Ashes 2021-22: England claim two late wickets on rain-affected opening day

By Sports Desk January 05, 2022

England struck twice late on a rain-affected opening day of the fourth Ashes Test at the SCG to get back into the contest on Wednesday.

Australia finished the first day on 126-3 with Steve Smith (6 not out) and Marnus Labuschagne (4 not out) at the crease after captain Pat Cummins won the delayed coin toss and elected to bat.

The hosts, who lead the series 3-0, had been firmly in control at 111-1 in the final session before veteran Jimmy Anderson (24-1 from 13 overs) and Mark Wood (31-1 from 10 overs) struck to dismiss opener Marcus Harris (38) and Test number one batsman Labuschagne (28) respectively.

Stuart Broad, back in the England side at the expense of Ollie Robinson, claimed the scalp of opener David Warner for 30 caught by Zak Crawley.

The opening session had been stop-start with rain delays seeing Australia go into lunch at 30-0, before adding another 26 runs until Broad found an edge from regular scalp Warner.

Rain fell shortly after Warner's dismissal leading to tea being taken after only 21.4 overs of play, but England got a crucial double strike in the final session before the weather intervened again.

Harris had been patient across more than three hours at the crease until Anderson drew an edge which Joe Root claimed at second slip.

England skipper Root introduced Mark Wood into the attack in the next over and dismissed Labuschagne caught behind by Jos Buttler.

Broad has the wood on Warner

Broad resumed his domination of Warner, dismissing him for the 13th time in Test cricket when he struck in the second session.

The right-arm fast bowler dismissed Warner seven times in the space of 104 balls during the 2019 Ashes in England, yet has been left out for two Tests in this series.

Sydney's rain woes

Only 46.5 overs were bowled on the first day at the SCG, which has been plagued by rain at recent Test matches at the venue.

In fact, Sydney has lost 26 days of Test cricket due to rain since 1877, which is significantly the most of any Australia venue and, while there was play, it was a frustrating opening day.

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    “It’s certainly not easy but I always try and put myself in the player’s shoes and what they want is to play cricket,” he told the PA news agency.

    “Bash will be on cloud nine right now and riding that. He would have seen the world very differently at the start of the winter than he does now that he’s had international opportunities and done very well. So it’s important to have really honest, transparent conversations.

    “We start the season on April 5th and I’d be surprised if too many teams are playing two specialist spinners so understand there will be some questions about it. There’s still a lot of water to go under the bridge, but what I’m not going to do is stand in the way of anyone’s opportunity.

    “We will always do what is best for the player and we’ve done it time and time again. We’ve allowed people to go on loan and get some cricket because it can benefit them and us in the future, and we’ve said no to players because they’re next in line and we might need them.

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    Bashir’s rapid rise effectively reprises the situation Somerset experienced when fellow off-spinner Dom Bess emerged. He and Leach began by working in tandem on turning pitches but, when Bess was elevated to the Test side, the pair eventually found themselves competing for one spot.

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    “It’s important we see both of the guys bowling first but we also look at what Leachy has done for club and country over the years,” he said.

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    South Africa v England, January 2016, Cape Town

     

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    A post shared by Jonny Bairstow (@jbairstow21)

     

    Bairstow had a number of false dawns, including a sparkling 95 in his fourth Test against the same opposition. Four years and 18 Tests later, Bairstow had his first international hundred but it was worth the wait. This Test is remembered for Ben Stokes going supersonic but Bairstow was no shrinking violet and contributed 150 not out to a world-record stand of 399 for the sixth wicket. A couple of days before the anniversary of the death of his father David – a former England and Yorkshire cricketer – Bairstow junior cemented his spot as a Test regular. Afterwards, he said: “I was thinking of my dad, my grandfather, who passed away last year, and my family – that was for those guys.”

    England v Sri Lanka, May 2016, Leeds

    Where else but Headingley should one of Yorkshire’s favourite sons make his first Test ton at home? England were teetering on 83 for five against opponents who shocked them two years earlier. Bairstow riding to the rescue was a common theme in 2016 – his 1,470 runs remain the most by a wicketkeeper in a calendar year – and England never looked back after his swaggering 140 in 183 balls. Bairstow hit another hundred at Lord’s with an unbeaten 167 as England romped to a 2-0 series win.

    Sri Lanka v England, November 2018, Colombo

    An ankle injury sustained in a football warm-up had the knock-on consequence of Bairstow surrendering the wicketkeeping gloves for a few months to Ben Foakes. Restored to the side as a specialist batter for the final Test and into England’s problem number three position, Bairstow defied Sri Lanka’s coterie of spinners and peeled off a masterful 110. Upon reaching three figures, a red-faced Bairstow let out an emotional roar and later hit out at those who had “castigated” him for the nature of his injury. Bairstow’s push up the order was short-lived but he helped England seal a famous 3-0 series whitewash.

    England v New Zealand, June 2022, Trent Bridge

    A career that had blown more cold than hot showed signs of flickering with a battling hundred in the previous winter’s Ashes that effectively spared England another 5-0 defeat. A lack of role clarity could perhaps partially explain Bairstow’s shortcomings but there was no second guessing what Stokes and McCullum wanted from him. Chasing 299 and with New Zealand resorting to bowling short, Stokes told Bairstow: “Don’t even think about trying to hit one down. Hit it into the stands.” Bairstow obliged in jaw-dropping fashion with seven sixes in a 77-ball hundred which threatened Gilbert Jessop’s long-standing record. After a run of low scores, Bairstow helped England over the line in emphatic fashion.

    England v India, July 2022, Edgbaston

    With a run of indifferent scores currently – he is yet to reach 40 in India – it cannot be forgotten Bairstow established himself as the early poster boy for the Stokes-McCullum era. After his Nottingham heroics, he blitzed another mammoth century at his beloved Headingley before his magnum opus in this format in Birmingham. Fired up by Virat Kohli’s sledging, Bairstow thumped 106 first time around in a Test rearranged from the previous summer. Then he and fellow Yorkie Joe Root put on an unbroken 269 as England eased to a national record chase of 378. Bairstow made an unbeaten 114, his sixth and final century of an astonishing 2022, where he averaged 66.31 before suffering an untimely badly broken leg.

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