46th over: Australia 247-5 (Marsh 46, Stoinis 5) Woakes replaces Rashid and he does excellently, going for just four runs. He begins with a dot, then an in-ducker that raps the pads, followed by an away swinger that beats the outside edge. Stoinis has still yet to get his eye in and Woakes’s variations of length and curve are making him hard to line up for such a power hitter.
45th over: Australia 243-5 (Marsh 46, Stoinis 2) England continue with their T20 finisher Curran and he enjoys three dots and a single from his deliveries at the slow-starting Stoinis. Marsh has already started though and he clears his front leg and lofts a length delivery between the two sweepers and just over the midwicket rope for six!
44th over: Australia 235-5 (Marsh 39, Stoinis 1) Rashid finishes with 3/57. The surface suited him and Australia never looked settled against his ability to spin the ball both directions.
Australia’s anchor is finally unmoored. Rashid slowed his pace, Smith’s eyes lit up, but he didn’t get everything on his lofted drive and Salt held onto a straightforward catch on the rope. Rashid gets his third. Smith misses out on a ton, but his 94 from 114 deliveries has kept his side on track.
43rd over: Australia 231-4 (Smith 92, Marsh 38) Sam Curran has only bowled four overs so far today and England will hope he can hold down an end for the duration. Moeen Ali might have to rethink his plans on the run though with Smith beginning the over by stepping to off and flicking a six way over square leg. Curran recovers but Australia are gathering momentum for a final assault.
With his remodelled technique Smith doesn’t look as though his bat is two metres wide anymore but there is still that familiar timing whereby he looks in position to play his stroke before the bowler has entered his delivery stride.
42nd over: Australia 219-4 (Smith 84, Marsh 34) Rashid into his ninth over and Smith struggles to get him away, unleashing a primal scream after one mistimed edge. Finally he releases his frustration with an ugly slog sweep that spirals into the air off a top edge and luck of luck it lands safely, equidistant between the man on the 45, square leg and midwicket.
41st over: Australia 214-4 (Smith 79, Marsh 34) Single, single, single, single, TONK! Australia finally let Mitch Marsh off the leash, dumping Woakes over long-on to signal the run home.
40th over: Australia 204-4 (Smith 77, Marsh 26) Rashid is back for his third spell, one that should include plenty of action, and it begins with Smith piercing the offside with a gorgeous off drive for four. Marsh is far less comfortable at the crease, clearly not reading Rashid out of the hand, but his long levered sweep gets him off strike.
England’s leggie has two crucial wickets, but he’s also gone for six rpo, the costliest of the attack.
39th over: Australia 196-4 (Smith 71, Marsh 24) Australia remain watchful, waiting for the signal to sprint to the line, happy to allow Woakes an over worth just one run.
38th over: Australia 195-4 (Smith 70, Marsh 24) Just as I type that Smith decides out of nowhere to sweep Dawson off his length for four. But like everything this innings so far it was executed with little bombast. Marsh responds by attempting his first reverse sweep of his knock, misses his shot, and England send up a review for LBW but DRS confirms the on-field expectation that the ball was bouncing way over the bails.
Dawson ends a very tidy day with 0/48. He’s done exactly the job he was picked to do.
37th over: Australia 188-4 (Smith 64, Marsh 24) Time for Chris Woakes to have another spell, his first with the older ball, and Australia continue to respect everything sent in their direction. This is very subdued cricket. If this partnership doesn’t cash in on the tonk they will surely regret leaving plenty of runs out there.
36th over: Australia 185-4 (Smith 62, Marsh 24) Marsh looks like a man under orders to rein in his natural instincts but he can’t help himself from swiping a couple of muscular sweeps. The first is intercepted for two, the second is struck too fiercely and earns four. Around those horizontal bat shots there are four straight bat dots.
35th over: Australia 179-4 (Smith 62, Marsh 18) Willey continues to keep things tight. Australia seem content to keep their powder dry ahead of a late onslaught. There have been periodic bursts of intent in the middle, but in the main the hosts have been content to collect the runs on offer without forcing the issue.
34th over: Australia 176-4 (Smith 61, Marsh 16) Liam Dawson returns after drinks and he begins with four dots to Smith and a single to each batter. Dawson has 0/36 from his eight overs so far, conceding only one boundary.
33rd over: Australia 174-4 (Smith 60, Marsh 15) Willey continues his English red ball line and length on this sub-continental white ball deck, and it’s not doing him too badly with neither right-hander looking to force the issue and the odd one sliding across and inducing a false stroke.
The second and final drinks break is upon us.
32nd over: Australia 168-4 (Smith 57, Marsh 12) Marsh does not look born to combat Rashid but the allrounder sweeps his way off strike and allows Smith to face a free-hit after the spinner oversteps. Smith tries to switch-hit, Rashid sees him coming a mile off, lands the ball outside where off stump began, and Smith looks very ungainly in his failure to put willow on leather. Rashid then drops his pace to 74kph and there’s oodles of drift and side-spin as a result.
This is such a difficult pitch to determine a par score. So much is going to rest on how Australia’s bowlers adapt to this dry surface.
31st over: Australia 166-4 (Smith 57, Marsh 11) Willey hasn’t been too inventive in this spell but he has hit his stock line and length repeatedly, angling full deliveries across the right-handers. Marsh struggles to line them up and the over goes for just a couple of singles.
30th over: Australia 164-4 (Smith 56, Marsh 10) The lesson from the innings so far is to be wary of playing cross-batted shots, especially against turning deliveries, but Marsh goes for the sweep early against Rashid and gets four for his bravery. The bowler almost exacts his revenge immediately with Marsh unable to pick the wrong ‘un. Smith shows his junior partner the way to go, waiting deep in his crease for the drag down and picking his spot wide of long-on for a one-bounce four.
Australia’s most profitable over in some time.
29th over: Australia 152-4 (Smith 50, Marsh 4) Willey does not provide Rashid’s threat and Australia pick up six runs with little difficulty. One of those is a milestone run with Smith bringing up his 29th ODI half-century.
28th over: Australia 146-4 (Smith 46, Marsh 2) Marsh clips a tame hat-trick ball away for a couple, but that should not detract from a match-changing over from Adil Rashid.
Carey tries to sweep first ball, Rashid slips a length delivery under the bat with a smidgen of legspin, Billings is quick to whip off the bails and appeals vociferously. The third umpire gets involved and takes a while to determine there was no under-edge for a catch behind. Then there’s far less deliberation to reveal Carey’s back foot was on, not behind the line! Carey goes first ball! Superb keeping from Billings.
Rashid is on a hat-trick!
Dawson gets a rest and Rashid returns for his second spell, and immediately Labuschagne goes for the slog sweep, landing just short of the square-leg sweeper. Smith rotates the strike, then RASHID GETS HIS MAN! The sweep comes out again, this time the delivery is slower, grips more off the pitch, and Labuschagne can only bunt a top edge to Roy at mid-off who will never be offered a simple catch. Superb bowling, pretty one-dimensional batting from a guy on 58.
27th over: Australia 142-2 (Smith 45, Labuschagne 57) Curran makes way for Willey and the latter of the left-armers begins his second spell with five dots. But Smith doesn’t allow those dots to join into the shape of an M with a casual swish of his bat sending a length delivery for a one-bounce four over mid-on.
As part of this job I am obliged to pay close attention to Twitter, but if the whole thing burns to the ground I shall not be sad to see it smoulder. As I type, looking for #AusvEng content the other trending topics are Nazis, Andrew Tate, and Pubes. What is wrong with us?
26th over: Australia 138-2 (Smith 41, Labuschagne 57) Both batters are using their feet more now and both are looking to manufacture runs rather than just milk those available. But this surface is so tricky to trust when each goes aerially there are hearts in mouths as mistimed strokes land wide of fielders. Dawson continues to bowl tidily.
25th over: Australia 132-2 (Smith 37, Labuschagne 55) Curran changes his line of attack to around the wicket and he has a sniff of a run-out, throwing down the stumps after gathering in his follow-through, but Smith was very in. Labuschagne brings up his half-century, one accumulated with little fuss or fanfare, then drills a four with a muscular short-arm pull.
Australia on top at quarter-time. This isn’t an easy pitch to score on but this partnership is well set.
24th over: Australia 124-2 (Smith 35, Labuschagne 49) Dawson keeps on keeping on, doing a job, conceding five runs, getting through his work quickly.
23rd over: Australia 119-2 (Smith 31, Labuschagne 48) Curran rummages around in his box of tricks to keep Australia’s set batters guessing. Four singles, two dots the outcome.
22nd over: Australia 115-2 (Smith 29, Labuschagne 46) Labuschagne caresses Dawson straight down the ground for an effortless boundary to start the over. The bowler recovers well but England look short of ideas to break this formidable partnership.
21st over: Australia 108-2 (Smith 28, Labuschagne 40) The scoring continues with two runs off the bat and four byes following a shorter Curran delivery that bounced like a superball and cleared Sam Billings behind the stumps by a mile. It was a clear wide but somehow not given by the square-leg umpire.
20th over: Australia 102-2 (Smith 27, Labuschagne 39) Dawson to continue and Labuschagne pulls out his slog-sweep for the first time against England’s left-armer, getting enough on it to earn two but it didn’t come out of the middle. Australia look to score off every delivery, indicating the scoring rate is on its way upwards since the drinks break with two set batters. What can England do in response?
19th over: Australia 96-2 (Smith 25, Labuschagne 35) Sam Curran into the attack after the drinks break, England’s T20 world cup star interrupting the long run of spin from both ends. Can his variations unsettle this established partnership? Almost immediately! Slipping an off-cutter across the flat-footed Labuschagne and past the outside edge. Thereafter the partnership passes 50 with a couple of singles and neatly clipped three that evades short midwicket.
What an excellent doggo. I am strongly in favour of this wholesome content. I must ask, is there a slightly older, more fidgety dog that Marnus is trying to emulate?
We entered this portion before the shine was off the new ball.