over 17: England 88-4 (Malan 30, Buttler 14) Starc comes back for the fifth, and the runs are quickly dry. Two singles and one wide as the hitters watch intently. It’s still too early in the innings to be four points behind.
over 16: England 85-4 (Malan 29, Buttler 13) Cruise control launched by Buttler. It drives the Stoinis all the way across the asphalt from the hatches to the fence. Labuschagne does some chasing, diving and gliding, but can only hit him further along the border pads.
over 15: England 79-4 (Malan 28, Buttler 8) In the middle of the green, Malan finally takes a shot and hits the fence. It’s still there, the building. The wickets had a calming effect as they fell.
“It’s a shame that Australians can’t watch national team games for free on their home soil,” writes Maureen Becquet. “Shame on TV chasing $$$$.”
It’s hard to argue. The main people to look at are Cricket Australia employees negotiating the flawed 2018 release deal. Also, putting paywalls on these matches was against anti-siphoning legislation, but the communications minister at the time didn’t bother enforcing it.
14. over: England 73-4 (Malan 23, Buttler 7) They get drinks after the wicket as Jos Buttler comes in the middle. This is by far the most important wicket in the British team. He has plenty of time to express himself today – perhaps too much. But he’s played well across formats here before: he crushed India’s bowlers in the T20 World Cup semi-final where he hit most of the fifth day, nearly saving last season’s Test of Ashes.
Here he shows what he can do first, haphazardly raising Stoinis four seconds above the middle. Deep guard for Buttler, deep third, deep back, deep midwicket four.
Attack, game! Marcus Stoinis landed for the first four balls, but followed suit with a beauty. The cutter is driven into the field, angled in, beating the inside edge and hitting the logs.
over 13: England 57-3 (Malan 23, Billings 13) A half-kick shot from Malan takes Green away from center goal for two runs, then plays off the stump and misses as Green gets a good bounce at the fourth stump line. Billings resolutely tries his own pull shot and misfires it, throwing it short midwicket but safely onto the grass.
over 12: England 57-3 (Malan 20, Billings 11) Turn and attack, Agar wants to spear him and Malan immediately attacks. He steps out of the stump and hits a hard straight for four squares.
over 11: England 49-3 (Malan 14, Billings 9) The top ten has gone too far, which means four fielders can get out of the rim. Australia sticks to three, keeping two plugs in. Green is doing a good job, Billings leaving him like it’s a Test match, playing just one touchdown at the top.
over 10: England 47-3 (Malan 14, Billings 7) Great shot from Billings! Cummins drives upward after reaching a good distance. Pass the shooter straight on quarters. Cummins responds by crossing the outer rim directly for the tenth time today. It looks much more dangerous than T20 in long formats. To underline this, he slams Malan into the pads, the appeal is denied, and Cummins, coming over the wicket, thinks the outside leg could be a stump for the left-handed player. Just a few millimeters apart. So is the referee. The last ball from the top throws the Malan stick part of the width and cuts it at four points.
over 9: England 38-3 (Malan 10, Billings 2) Green arrives to toss the first coin and there is a pressure release. He overshoots Malan and uses the midfield for four seconds. There the long chase was fruitless. Green also pings for a backward ball, but his free kick is a good bouncer that Malan can’t hit. Number three thinks he has another limit after breaking the ball squarely from his pads, but Agar dives exceptionally and takes the field, refusing any run and nearly finishing Malan, who has taken a few steps on the track.
8th over: England 33-3 (Malan 6, Billings 2) Cummins is kidding! It keeps beating and making things happen for this long. He moves one close to Billings’ gloves, the other over the edge. A few runs through Midwicket is all it takes to head.
Another! Good bowling from Cummins, long-distance fast, and exponentially away once you’re in. Vince isn’t really trying to score, he’s used to swinging the stick out, tickling off the side towards the goalkeeper. England is in contention.
7th over: England 31-2 (Malan 6, Vince 5) The compression is now dodging, with both players choosing Starc’s straight line and scoring towards the slender leg or midwicket. Then a beautiful piece of timing from Malan leaned over a packed ball and clipped it four times from the middle door. Starc responds by softening the thigh pad.
6th over: England 23-2 (Malan 1, Vince 2) It befits Dawid Malan to have some time to think. He watches his first hit from Cummins, leaving the left-handed player with a few balls in a good line, tying one in the trench but directly to Stoinis, who fine-tuned the pace. Almost a virgin gets a straight single from the sixth ball.
5th over: England 22-2 (Malan 0, Vince 2) After dribbling the first ball, he played a few runs for Roy, then bowled the second. Vince and Malan make a new couple from scratch. Vince, inevitably, goes through the trench, half-stopped by Stoinis, and has two laps left. The score is a Benaud.
Timberrrrr! Jason Roy’s time away from England did not help in the short term. While playing a ride, he returns with a Roy-like dismissal that rolls with a ball coming back to him. To be fair, Starc has him trim the seam on the wicket in terms of the left arm. It straightens the line of the stumps and strikes the middle.
4th over: England 18-1 (Roy 4) What a contest! Cummins beats the edge of Salt’s stick twice with a double sniffing, lifting and carrying. Salt responds by switching to the closed side, changing the line, and playing a scavenger move on the four-man backward square leg. Last ball though, Cummins nailed that line again. He scratches the big disk, the length is not suitable for him and Salt edges it towards the second slide. Well done to the Australian captain for keeping two catchers there.
3rd over: England 9-0 (Alt 6, Roy 3) Another wild rustle to Starc, this time from Roy, who managed to keep the ball off the edge. He comes off the strike and Salt does two rounds, then does an air return on his own. A very quiet start for the UK but they have a lot more time in this format.
2nd over: England 6-0 (Only 4, Roy 2) And a good first to complete Starc from Cummins. He hits the neck, he hits the seam, he goes a few stories over, beating the edge of Salt’s stick. Get into the rhythm now.
1st over: England 5-0 (Only 4, Roy 1) It’s action time for Jason Roy. He gets off the mark with a single backframe and gives Salt a chance to land a four-man straight. While better than Starc, he beats Salt out of the stump to follow. Fast and mostly full.
Here’s a start. Email me if you’re this touched, or write to me on Twitter as you continue.
There are interesting moves. Many extreme players in England are being tried: Salt, Vince, Billings, Dawson, even Jordan and Willey these days. Luke Wood is making his ODI debut. Olly Stone is returning to England after a long hiatus due to injury.
For Australia, Carey is higher in the rankings and Green is a move seven. Agar also plays for Hazlewood, two spinner topstitchers with Stoinis and Green.
Jos Butler * +
Alex Carey +
Pat Cummins *
Pat Cummins is happy to chase against England and perhaps reject England as their preferred method of chase. It’s interesting because Australia has been a team that has occasionally prioritized bat over the past few years. Jos Buttler doesn’t look fussy.
In any case, it’s a beautiful day in Adelaide, sunny and in your late 20s, sweet and gentle as crème caramel. Players can’t be too desolate on their way out there. Much of England is doing field drills, throwing in glove holders. Australia’s party has been having some dips for a while and then rallying together and now falling to the ground in various groupings.
Given the questions as to why this one-day series took place so soon after a T20 World Cup, it makes sense. Largely because international teams don’t have time to do anything these days. But I covered some of that in the preview here. Go ahead, we have time.
Hello from Adelaide Oval ringing all over the world. The competition everyone has been waiting for has arrived. Wait, I’m sorry. Not really. But it’s still a competition and Australia vs England and that has to mean something. Wait, I’m getting feedback. This is not true either. Well, never mind, this is cricket and some of us like to watch it so we’ll go ahead and do it and not worry too much about the meaning. OK? Fantastic.