14th over: Australia 57-5 (Finch 25, Agar 3) Australia continue to deal almost exclusively in singles, which isn’t much use to anyone. Four from Livingstone’s final over; he finishes with terrific figures of 4-0-15-1.
During Livingstone’s final over there wass some good analysis of the Wade wicket on Sky Sports. Livingstone saw him coming and bowled the ball much slower, which led to Wade toe-ending it to long-off. Livingstone also gave him a vivacious send-off.
I think the Australian coach John Buchanan said something similar during the CB Series in 2006-07, and then came Paul Nixon.
13th over: Australia 53-5 (Finch 23, Agar 1) Rashid returns for his final over. He almost skids a quicker one through Agar, who looks uncomfortable with Rashid’s variations. His last ball is a beautiful googly that would have trapped Finch plumb in front but for a late inside edge. Rashid ends a mischievous spell with figures of 4-0-19-1.
12th over: Australia 51-5 (Finch 22, Agar 0) Another left-hander, Ashton Agar, is the new batter. Livingstone is having another good day with the ball: 3-0-11-1.
WICKET! Australia 51-5 (Wade c Roy b Livingstone 18)
Livingstone continues, and why not. He’s so handy when there’s a right- and left-hander at the crease, although the left-hander is now walking off the field. Wade, on the charge, tried to tag Livingstone down the ground, but he didn’t get enough on it and Roy took a comfortable catch at long-on.
11th over: Australia 49-4 (Finch 21, Wade 17) Tymal Mills comes on for Adil Rashid (3-0-17-1). The omission of Marsh means that England are one wicket away from the lower order, though Australia have some decent hitters down there. His fourth ball is wide and very short and wide, which allows Wade to slash it up and over for a one-bounce four. The next delivery is a sharper bumper that Wade, slightly startled, fences to third man for a single.
Eight from the over in total, which is the best of the innings so far. Although they’ve had a torrid time, Australia aren’t out of this game yet.
Here’s a report on that thrilling victory for South Africa earlier in the day
10th over: Australia 41-4 (Finch 20, Wade 11) Finch is annoyed that he can only pull a long hop from Livingstone for a single. We’ve had only two boundaries in the innings, and that’s still the case after another quiet Livingstone over. It’s time for drinks; this Australian innings needs a barrel of Red Bull.
“With Wade in, it might be an idea to bring Moeen Ali on for an over,” says Colum Fordham. “Re John Starbuck, never premature to think about the Ashes. Indeed, some of the bowling (Jordan and Woakes) has been worthy of Test cricket and Australia are fielding their best Test quicks (Stark, Hazlewood et al).”
9th over: Australia 37-4 (Finch 18, Wade 9) Wade has started busily, and Finch looks atop the burning deck. Rashid’s third over brings five more runs, all low-risk ones and twos.
“I don’t think that England’s bowlers are vastly better than everyone else’s,” says Andy B, “but I do think they are taking wickets because the other team’s batters are looking to take them on and set a big total to challenge the England batsmen. And it’s fun watching the Aussie top order caught in the headlights.”
That’s an excellent point. England’s batting can be so devastating that some teams must – consciously or unconsciously – chase a total that is above par.
8th over: Australia 32-4 (Finch 16, Wade 6) Liam Livingstone replaces Chris Woakes. He’ll bowl legspinners to Finch and offspinners to the left-handed Wade. It’s a typical middle over, with a handful of low-risk ones and twos.
7th over: Australia 27-4 (Finch 11, Wade 5) The new batter is Matthew Wade, who is so competitive that he’ll relish even this situation. He slashes a cut past slip for four, the first boundary since the first over of the innings.
WICKET! Australia 21-4 (Stoinis LBW b Rashid 0)
With the Powerplay finished, Rashid returns in place of Jordan – and he strikes first ball! It’s a carbon copy of Stoinis’s dismissal in the 2019 World Cup semi-final, LBW to the googly. Then, as now, he didn’t pick it and he was plumb. That was just too easy for Rashid.
6th over: Australia 21-3 (Finch 11, Stoinis 0) Australia have no choice but to regroup, even though we’re still in a Powerplay. Woakes concedes only two runs from his third over, a wide and a leg-bye. He has outrageous figures of 3-0-7-2.
“Lovely hearing Shane Watson’s opinions on LBW dismissals,” says Adam Levine. “It’s a bit like hearing Zeus give a TED Talk on lightning bolts.”
5th over: Australia 19-3 (Finch 11, Stoinis 0) Jordan has another LBW appeal against Finch turned down. That wasn’t as close – he was outside the line and it might have been bat first as well. It’s another good over for England though, with just a pair of twos for Finch.
4.1 overs: ENGLAND REVIEW! Jordan has a huge LBW appeal against Finch turned down. This is really close, and Morgan reviews. It might be angling past leg stump, but Finch fell across his stumps so it’ll be very close. It’s umpire’s call and Finch survives.
4th over: Australia 15-3 (Finch 7, Stoinis 0) Chris Woakes has figures of, and you’ll like this, 2-0-6-2. And he’s taken a spectacular catch to get rid of Steve Smith.
WICKET! Australia 15-3 (Maxwell LBW b Woakes 6)
Maxwell has reviewed it but this looks plumb. He whipped around a straight delivery that thudded into the pad in front of leg and middle. It hit both pads in fact. Here comes ball-tracking: he’s out! Three reds too, which means Australia lose a review.
3rd over: Australia 11-2 (Finch 7, Maxwell 2) That was Chris Jordan’s first ball of the match. His second almost takes a wicket too, with Glenn Maxwell playing and missing outside off stump. As in the 2019 World Cup semi-final, England have had an unimaginably good start. That was mostly thanks to Chris Woakes as well.
WICKET! Australia 8-2 (Smith c Woakes b Jordan 1)
Chris Woakes has taken a blinder! Chris Jordan started his spell with a wide short ball to Smith, who clunked a pull towards mid-on. Woakes scampered backwards, leapt and stuck out a telescopic arm to take a stunning catch!
2nd over: Australia 8-1 (Finch 6, Smith 1) With Mitchell Marsh omitted, Steve Smith moves up to No3. He’s beaten first ball, skidding across his stumps towards a fine delivery from Woakes. This is a fresh pitch, with a bit of grass on it, and Woakes is getting some movement off the seam.
Smith then survives a big LBW appeal after walking across his stumps. It was pretty close, but Morgan decided not to review. I suspect it would have been umpire’s call at best and therefore not out. Edit: replays confirm it was umpire’s call.
WICKET! Australia 7-1 (Warner c Buttler b Woakes 1)
Chris Woakes strikes with his second ball! Warner fiddled outside off stump at a good delivery, just back of a length, and thin-edged it through to Buttler.
1st over: Australia 6-0 (Warner 1, Finch 5) Aaron Finch has a terrific record against offspin and a modest one against legspin, which is why England are opening with Rashid rather than the in-form Moeen Ali. After three dot balls, Finch drives Rashid sweetly down the ground for four.
“‘Afternoon, Rob,” says John Starbuck. “Nice to have you back and no doubt limbering up for our overseas winter programme. I’m already starting to adjust 2022 appointments to align with very late nights/early mornings. Yes, I know this is being premature, cricket isn’t only about the Ashes and the present competition is important and entertaining in its own right, but there’s nowt wrong in planning ahead. Like, what supplies will be most in demand, assuming delivery difficulties continue?”
If the series goes as expected, you might want to stock up on Buckfast.
“Great to have you on board for this,” deadpans Ian Copestake. “ Am following so much sport this afternoon I can almost imagine what you guys have to contend with doing a clockwatch, etc. I will need to generate my own spitefulness however.”
There’s an app for that.
England have won the toss and will bowl first
They’re unchanged, while Australia have brought in Ashton Agar for Mitchell Marsh. That’s an interesting move – a spinner for a No3 batter, which is a fairly big change of emphasis. Cricinfo’s Matt Roller has a theory as to why they’ve made that decision.
England Roy, Buttler (wk), Malan, Bairstow, Morgan (c), Livingstone, Ali, Woakes, Jordan, Rashid, Mills.
South Africa have beaten Sri Lanka by four wickets in a thriller at Sharjah! They needed 15 off the final over, bowled by Lahiru Kumara, and David Miller hit two huge sixes to take them to the brink of victory. Kagiso Rabada edged the winning runs with a ball to spare, and South Africa join England and Australia on four points. That was tremendous entertainment.
The marvellous Hasaranga de Silva has taken a hat-trick in the early game between Sri Lanka and South Africa in Sharjah. It looks like Sri Lanka are going to join England and Australia on four points in Group 1: South Africa are 112 for six, needing 31 from 16 balls.
The Australian team will wear black armbands in tribute to two brilliant cricketers who died in the last 48 hours. Alan Davidson sits at the top table of bowling allrounders, and is second only to Wasim Akram among left-arm quicks. He was a modest superhero who starred in legendary games like the tied Test of 1960 and the Ashes-winning heist of 1961.
Tense, nervous stomach? Me neither. It’s strange for an England supporter to go into a World Cup match against Australia without agita, but that’s the case ahead of today’s game in Dubai. Two reasons, I guess. Both teams have won their first two games, which means there’s less jeopardy than usual; whoever loses today will get a second chance and maybe a third. And, after six years of excellence, even the most pessimistic England fan concedes they are quite good at white-ball cricket. Some they win, some they lose, but there’s no need for Clockwise clips any more. We can take the hope, and we’re even learning to live with expectation.
Australia approach today’s game in an unusual position, too: under the radar. Few people were tipping them before the tournament – they’ve lost their last five T20 series – and a couple of decent victories over South Africa and Sri Lanka haven’t really changed that. But if they win today, England won’t be the only ones suffering a bit of agita.