstow 118, Woakes 4) Cummins gets progressively shorter as the over goes on. Woakes is confident enough to have a lash at the fuller stuff, a bit of luck required off an edge but it is another boundary. Plenty of those this morning. Off the mark. By the end of the over he is around the wicket to, sure enough, bounce him.
“In a world where the conspiring forces of last night’s poor decisions and poorly managed deadlines have left me pulling an all-nighter while still feeling the nauseating effects of cheap alcohol,” begins Adam Giles, “it appears that a fantastically verbose coverage of what’s setting out to be a very interesting day is all that is keeping me tethered to sanity. Many thanks. Returning to Robert Wilson’s romantic musings, I’ve always felt that English-Aussie sporting relations have all the intensity of English-Scottish or Aussie-Kiwi, but with not quite so much malice. The underlying (yet often begrudging) respect that underlies such a rivalry is what defines the Ashes, and shows itself best when, regardless of the result, Day 5 stumps is very shortly followed by sharing of the local watering holes. You lads and ladies down under may often be the ones we love to hate, but are just as often the ones we hate to admit that we love. Here’s to a thrilling test.” Well said.
109th over: England 380-6 (Bairstow 118, Woakes 0) Hazlewood is back from the Prindiville Stand End. Good shout. Lyon’s done the job, but have to back the quicks in here. Would have worked immediately if a third slip was there, Bairstow edging a drive. Instead, four goes onto his score. Important he finds a way to do what Smith and Marsh did in the first two tests and eeks out a meaningful lower-order stand. Oh, not with that he won’t, a loose waft beating his edge. But he’s back into stride by the end of the over, securing a second boundary with a far more convincing stroke, carving past point.
108th over: England 372-6 (Bairstow 110, Woakes 0) Woakes gets a bumper first up. Well directed. Ducks competently. Has himself a job to do here. A man around at leg gully, and he’s into the game with the new man fending a second short one. Every ball is into his body. Does well to defend and evade. Wicket maiden.
Brian Withington is here and loving it. Or at least he was when writing this note a couple of overs ago. “What a bloody marvellous moment to see not so YJB score and celebrate his first Ashes century. Don’t need to be an England supporter to appreciate that, just a pulse. Wiping a small tear…”
Two wickets in four balls! Moeen steers to Smith at second slip, it’s a soft dismissal, and it is game on. Catching practice. A bit of extra bounce maybe, but not that’s all there is. High on the bat, no mistake made by the captain in the cordon. Five minutes ago this was getting ugly for Australia, now they are very much back in business with half an hour to lunch.
107th over: England 372-5 (Bairstow 110, Moeen 0) Lyon finishes the set to Bairstow, as they crossed. And he gets a boundary tickled to fine leg. Eventful over. And Pete Handscomb jobs to the boundary rope, his little cameo has gone wonderfully. The crowd give him a round of applause as well. He responds with a thumbs up.
From nowhere! Malan tries to take Lyon down the ground but gets a fat leading edge. A magnificent snaffle from Peter Handscomb, the dropped batsman on the field as a sub and taking the catch with a full-stretch dive. Huge standing ovation for the dismissed man. Poor way to get out, “had Australia on their knees” according to Chris Rogers. But that doesn’t diminish his masterful hand.
106th over: England 368-4 (Malan 140, Bairstow 106) Cummins into his fifth over of this spell by my count. Might need a blow. His pace is still there, a couple of bouncers banged in there at either end of the over. Between times, Bairstow plucks a couple through midwicket. Four maidens to begin this morning, only one since.
105th over: England 366-4 (Malan 140, Bairstow 104) Three more easy singles, on the legside. Nothing doing at all for Lyon here.
104th over: England 363-4 (Malan 139, Bairstow 102) Cummins starts short then beings the length up to Malan. But a tad too straight, allowing a clip to midwicket. Bairstow does likewise. The dot ball pressure from the first four overs today now long gone. Ticking it over with relative ease.
“Hope you are doing fine in these dark dark times,” emails Stephen Cryan. “Just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone out there.” Alone, Together.
103rd over: England 361-4 (Malan 138, Bairstow 101) Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Nathan Nathan-Lyon) for his first twist of the day, replacing Marsh. By the end of the summer all the kids will be saying it. Promise. Speaking of, I saw a teenager out the front before play with a t-shirt reading “SMOKING WINNIES, DRINKING TINNIES” with a picture of Warne with a fag in his gob. A couple to Malan, on the front foot driving, to begin. That’s the intent we heard about pre-match when addressing the offie. Another to point, then YJB clips one too. Malan picks up a fifth run in the over to mid-on. “They look in no trouble,” says Chris Rogers on the radio. “This is why they picked Mitch Marsh, because Nathan Lyon cannot control the run-rate the same way at the WACA.” He’s reminded that Marsh has gone for plenty today as well. But his point is sound. This was the venue where Lyon’s confidence took a battering last year.
Robert Wilson before we return:
“I know what Patrick O’Brien (91st Over) is saying but, as a Mick, I’d say that Pom self-deprecation is both comfortable and organic. And played for laughs. The real secret of the Aussie/Brit hypertension is that it is the ghastliest schoolboy crush in politico-cultural history.
In the chill English evenings, I’ve often seen some random Aussie playing the whole downunder deck, going full ocker – despite their PHD in Comparative Philosophy from the Sorbonne. No matter how loudly, obnoxiously or preposterously they play it, there’s never one solitary Brit there who does not desperately pant and pine for the blithe arm around the shoulder and the fulsomely drawled (and richly surprised) You’re awright, mate. It’s very touching but you guys need to get a room.”
102nd over: England 356-4 (Malan 134, Bairstow 100) A more sedade set here. Cummins to Bairstow, defending then ducking. Very good bumper to finish. Maiden. Have a drink, fellas. I will too.
101st over: England 356-4 (Malan 134, Bairstow 100) Short, back, cut, four! Mash cannot bowl there to Bairstow, who is seeing them beautifully. Two behind square makes 99. And there it is! What a wonderful ton! Pulled behind square to get the single he needs. Leaps into the air. THEN HEADBUTTS HIS HELMET IN CELEBRATION! OH, THAT IS BRILLIANT! Take a bow, YJB. Malan joins in the celebration with a slash behind point for four to third man to end the over. “That was junk,” says Nannes of the offering. England making it count. They have put on 225, the highest England stand ever at the WACA. “Heady times,” adds Ali Mitchell.
100th over: England 345-4 (Malan 130, Bairstow 93) Cummins again. After watching a couple, Malan throws his hands at one outside the off-stump and it runs away to the third man boundary. Everything coming up England here. Now a couple of byes, Paine unable to glove cleanly. He’s in the action again next up with a high bouncer. Australia hanging in there, but they need something to break their way. Not with that it won’t, some rare trash here from Cummins, Malan cutting with easy behind point for another boundary. Ten from the over. Positively racing! “They’re bowling one or two bad balls an over,” says Dirk Nannes on ABC. “And they are being punished for it.” Sure are.
99th over: England 335-4 (Malan 122, Bairstow 93) Mitchell Marsh into the act from the Prindiville Stand End. Malan off strike straight away with a clip. JB’s turn. He does the same, for two, bringing up the 200 partnership. What a brilliant stand. When they came together it was hot and heaving with Australia’s quicks doing as they pleased. Now, England are well ahead in this Test. To celebrate, Bairstow goes again with glorious timing past square leg. Just a flick of the wrists, but races to the rope. Into the 90s now. That was quick.
98th over: England 328-4 (Malan 121, Bairstow 87) Cummins replaces Starc at our Lillee-Marsh End. So close to our commentary position that I feel like I can push him to begin his long run. Such a beautiful approach. Like a sprinter out of the blocks. Said to Geoff the other week when he was on the OBO tools that I can imagine him running the 100m at the Olympics one day. He probably could. That kind of bloke. Oh, I better keep a lid on it though because as I type Bairstow has gone bang, bang! First through covers with ease, no risk of him overhitting anything this morning. Then repeats the dose, with a touch more gusto. Superly timed.
“My boss carried on drinking with me to 2am for the office do,” explains Dave Brown. “Should I stay up for a few hours reading your fine summary in this enthralling session and hope there’ll be no come back going into work late? Do I have a free pass? It’s the Ashes after all!!” If you don’t, you’re out of the family. Stick with us all night. Roll in ragged. It’s the only way.
97th over: England 320-4 (Malan 121, Bairstow 79) Short, short, full. Hazlewood’s plan is clear. Malan’s approach sound. Into his groove now, the left-hander pulls a couple through midwicket then a couple more driven through cover. One hand off the bat though, watching the replay. Hazlewood spot on here.
96th over: England 316-4 (Malan 117, Bairstow 79) Yes, Dave. Malan gets a full swing in at a full and fast Starc delivery, driven through cover. Mad skillz. The bumper follows, naturally enough. Then the yorker again to end, Malan less comfortable this time, barely getting an inside edge. Through his legs for a single though, so he’ll keep the strike.
“I think I am the only patron of the 720 bus from ucla to koreatown currently following your coverage,” believes Ian Copestake. My challenge: get another to click through. You can do it. “Grind out the century, Jonny B!” I predict he’ll do just that. Go Jonny go go.
95th over: England 311-4 (Malan 112, Bairstow 79) Shot. Bairstow leans onto the front foot and strokes Hazlewood through the gap at cover. Not really there to drive either, making it look all the prettier, on the up. The bowler finds the edge later in the over, but with soft hands it drops well in front of the cordon.
94th over: England 306-4 (Malan 111, Bairstow 75) Runs! Well, a run anyway! Took 27 balls for England to open their account this morning, through a single to fine leg as Malan jams out a Starc yorker. Another short delivery that really takes off, Paine taking it high above his head. This is hard yakka. It’s YJB’s first look at Starc today and he gets a full and straight one too. Juuuuust keeps it out with a little edge. And another! Not the most convincing defensive stroke. Excellent early contest.
93rd over: England 305-4 (Malan 110, Bairstow 75) Make that four maidens. Defending, leaving, ducking, driving. Hazlewood gets the final delivery to crash into Bairstow’s hip, or thereabouts.
“I am sitting in Port Moresby reading your wonderful coverage,” writes Tom McPhee. Most kind. Hi Tom. “I simply had to say thank you to Paris Bob Wilson; what a wonderful comment. My hat is off to him for such an evocative short piece, and add that it is surely a wonderful example of why twitter is so limited. As a native of WA a long way from the clear bright air of Perth, I have to tell you that I take a an slightly perverse sense of pride in my home being described in such a fashion, particularly by an Englishman.” He does it better than, well, probably anyone.
“I look forward to the forthcoming descriptions of England’s inevitable and lamentable collapse with glee, and expect it will be completed before I have had the time to mix my afternoon gin and tonic in 2 hours hence (to keep the malaria at bay of course).”
92nd over: England 305-4 (Malan 110, Bairstow 75) Starc running away from us here building up some serious speed. Before the leg before shout he won Malan’s inside edge. After the review he has to keep another yorker out. “He’s not timing it,” says Vic Marks next to me. Three maidens to begin.
Nick Bron writes in on the elephant in the room: the torrential rain reportedly heading Perth’s way on Sunday. “Don’t tell the Aussies I’m saying this but looking at the forecast, England need 500, then bowl out Australia under 300, force the follow on and knock em over for 200.” Easy peasy, then.
Great to have Victoria’s Attorney-General, Marty Pakula, with us over in the Inverarity Stand. He loves this stuff. The Waca is a top away day if you can handle the heat. Have wonderful memories flying over here for a frolic during the 2010 Ashes Test.
NOT OUT! Nup. That’s a bad review. It is missing by more than a stump down the legside. They lose their second referral. England still have both in hand.
HAS STARC TRAPPED MALAN? Not out on the field, but they’re very confident after the left-armer’s yorker slipped under the bat. We’re going upstairs!
91st over: England 305-4 (Malan 110, Bairstow 75) Hazlewood was Australia’s best yesterday, for mine. He’s at it from the Prinvidille Stand End. Makes YJB play from the get-go, beating him with a tidy delivery that does a bit off the seam. We’re only 11 overs into the new ball, so after a good rest this should be a lively hour or so. Back to back maidens.
“Surely Paris Bob should know that the Poms’ level of self-loathing is such that they hate themselves even more than the Aussies do,” emails Patrick O’Brien. My experience, too. So bloody hard on yourselves.
90th over: England 305-4 (Malan 110, Bairstow 75) A fully from Starc to begin, but Malan doesn’t have a go. He stays full, landing a yorker with the penultimate offering, before going upstairs to finish off. Gets serious bounce, nearly making it over Tim Paine’s head as he did a couple of times yesterday. Maiden.
Pot pouri. Settle in. We’re nearly there.
In the back of an uber to the Waca. Not quite a Paul Kelly lyric, is it? But what I can tell you now that I couldn’t before is that it’s hot! Not, as Bob puts it below, melt through your strides stuff. But not eerily mild either, as it was yesterday. No clouds either. Gorgeous. Ten minutes from the re-start. Buckle up.
Paris Bob Wilson, tell us a story. “Sainted Adam, (Lovely piece about the quicks earlier),” thanks Robert. Take it away…
“I’ve been thinking about we Northern Europeans’ and our dread and delight in the WACA. Sure, Adelaide’s lovely, everyone likes Sydney but Perth is the one that makes us tell stories around the campfire. It says something troubling about us that it hits our sweet spot so. Because the WACA is all about Australia being just awful. In a country where the butterflies can kill you and the fieldmice have Kalashnikovs, there’s a cricket ground where it’s so hot your trousers catch fire and it’s so fast and bouncy that a broken jaw or nose is an absolute blessed outcome. AND it has a wind that is ominously called the Doctor. In this hellish place, a conscienceless society allows its most carnivorous and indefatigably disobliging men to project hard missiles at middle-aged and affable Englishmen and everyone applauds mightily. You try telling that to a continental and they just stare at you. So, my questions is this; why do we like it so much?”
Opening to the batting on the email. Is a cynical Simon Powell. “Excited for today, but (sadly) we all know what happens in the first hour, don’t we…” Wash your mouth out. Malan proved the tough stuff is he made of yesterday. He was in lovely form at the press conference too, talking about the emotions of getting to a ton and all the sacrifices his parents made for him to live the dream. Well played. I’m backing him for a Daddy Ton.
Yesterday’s nine over love letter to the Waca. A lot of people below the line are screaming at me for not saying more about England, but this is a tribute to how well they did to survive one of the most brutal periods of Test cricket I’ve ever witnessed.
I missed something. I feel like we have a lot to talk about. Share it all. Just photocopyied your body at your work Christmas do? That’s still what people do, isn’t it? Send me a screenshot. In the old money or the new, I’m here for you. Tell me about it.
This is usually the bit where I reveal what a brilliant/dreadful day it is outside. But I’ll level with you: I’m yet to open the curtains of my Perth hotel room. Because last night our circuit ended at The Avenue. Nobody poured a pint over me. I didn’t headbutt anyone (other than for photos). But there we have it. My line and length will come, it might just take an over or two.
I went along with OBO regular Will Macpherson, who is writing about the experience, in great depth, for Another Place. So I won’t cut his grass too badly with the nitty gritty. But needless to say, I HAVE NO EARTHLY IDEA WHY THE ENGLAND TEAM KEEP GOING BACK. No (current) players were there last night though, I can confirm, even if Davey Dawid Malan and Mark Stoneman earned a night on the tiles.
Wasn’t yesterday great? I was in my element grinning like an idiot telling strangers why the hour after lunch was some of the best Test cricket I’ve ever seen. More of the same today. We should be so lucky. Can’t wait to join with Tim de Lisle to bring it all to you on the mighty OBO.
Adam will be here shortly. In the meantime, here’s Ali Martin on the tremendous knock that has put England in a decent position heading into day two at the Waca.