39th over: Australia 212-5 (Stonis 11, Paine 2) Woakes on for his third crack today. Has four overs to squeeze out after struggling earlier on. Well, doesn’t concede a boundary in this set, so that’s an improvement. Five from it in the smaller denominations.
38th over: Australia 207-5 (Stonis 7, Paine 1) Paine the new man, playing his first ODI in nearly seven years. What a great story his summer has been. Off the mark through the covers, then Stonis finds one to midwicket in order to keep the strike.
Straight through him! A well-directed top spinner that crashed into leg stump. Marsh tried to make room and flay though the off-side, but without the turn he was playing for got himself all cramped up by the time the ball arrived.
37th over: Australia 205-4 (M Marsh 50, Stonis 6) Wood gives Stonis something to hit on his pads and he doesn’t miss out behind square for a boundary. The Australian 200 up with it. To finish the over, Marsh pushes to point to complete his half-century in 66 balls. Entered with Australia having plenty of work to do in the middle overs and handled the situation well.
36th over: Australia 198-4 (M Marsh 48, Stonis 1) Marcus Stonis! In his first ODI at home after impressing away since they last played on Australian soil. This could be fun. I can imagine these two becoming the Bash Brothers of this team leading into the World Cup campaign of 2019. He’s off the mark first ball through square leg. That’s Moeen Ali done, finishing with 1-39 from his ten. Bowled nicely.
Finch holes out to midwicket. Lost a bit of control in the over, playing and missing making room, suggesting that he was tiring a bit after a superb ton. Doesn’t get enough on the stroke that finishes his stay, Bairstow does the rest in the deep under the shadow of the Ponsford Stand. A well-earned wicket for Moeen Ali.
35th over: Australia 196-3 (Finch 107, M Marsh 47) Hooray! Mark Wood is back! The first two runs (of the three) in the over come from thigh pads, giving a sense of the pace he is able to generate. Finch pulls another short one to fine leg, keeping the strike.
“I saw your computer crashed when poor Ali bowled,” notes Ian Copestake. “Perhaps a case of “Mind the browser window, Moeen.” Very good. Miss you, Tino.
34th over: Australia 193-3 (Finch 106, M Marsh 47) Great response from Moeen after back to back overs from the other end went for 13 each. Finch took a single to square leg first ball, but the off-breaker tied Marsh to the crease thereafter, recording five dots.
33rd over: Australia 192-3 (Finch 105, M Marsh 47) Here he goes! What a way to do it! 112 balls to get to the ton, raised with a towering strike over long-on. He’s played some excellent innings for his country but this would be one of the very best. Was out of the ODI team this time last year, but there’s no doubting his place right now. Marsh has a crack at the other end of the over, smashing Rashid straight over his head, splitting long-off and long-on for four more. Bad error to leave the leggie on there, I reckon. They’ve put on 114. This could get ugly.
32nd over: Australia 179-3 (Finch 97, M Marsh 42) Moeen again getting through these overs with a minimum of fuss. Four singles. Finch not given a chance to swing his arms to 100. Won’t hesitate when the opportunity is presented.
31st over: Australia 175-3 (Finch 95, M Marsh 40) BOOM, BOOM! SIX, SIX! One each for the Australian pair, who are really getting away from England now. Marsh gets back in the crease to slap Rashid flat over midwicket. Finch then lifts him over long-on for another! He’s both into the 90s and half way through them in the space of a shot. The biggest over of the innings, 13 from it. Mark Wood. Get him on. Now.
30th over: Australia 162-3 (Finch 89, M Marsh 33) Runs from every ball of this Moeen over, but five singles and a brace. Four of those shots to long-on. Ebony Rainford-Brent on TMS wants to see Mark Wood have a two over burst to get into the Australians. Given he has five left, I don’t mind that either. I missed before that Finch has reached 3000 ODI runs.
29th over: Australia 155-3 (Finch 85, M Marsh 30) Radhid on for Woakes, who has been dragged after a couple of overs this time. They will need to get him through his ten through, with only five frontline bowlers. Right? Ah yes, Aaron Finch sweeping. Gee he’s done that well today. Beats the man at the 45 with more control and timing. Well on his way. Can’t wait to tweet all sorts of Chris Finch nonsense when he gets to 100. Tradition is tradition. Four other singles to the sweepers. Moeen outbowling him today.
28th over: Australia 147-3 (Finch 79, M Marsh 28) Moeen has gone for 25 from his six overs, which England would take. Hasn’t conceded a boundary. Four singles here to the sweepers at midwicket and long on. Bowling to his field.
27th over: Australia 143-3 (Finch 77, M Marsh 26) Too straight from Woakes, who is battling here today. Finch does’t miss out, helping the ball on its way to the fine leg rope. He’s then down to third man for one, Marsh doing the same through cover. Nice little stand this, worth 65 in 78 balls.
26th over: Australia 134-3 (Finch 71, M Marsh 23) Just a couple of singles from the Moeen over. I’d like to tell you more about it, but my browser crashed half way through.
25th over: Australia 132-3 (Finch 70, M Marsh 22) Woakes back for his second shift of the day. Singles taken by both players early in the set through the leg side. Later, Finch launches into a full-blooded pull shot that gets to the rope in no time at all. His 8th boundary to go with the six as he moves into the 70s. “Good morning Adam.” G’day’ Johnny Starbuck. “Nice to see the OBO is still the same shape, not squashed up and budgy like the not so Big Paper is going to be. Also nice to see a good start by England. It’s a long while since I could write that.” Give it a chance.
24th over: Australia 125-3 (Finch 64, M Marsh 21) BIG AGAIN! Marsh has played Moeen cautiously. Until now. The off-spinner threw it up and the West Australian responded with a full swing of the bat. It has travelled 97 metres according to the TV. Yup, have that. Brings a brief delay as they try and locate the ball within the black tarps alongside the sightscreen.
23rd over: Australia 118-3 (Finch 63, M Marsh 15) Plunkett into his sixth over now from the southern end. Nothing much going on here, three singles, all off the pads. The England quick keeping them honest with a nice straight line at a decent clip.
22nd over: Australia 115-3 (Finch 61, M Marsh 14) DROPPED! Moeen’s full toss is hit back to him by Finch, but too quickly to take cleanly. The third half chance in the field for England so far in the innings. Need one to stick to really get stuck into the home side’s lower order. “Anyone else impressed by Jimmy Anderson’s commentating on the BBC?” asks Martin Wrght. “Not as cocky as Michael Vaughan, not as fond of his own jokes as Graeme Swann. A new career beckons?” Yup, he is excellent.
21st over: Australia 111-3 (Finch 59, M Marsh 11) They are known as the accumlation overs, but Australia aren’t doing a lot of that right now, Plunkett back into the attack and conceding only a single and a wide. Could easily have added his second wicket too, Marsh diving full-stretch at cover to snaffle a wayward drive from Marsh. Came within about a foot or so of dragging it in.
20th over: Australia 109-3 (Finch 59, M Marsh 11) Marsh quite conservative against Moeen. Doesn’t need a lot of balls to leave a lasting mark on a game, but taking his time for now. Down the ground for a single at the back end of the over, Finch flaying a couple through cover as well.
Remember the Bay 13 I described before play? Not so much these days. All of those bays now devoted to what the marketing types have dubbed ‘The Lawn’.
19th over: Australia 106-3 (Finch 57, M Marsh 10) Big! That’s a nice way to celebrate getting to 50, smacking Rashid over the long-on fence from down on one knee. Consider the strength and timing needed to pull that off. Finch made a ton against England the last time they played on this ground in the 2015 World Cup. He has to be every chance of doing the same today. Singles exchanged down the ground making eight for the over.
18th over: Australia 98-3 (Finch 50, M Marsh 9) Moeen is on. Finch is still comfortable, cutting a couple then turning another. Marsh less so, beaten outside the line. But then does drive him straight. Finch again, through midwicket for one to keep the strike and bring up his half-century. 65 balls to get there, seven boundaries along the way. By far Australia’s most settled player so far.
17th over: Australia 93-3 (Finch 46, M Marsh 8) Finch doing very little wrong here, getting down low to sweep Rashid through the air and to the rope at square leg. Smashed that. Gives Marsh the strike later in the over, who is happy enough defending while he plays himself in.
16th over: Australia 88-3 (Finch 41, M Marsh 8) Marsh lucky not to fall to the pace of Plunkett, gloving down the legside but just away from the gloves of Buttler. To the boundary it goes. Better to finish the over, middling a clip to the sweeper for a couple. They grab a drink.
15th over: Australia 80-3 (Finch 41, M Marsh 1) Well, only two from it as both Marsh then Finch pick out fielders instead of gaps with their drives. For England’s part, they have picked up two wickets and conceded 27 runs in the last five overs.
“A dream come true for me to see England play at the MCG today,” emails Nick Saint. “There is a real buzz around Mark Wood’s pace in the stadium from the Aussies, they seem impressed. I’m impressed with a$30 entrance fee for great seats. ECB take note, free to air, cheap to watch and I see plenty of kids playing cricket in the park.”
Well said. I said to Vish when we were walking in earlier that I’ve been to the MCG hundreds and hundreds of times, but it remains meaningful every time.
NOT OUT! It’s a beautiful googly, completely deceiving Finch, but it has spun a long way and missed by about two stumps width according to ball tracker.
HAS RASHID TRAPPED FINCH? We’re going upstairs to find out. Morgan reviews!
Chop on! Was problematic for the Australians in the Test Match here and their white-ball number four has dragged the last ball of Plunkett’s over back onto his woodwork. Not a lot of footwork there, trying to carve through point. “A really energetic start from England,” says Jimmy Anderson on TMS.
14th over: Australia 78-3 (Finch 41, M Marsh 0)
13th over: Australia 76-2 (Finch 40, Head 5) Shot. Head leans into a wider Rashid delivery and beats the man at cover. Doesn’t take long for the South Australian captain to get busy.
12th over: Australia 68-2 (Finch 37, Head 0) Wood has been replaced by Plunkett, who has swung around to the Members End after one over from the southern. Lovely work from Finch pulling well enough to beat the sweeper to the rope. Struck that so well. Less so next up, edging through slip! Very catchable height, but no catchers in place for him at this stage. Infuriating for the bowler. “It’s the job of the bowler there,” says Jimmy Anderson on TMS. “The bowler has a responsibility as well as the captain.” Of course, the edge went to the rope making ten from the over.
11th over: Australia 58-2 (Finch 27, Head 0) Rashid nearly gets Head first ball too! A neat top spinner, beating the left-hander’s outside edge – but only just.
Smith is out! Rashid has done it! A pretty ordinary first set from the leggie including a couple of wides, but it matters little as he’s won the breakthrough that matters most. Not a huge amount of turn but the flight did Smith who was prodding well outside off stump.
10th over: Australia 52-1 (Finch 26, Smith 21) The case for Wood to keep going was clear, but this is the first of his overs where the Australians have looked at ease with five of the six deliveries scored off. Punctuated with a Smith clip, making the most of a full toss. Wood follows that with another good bouncer, but Smith has the time to help it down to fine leg for one. That might be his fill for now. 52 runs in the power play. Steady.
9th over: Australia 43-1 (Finch 25, Smith 13) Yep, there is a change from the GSS End, and it’s Liam Plunkett. Another England quick who could have played in the Tests had he been fit when they were looking for a Steve Finn replacement way back when. He’s straight at Finch, short of a length and into his gloves. Picks up a couple to midwicket, but nothing else. One over left in the power play but Finch in no hurry, suggesting that it is fairly tough going out there. Where was this pitch three weeks ago?
8th over: Australia 41-1 (Finch 23, Smith 13) Superb bowling! Wood beats Finch with a masterful delivery that squares up the opener. Not much he could do about that. Very lucky not to feather it behind. Only a single from it, down to fine leg off the final ball.
7th over: Australia 40-1 (Finch 22, Smith 13) Smith up the gears very quickly here. A couple behind square got him moving in the right direction, but it was his pull shot next ball really got the blood pumping. Two more clipping to midwicket with lovely timing before launching into a lavish cover drive making 12 runs for the over for the Australian captain. Might be a change from that end next up.
6th over: Australia 28-1 (Finch 22, Smith 1) All happening! Wood twice falls over in his follow through to begin, causing him to start yelling at the pitch. Smith tucks the second of those fine for one. Up against Smith, he’s bowled another perfect bouncer. Just as it was in the previous over, Finch was nowhere near it. To the opener’s credit, he kept his cool and pulled the next short ball behind square for four. Into the 20s.
5th over: Australia 23-1 (Finch 18, Smith 0) Woakes sprays his first one. Not quite on the mark here so far from the Great Southern Stand End. Better later in the over, finding Finch’s leading edge, but not in the air. Grabs a couple behind square to finish the over. That means Wood vs Smith next over from the get-go. Grab the popcorn. Fair to say twitter is exploding over Wood’s 12 balls so far.
4th over: Australia 20-1 (Finch 16, Smith 0) Another rapid bouncer at 90mph from Wood that goes straight through Finch who was trying to pull but was nowhere near it. Nice, soft hands to run down to third man that again gives Smith one ball to look at. BIG SHOUT FOR LBW! But turned down. He’s through the Aussie captain with raw pace again, crashing into his back pad. But Morgan doesn’t go upstairs. Looked a very good shout but probably too high to chance it. This is fantastic stuff.
“So we see the third explanation in as many weeks for why Maxwell isn’t in the side,” emails Scott Probst. “I think Maxi is better off making millions playing IPL and such and forgetting about the Australian selectors.” You couldn’t blame him if he did. But he won’t, because his Test dream is still very real. He wants that more than anything.
3rd over: Australia 17-1 (Finch 13, Smith 0) A couple of leg byes to begin, Buttler diving after the deflection came off Finch’s thigh. More convincing later in the over when Woakes again gives the Victorian some width, timing it nicely behind point. Some determined fielding from Roy might have just stopped the boundary, but they run four anyway. Keeps the strike clipping fine. He’s settled well.
2nd over: Australia 10-1 (Finch 8, Smith 0) Smith defends the one ball he has to see in the Wood over. Serious fast bowling, up around the 90mph mark. Cue the headlines asking where he was during the Ashes series.
That was on the cards! England’s lack of pace such a focus through the Test series, but Mark Wood hurried up Warner on three occasions in the set getting the shoulder of the left-hander’s bat, lobbing high into the air with Root doing the rest at slip. That’s wonderful fast bowling. Bumped Warner to begin, then had him miscuing to cover point with Morgan unable to drag in a spectacular catch. It didn’t matter, the snorter coming two balls later to finish the job. England are away with a huge scalp.
1st over: Australia 8-0 (Finch 8, Warner 0) Shot! First ball of the game on-driven superbly by Aaron Finch. What a lovely way to begin. Then again through point! Really given that a whack, super timing. That’ll do.
Righto. After the anthems (sung from on top of the scoreboard) Aaron Finch and David Warner are racing out to start their work. Chris Woakes has the ball. PLAY!
Last time they met. Plunkett and Rashid took four apiece, then Stokes made a wonderful ton, to eliminate Australia from the Champions Trophy at the group stage. That was back in July. Looking back at it, quite a fun day with the Birmingham locals lapping it up. The players are out on the field for the formalities, including an Indigenous welcome followed by the national anthems.
Morgan on BBC. “I would like to think that we stay true to what we believe in, which is a positive and aggressive game,” the England captain said. He added that it will he tough adapting to the conditions as it always is playing away, but it won’t change their style. Believes the big numbers of England players in the BBL helps with that.
Smith on ABC. “I did think that they would bowl,” he said of the toss. “We probably would have done the same. It’s a bit tacky but it’ll harden up pretty quickly so we’re not hat disappointed.” Reflected on the poor year they had in the format in 2017 and noted the good opportunity it is start 2018 against a strong England side.
Team sheets. If you’re into the old-fashioned things that they are. Never change.
Opening the batting on the email. Peter Rowntree. G’day. “Like you looking forward to the upcoming ODI series. Always before a series like this some thoughts about its consequences. This time, if England lose badly, and recent history is not on their side, it is likely that Trevor Bayliss’s position would come under even more scrutiny following the poor Ashes series. Interesting too, to see how a completely different bowling attack will fare and the impact it could have back on the original Ashes selections. Can’t help but feel that Aussie conditions are very much suited to the bowling styles of ‘Our Adil’ and ‘Pudsey’ and both likley to do well in this series.”
Bowling first with two spinners is a bit funky. I’m into it. Then again, I was into Joe Root popping Australia in at Adelaide as well.
Andrew Benton is with us as well. “Hope England can justify the investments this time round. Must be tough for the players, they’re away from the UK (and their families?) for a hugely long stretch. Will Moeen have a chance to get back his Mojo? Will Steve Smith get his come-uppance? Will the technology help or hinder the umpiring decisions?”
Yes. No. Yes. They’ve missed a good opportunity here to automate (via the third umpire) the no-balls as they did in the 2016 trial with England and Pakistan. I’ll stop banging on about this one day.
Australian XI: David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Smith (c), Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Adam Zampa, Andrew Tye.
England XI: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Alex Hales, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (c), Jos Buttler (wk), Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Liam Plunkett, Mark Wood
Don’t see that at Melbourne very often. I’ll grab some comments from the skipper in a tic where I’m sure he’ll explain his decision. Teams coming too. Australia have picked Andrew Tye for debut, that much we know from the cap presentation on the ground.
Dress ups. Over the last decade the ODI series in Australia has morphed into a giant dress up party (CA’s words). Can be a bit hit and miss with crowds having fallen away quite considerably in this format over that same period of time. But I do remember the glory days well. Especially today’s corresponding fixture in 1998-99. On that night, there was 90,000 into the ‘G and we were wild. Warney was captain. Flemmo bowled beautifully. Mark Waugh batted like a dream. I was in heaven.
The night is most well known for when the acting skipper had to run down to tell the old Bay 13 (where I was carrying on, of course) to stop pelting England players with cups during the Mexican Wave. He chucked on the gold helmet and went to work. I feel a bit like Kevin Arnold narrating a Wonder Years episode.
We’re finally here. The series that England came 10,000 miles to win this summer. Yep, we’re into the One Day Internationals! Adam Collins with you here to bring you all the action from the first innings at the MCG. After it really chucked it down with rain for 24 hours yesterday, it’s dry and humid today. So there should be no issues for getting away on time in about 70 minutes from now.
I still get a kick out of 50-over cricket, so I’m quite looking forward to this. Sometimes these series can feel a bit after the Lord Mayor’s Show, but with a World Cup around the corner (in England next year) this has a fair bit riding on it.
Especially the hosts. Australia will be defending that trophy when the time comes, but their form with the white ball is patchy at best over the last couple of years. In their most recent series, a four of India last October, Steve Smith’s men were comfortably beaten 4-1.
As for England, they were an absolute lock to win the Champions Trophy last year. Until, that is, they were smashed by Pakistan in the semi-final from nowhere really. On their day, the most aggressive side in the world. Great fun to watch. Hopefully, they can put on a show.
Vish is up in the press box with me here, writing the series for the paper. He’s penned a nice scene-setter overnight about the journey of Eoin Morgan’s side since the last time they played ODIs on Australian soil – the 2015 World Cup debacle. What they have now but didn’t last time around? Confidence, man. And plenty of it.
Adam will be here shortly. In the meantime, have a read of his report on how Australia’s Steve Smith has winning the Ashes in England on his bucket list. And some ODI series preview business:
Oh and then there’s this Joy of Six on 10th-wicket stands.