7th over: Australia 42-1 (Finch 17, Marsh 19) Wood done very little wrong with a delivery short of a length at Marsh on his off-stump, but the left-hander gets on the front foot and hits down the ground at the top of the bounce for four. Shot. Then another from a ball that did deserve it, feeding Marsh on his hip with the clip skipping across the practice wickets to the square leg rope. [commentary cliche] You get value for your shots square of the wicket at The Oval [/commentary cliche].
“Maximum respect for your promoting the great cause of restoring the mighty Bopster!” emails Brian Withington. “Quite apart from all his runs he is still a superb fielder and more than useful middle overs bowler. The prospect of watching him and YJB scampering indecently quick singles and twos is quite salivating. More power to your campaigning elbow.” Less a campaign and more a movement.
6th over: Australia 32-1 (Finch 16, Marsh 10) Finch breaks the string of dots with a single to mid-off. Willey, running away from us at Marsh, keeps him honest for the rest. He grabs a single to midwicket to keep the strike. Two good overs in a row for the hosts.
5th over: Australia 30-1 (Finch 15, Marsh 9) Really good over from Wood to Marsh, making the left-hander play throughout with no runs on offer. Looks a belter of a track, so don’t expect many more maidens.
4th over: Australia 30-1 (Finch 15, Marsh 9) Finch takes a couple behind square to begin then pushes another to mid-on. Marsh gives him the strike back and the right-hander takes full advantage, lashing a superb cover drive to the rope. He sure loves batting at The Oval.
GET IN! @david_willey hoops it and we take an early wicket!Scorecard/Clips: https://t.co/iBAMP2wE6C#ENGvAUS pic.twitter.com/limLUXHt1X
3rd over: Australia 22-1 (Finch 8, Marsh 8) Shooooot! Finch leans into a full delivery angling at his stumps from Wood, sending it straight past the bowler in his follow through. Crisp. With that out of the way early in the set, Finch is cautious until the England attack-leader gives him a ball to tuck through midwicket, which earns him three more runs to finish. He’s looking the part early on.
Handshakes between the teams and we are underway!Scorecard/Videos: https://t.co/9UeVaVCjXN #ENGvAUS pic.twitter.com/6FW4XGeoS1
2nd over: Australia 15-1 (Finch 1, Marsh 8) Marsh watchful to to begin in response to balls moving away from him after seeing what Head did to Willey’s second offering. That is until he gets one his his area, the left-hander playing an elegant cover drive to the rope to get off the mark with style. That’s Marsh at his best. And he goes again! Short and wide, he slays the poor delivery to the point boundary. Two in a row.
Caught at slip! To a fullish ball that was moving away though the air, Head tried to smash it through cover but edged straight to YJB who did the rest. “Bit of a sucker ball,” says Tuffers on TMS.
1st over: Australia 7-0 (Finch 1, Head 5) Finch off the mark first ball, pushing Wood into the covers for one. The Victorian (and Surrey batsman) has a wonderful record against England, averaging 55 in 19 innings at the top of the list in ODIs, collecting five tons along the way. Two of those came in the January series, when he averaged 92. There was some talk of him shuffling down to number five to bolster the middle order in this series, but they thought better of it. Head off the mark with a couple behind square from a ball that did a bit coming back to him off the seam. Next up, much better through cover for three more. Wood sprays a wide down the legside to Finch before he defends the rest from the crease. We’re away.
Eoin Morgan should have greeted Tim Paine at at the new ritual with "Get ready for a broken hand" @collinsadam. Too soon?
I would have preferred all the England team to be wearing abrasive plasters on their fingers for the handshake.
The players are on their way! Australia are all coming down, so it looks like we’re going to get some national anthems first. Just catching up with some comments from Eoin Morgan at the toss, he said they would have bowled first. So, everyone is happy.
Actually, scrap that. The visitors were downstairs for the handshakes not anthems. That was nicely done, quickly filing past and getting back up the stairs. Aaron Finch and Travis Head now on their way to the middle. Mark Wood has the ball in his hand, he will be coming in from the Pavilion End. PLAY!
More emails in keeping with the theme so far. “I really don’t understand any attempt NOT to upset the Australians,” writes Vincent O’Connor. “They cheated. As a team. They should be reminded of how unacceptable that is at every opportunity. I suggest there is a replay of Bancroft roughing up the ball on the big screen between each over.”
So, mental disintegration? As someone who was in South Africa, trust me, that doesn’t always end well. Be careful what you wish for.
Paine and Langer tell Nasser Hussain for @skysportscric that Aust road to Newlands started via "not living by our behaviours" for years and was due to Steve Smith not being "strong enough" in his leadership #ENGvAUS pic.twitter.com/gkPxnAbWLn
So, what do you need to know about Michael Neser? Glad you asked, I wrote about the other week.
I need no encouragement to plug a Ravi Bopara piece that has just gone live on the site, via Gary Naylor’s blog. Our old friend Vish Ehantharajah (who started #RecallRavi; trust me, it is a thing) is sitting next to me and already has it open. Had the great pleasure of commentating an IPL game with the man himself recently. RECALL RAVI!
Related: County cricket talking points: Ravi Bopara's runs require more respect
Bantz. “I suspect all this sandpaper “banter” may be a bit hollow given none of the cheats are in this current Australia line-up?” asks James Walsh. “I saw Starc was recently at paines to say he still has nothing but total respect for Smith et al. Is the line still that the bowlers knew nothing about it? Or is the line let us never speak of this again?”
To be fair to Paine, he has addressed that in a fair bit of detail. Including in a chat I had with him for Wisden Cricket Monthly. That’s behind a paywall (i.e. the magazine is available on shelves at the moment) but the short version is that he adamant only three people knew what was going on and they are all banned. It doesn’t strike me as realistic that the new skip would carry out such a bold lie given all that has happened. For what it is worth.
Australia: Aaron Finch, Travis Head, Shaun Marsh, Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Tim Paine (c & wk), Ashton Agar, Michael Neser, Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson, Billy Stanlake.
So, Jhye Richardson is quick who is left out with Nathan Lyon also overlooked. D’Arcy Short’s debut will have to wait for another day as well.
Eoin Morgan confirms that there is only one change for England, with Jos Buttler returning to the team for Sam Billings. Full XIs once I work out who is on Australia’s team sheet.
Aaron Finch to open, so D’Arcy Short won’t be playing.
Toss and teams. The captains are out in the middle. News from the Australian camp is that Michael Neser, a Queensland seamer who gives it a bosh, is making his debut. Brad Haddin, these days an assistant coach, presented him with his cap. Nice. News from the toss when it happens in a couple of minutes.
The great Gary Naylor opening the batting on the correspondence, on a topic I’m very fond of.
“It’s a shame that England are, once again, refusing to select their best wicketkeeper,” he tweets at me. “I suppose it’s fair enough though - she does have a big match coming up on Friday.”
In addition to the below. Mel Farrell from ESPN has walked in to the press box and reported the sandpaper is being confiscated at the gate. Surrey have confirmed that is the case; they don’t dig ambush marketing. Fun and games.
As well as handshakes being exchanged before play at the Oval there will also be no formal toss. Instead the decision whether to bat or bowl will be made following a game of sand paper scissors. #ENGvAUS pic.twitter.com/dGgubuemWp
Expect plenty of this. And fair enough.
It has begun at The Oval - sandpaper being handed out to fans as they enter for clash with Aussies pic.twitter.com/Cgmf8pr6mr
‘Allo ‘Allo! Welcome to the People’s Ground for the first one-day international between England and Australia! Let’s be honest with each other to begin: if not the events of March in Newlands, this would be a white-ball series of passing interest. Now, it’s an actual thing, with the visitors turning out for the first time since they were mangled by the Proteas at the Bull Ring at the end of the longest week in Australian cricket history.
So, Tim Paine. He says all the right things with ample dollops of contrition and candour about what happenened, determined to transform the way the team plays, and in turn, radically alter the way they are seen by the rest of the cricket world. Tough gig!Continue reading...