9th over: Australia 24-3 (Smith 2, Carey 8) Carey is fine to continue, and he crunches a cover-drive for four off Woakes. He has started really impressively.
“The narrative for this game,” says Alex Netherton, “has been thrown into stark disarray.”
Wait till you what it’s done to the tactics board.
8th over: Australia 19-3 (Smith 2, Carey 4) Carey punches Archer down the ground for three, an impressively assured stroke. He doesn’t look so assured when Archer draws blood with a brutal bouncer. It hit Carey on the grille, knocking his helmet off and cutting him just above the chin. There will be a break in play while he receives treatment
“There was near-unanimous agreement among cricket commentators that losing Khawaja mightn’t be such a bad thing,” says Joe Roberts. “How much are they missing him now? Seems like just the man for this job.”
Yes, that’s an excellent point. I suppose we envisaged Handscomb coming in at 120 for two at 23 overs. In these circumstances, he looked a walking wicket.
That was lovely bowling from Woakes, especially to a creasebound player like Handscomb. It was full and shaped back in, and all Handscomb could do was inside-edge a drive onto the stumps.
WICKET! Australia 14-3 (Handscomb b Woakes 4)
Chris Woakes has knocked him over with a ripper!
6th over: Australia 14-2 (Smith 1, Handscomb 4) Archer beats Handscomb with a sensational delivery that seams past the outside edge. He is bowling outrageously well, and the next ball holds its line to beat the bat once more. Archer’s figures of 3-0-4-1.
“Typo?” asks Boris Starling. “I like ‘Jonny Bairstow took the match’ rather than ‘took the catch’….. (in fairness, you did say the first 10 overs might decide this either way.)”
Aaaaach, sorry. I do hope that wasn’t Freudian hubris.
5th over: Australia 13-2 (Smith 1, Handscomb 3) Handscomb survives another huge LBW appeal from Woakes. There might have been an inside-edge. Woakes wants to review but Morgan and Buttler overrule him. It’s the right decision, becuse replays show there was a late inside edge. Australia are hanging on for dear life. But if there’s one team that can win after such a torrid start, it’s them.
4th over: Australia 12-2 (Smith 1, Handscomb 2) Smith flashes and misses at Archer, who then sends down a blistering bouncer that Smith avoids. He has started very nervously, although he often does. If he gets through this opening spell, he won’t care how many false strokes he plays.
3rd over: Australia 11-2 (Smith 1, Handscomb 1) “Sure, Mr. Alt-J wrote in,” sniffs Mac Millings, “but I’ve written in many times, and you’ve *not once* mentioned that I was in Glistening Mother. We played two shows (in China – long story). The band collapsed after three of us (we were a five-piece) didn’t turn up to the second gig, and of the two who did, I was far too drunk to sing.”
I’m sensing the great lost Netflix documentary.
IT’S UMPIRE’S CALL AND HANDSCOMB SURVIVES
Blimey. This is extraordinary stuff. That would have been another golden duck for Australia. Replays showed it was just hitting the top of the stumps, which means England keep their review.
ENGLAND REVIEW FOR LBW AGAINST HANDSCOMB!
This looks incredibly close.
This is an awesome start for England. Warner had dumped the previous ball back over Woakes’s head, a shot of spectacular disdain. Woakes followed up with a sharp back-of-a-length delivery that Warner could only fence to first slip, where Warner’s mate Jonny Bairstow took the match with unashamed glee.
2nd over: Australia 6-1 (Warner 5, Smith 1) Steve Smith is the new batsman. It’s Warner and Smith v England, yet again. Archer greets Smith with a bouncer, and then induces an inside-edge into the leg side. This is a scorching start from Archer, who bowled so poorly against Australia at Lord’s. Smith gets off the mark with a quick single, and then Warner tucks a short ball off the hip for another.
That Finch review looks a poor one, because he missed the ball by a fair way, but Michael Clarke makes the point that his bat thumped into his pad and the combination of sound and sensation probably made him think he might have inside-edged it.
“And I thought Gus Unger-Hamilton was an anagram!” says Steve Hudson. “Just spent half an hour trying to decode it.”
WICKET! Australia 4-1 (Finch LBW b Archer 0)
He’s out! Aaron Finch has gone for a golden duck! It was a beautiful inswinger from Jofra Archer, and it was hitting the top of middle. Australia lose their captain – and their review.
FINCH IS GIVEN OUT LBW FIRST BALL – BUT HE’S REVIEWED IT!
Oh my. It might have been bat then pad. If not, he’s in trouble.
1st over: Australia 4-0 (Warner 4, Finch 0) Now that’s how you set a tone. David Warner leans into the first ball of the match, which is a bit too full from Woakes, and times it thrillingly through extra cover for four. Whatever you think of him as a man, he is the most magnificent cricketer. Woakes pulls his length back thereafter, and the remainder of the over – five dot balls – is excellent.
“How about the Bruminator?” says Brian Withington. Hmm, doesn’t that sound a bit like a groundbreaking toilet brush?
There have been two opening partnerships of note against England in this tournament, and they lost both games. There’s a credible scenario whereby this first 10 overs decides the game.
David Warner is heartily booed on the field, which is a bit tedious, and probably counter-productive. Chris Woakes will bowl the first over, and things are about to get exceedingly real.
Edgbaston nickname “Just ‘the Edge’,” says Jane Evans. “If it works for pretentious rock musicians … As the game progresses, I will be on edge. Or at the edge of reason.”
A few of you have also suggested ‘Edgbastard’, which is kind of catchy, if slightly problematic for the host broadcaster.
The Million There has been a lot of talk about the visibility of this World Cup, but this is a nice story from our friends at the ECB:
Ahead of England’s World Cup semi-final clash against Australia, England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and International Cricket Council (ICC) celebrated the impact that the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup has had in inspiring young people – with over one million children aged five-12 connecting with the sport.
The milestone was celebrated at Yorkmead Primary School in Birmingham with ambassadors Jonathan Trott and Danielle Hazell in attendance alongside local schoolchildren who will join the players on the pitch for the national anthems at the hotly anticipated fixture at Edgbaston tomorrow.
The achievement comes as a result of the plan to use the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup to connect with children and young people – a key aim of the ECB’s plan to grow the game. To help inspire the next generation to fall in love with cricket, partners and stakeholders across the game have worked on initiatives including Cricket World Cup Club Family Days, the Cricket World Cup Schools Programme and fan zone activations.
You can read more here.
Thanks for all your emails. I have approximately 0.00 per cent chance of reading them all during the game, but please keep them coming!
Also, I’m disappointed that none of you noticed that Mr Alt-J emailed this morning (or somebody with the same name).
The pitch is bald and dry, which suggests Nathan Lyon and Adil Rashid could play a big part in the game. But a lot of the pitches at this tournament have been bald-faced liars, so we shouldn’t assume too much.
Play starts in 15 minutes. I’m off to procure a dangerously strong coffee. And then it will be time for Australia v England, the World Cup semi-final.
“G’day Rob,” says Seb Prowse. “A shout out from my no. 19 tram in Melbourne to any Aussies supporting the opposition today. Of course, it’s hard to get behind the Poms with real enthusiasm. But the alternative — creaming NZ in the final to complete the rehabilitation of Warner, Smith and Cricket Australia — doesn’t bear thinking about. Carn the Kiwis.”
“Morning Rob,” says Nick Parish. “Defeat is unthinkable? Blimey. And there was me thinking you were a long-suffering England supporter. Defeat couldn’t be more thinkable. I’ve been thinking about it non-stop ever since Saturday evening.”
My point exactly.
Painful statgasm Seventeen of the last 21 matches at this tournament have been won the team batting first. England will point to the fact it’s a fresh pitch, and they loved chasing before the tournament. It’s an excellent toss for Australia to win, though, NQAT.
A shock move from England, who have recalled Sir Ian Botha- sorry, let’s try that again.
England are unchanged. Australia bring in Peter Handscomb for Usman Khawaja, which is surely a good thing, especially as it means Steve Smith will go up to No3. This is Handscomb’s World Cup debut. He’s got nothing on Ned Larkins, who made his international debut for England in the 1979 semi-final.
Australia Finch (c), Warner, Smith, Handscomb, Stoinis, Maxwell, Carey (wk), Cummins, Starc, Lyon, Behrendorff
England Roy, Bairstow, Root, Morgan (c), Stokes, Buttler (wk), Woakes, Plunkett, Rashid, Archer, Wood.
Australia have won the toss and will bat first!
Well that was fun while it lasted. Eoin Morgan says he’s “not really bothered” but that he would have batted first.
The toss is a couple of minutes away. And it looks a pretty good one to win.
A few of you have suggested ‘Edgbastion’ as England’s answer to the Gabbatoir. “Not exactly fear-inducing,” says Richard Hart, “but I think it has a pleasing and understated Englishness about it.”
Why don’t we just call it the Melbourne Cricket Ground and make Australia feel even more comfortable?
“Hi from Singapore,” says Honor Harger. “So without wanting to tempt fate or anything: when was the last time Australia won a match at Edgbaston again?”
It was when Tim Henman was a Wimbledon semi-finalist. A while ago, then.
“Dear Rob,” writes Gus Unger-Hamilton. “Long time follower, first time emailer. I’m just thinking, seeing as England supposedly love playing at Edgbaston so much, don’t we need a fear-inducing nickname for it, à la the Gabbattoir? Perhaps people have some ideas better than Sledgbaston, which is terrible.”
It’s not that good. Any suggestions?
“Morning Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “I’m off out for a bracing walk. It’s good for your mental health. Be back in eight hours…”
“It’s just a cricket match,” says Jane Evans. Only cricket. Not important. Just a cricket match. Just cricket. Only cricket …”
There are infinite possibilities today, with so many matchwinners on both sides. It could come down to three things: the toss, the battle of the opening partnerships and how England respond to adversity. They are probably the better side, but Australia are probably the tougher side. They have won all seven World Cup semi-finals (if you’re into the whole pedantry thing, they’ve won six and tied one) and have fought back to win a few games in this tournament.
England got themselves out of a hole to quality for the semi-finals, and were enormously impressive in doing so. But they haven’t really come from behind to win a match at this tournament. They are formidable front-runners, and the ideal scenario is that they bat first, are 100 for nought after 15 overs and control the game throughout. It’s not going to be like that. If I had to pick the deciding factor in this game, it’s how England cope if they are 10 for two or Australia are 100 for nought.
Australia hammered England in the league match two weeks ago. The margin of victory – 64 runs – isn’t huge, but trust me, it was a doing. England have rationalised it as a hangover from the Sri Lanka fiasco, which is a clever move, if they genuinely believe it. I suspect they do. But I wouldn’t want to go fishing round their subconscious without a protective suit.
The weather It’s beautiful at Edgbaston this morning, although the Met Office are forecasting thunderstorms for early evening. That means DLS could be a factor in this match. There is a reserve day scheduled, but I think the match will finish today as long as 20 overs have been bowled in the second innings. There’s a strong whiff of potential farce and controversy there. But the playing conditions have a level of clarity usually reserved for mudheaps, so I might be wrong.
Hello again. Glad you’ve logged on – you’ve obviously heard there’s a cricket match today. It’s Australia v England, for the right to play New Zealand in the World Cup final on Sunday. This game is almost too big to function. It’s England most important since September 2005, Australia’s since March 2015. For both countries, defeat is so unthinkable that it hurts trying not to think about it.
There’s a rare old Royal Rumble of feeling and emotions this morning/evening: hope, fear, nervousness, anticipation, fear, curiosity, fear, fear, greed, nostalgia, pride – and I suppose, if I’m being brutally honest, there’s also a soupçon of fear. But most of all, as Eoin Morgan said yesterday, there is excitement about what might be achieved. In one hemisphere or another, a lot of grandchildren are going to hear about the events of 11 July 2019.
There was no way England – England – were going to be allowed to win a World Cup without beating Australia en route. Only one side, West Indies in 1979, has ever done so. This is England’s World Cup but it’s also Australia’s trophy, which they have lifted in four of the last five tournaments. And one of them has got to go. Deep down, we always knew it would be like this.
The match starts at 10.30am BST, 7.30pm ACT.