Melbourne Cricket Ground

Well, we were hoping to have at least some play tonight between Australia v England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground but again Mother Nature ultimately won this game ahead of the two teams without a ball being bowled.

With that being said, Australia should not have to face any issues beating Ireland and Afghanistan to complete their Super 12 campaign. However, like Mother Nature, Australia will need some luck & pray that England lose to the Black Caps (New Zealand) on Tuesday. 

That way, not only Australia can end up in the Top 2 Group 1 ladder, but they can advance into the semi-finals v India or South Africa in order to continue their World Championship defence on home soil.

For now, the Australian Opening and Top-Order will need to be at their best by scoring big, so they can come to a semi-final fully prepared to upset a giant like India as if their 2nd place finish in Group 1 was confirmed. 

Meanwhile, their bowling has been okay on the other hand but again they will need to be up and running right & nail down early wickets from the very start. If not, they will have a hard time overcoming India in the semi-final and potentially throw away another Trans-Tasman showdown v the Blackcaps (New Zealand) for the big T20 World Cup Final at the MCG come Sunday November 13.

We love seeing some underdog teams upset the big nation Test sides so far in this tournament, as we can’t wait to see how the business end of the Super 12 group stages unfold going into this weekend as well as the entirety of next week.

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Unreal stuff from Scott Boland with his maiden 5fer at six wickets for seven runs during England’s 2nd innings spell & did that on test debut at age 32 which is incredible, Australia bowled England all out for 68 in the 3rd innings as they won by an innings and 14 runs that was enough to win the five-match Ashes Series 3-0 as well as retain the famous Urn.

Love the way Boland dismissed Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Mark Wood & Ollie Robinson all done this morning where he bowled a super good line & bounce that punished them under their skin, we can’t forget the moment he got out Haseeb Hameed & clean bowled Jack Leach towards the end of Day 2. Credit to Mitchell Starc who dismissed Ben Stokes that quick for 11 straight from a well-earned rest from last night including Zak Crawley (5) & a first ball LBW to Dawid Malan yesterday afternoon and Cameron Green finished off the game for Australia with a peach clean bowl delivery to James Anderson.

What Australia can do now is win two more games to wrap up 5-0 as their fast bowling arsenal may be modified a bit to accommodate Josh Hazlewood’s return from injury, they should still give Marcus Harris a bit more time as opener before we can fairly judge him to make up a pattern of consistent big scores after his half-ton on 76 yesterday.

Meanwhile, I don’t have a lot of good things to say right now for England when they still have yet to win a game so far in this series as well as no Urn that was taken away by Australia since 2017-18.

We’ll start at the Opening pair who still failed miserably with Hameed out & Jos Buttler promoted up first with Crawley by handing over the gloves to Bairstow, while Chris Woakes should’ve stayed in place of Ollie Robinson which didn’t happen & it’s best if they swapped Stokes & Bairstow in the middle-order at 5 & 6 respectively with the rest okay through Root, Malan, Wood & Anderson.

Although England should give Dom Bess an chance in Leach’s place as spinner since the surface there in Sydney suits these types of bowlers.

Game 3 is done, Happy New Year & can’t wait for the New Year’s Sydney Test.

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How good is it to end Day 2 with four early wickets on hand from the Aussies at the MCG where Mitchell Starc bowled two stunning back to back wickets, he produced a brilliant straight line that executed well with speed which made Zak Crawley hesitate with the edge before he strapped Dawid Malan first ball LBW. We also saw Scott Boland pick up two wickets as well having targeted a great area off Haseeb Hameed without that off-stump protection including a peach of a delivery two balls later which punished Jack Leach straight into the stumps. And hats off to Alex Carey with two stunning catches off both England’s openers behind the gloves as these fielders gotta be on their toes tomorrow & not make up dropped/unlucky catches.

Meanwhile, England have lost it when they lost both openers, Malan out first ball at 3 & a nightwatchman (Jack Leach) got sent back really quickly despite a brilliant 1st innings spell with the ball for the majority of Day 2 today. Crawley and Hameed just couldn’t kick on before they were held accountable by the Australian quicks as it’s probably the last time we’ve seen Hameed at Test level for now before the 4th Test in Sydney, it’s best if Jos Buttler hands over the keeping gloves to Jonny Bairstow or Ben Foakes and be a makeshift opener with Crawley who knows how to defend & take his time.

Stumps at Day 2: England 31-4 and trails by 51 runs.

Australia gotta keep that strong start and inflict more damage on Joe Root (12) & Ben Stokes (2) before they can finish up the job on the middle and lower end & retain the Series Urn once again for the third straight time that goes back from their last Ashes tour at home in 2017-18, while England needs Root & Stokes to build a huge partnership that could determine their stance towards the next three days of this test or else it’s too late.

#AUSvENG #Ashes #Cricket #TestCricket #Australia #England #MelbourneCricketGround #ScottBoland #MitchellStarc #ZakCrawley #HaseebHameed #DawidMalan #JoeRoot #BenStokes #JackLeach #AlexCarey

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Great to see Marcus Harris secure his Test 50 after, but disappointed not to turn into a 100 especially when batting in front of his home crowd after he was caught by Joe Root on 76. Although Australia just overtook England for the lead a while ago, it’s just the middle and tail end who weren’t up to the chase against the England bowlers after they were all out for 267 but it’s still okay when Australia are ahead by 82 runs.

England on the other hand are still blessed to have Jimmy Anderson firing up with the ball, who picked up four wickets including Harris plus two key men off David Warner & Steve Smith which is incredible figures from such a ripe age of 39 while most others retire from the game.

We also want to give a shoutout to skipper Joe Root when he made a couple of decent catches that not cleared up Australia’s Top 6 arsenal ASAP it became a big part of England’s brilliant Day 2 on the field today.

England has a huge chance now to turn it around and build a big total with the bat, while Australia hopes to deliver a few early wickets towards the end of this session ahead of stumps & come back to finish the job on Day 3 tomorrow.

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England did a great job in this opening session on Day 2 at the MCG despite chaos surrounding off the field with COVID tests overnight, Jimmy Anderson fit and firing as always at age 38 who not only caught out Dave Warner (38) from late yesterday afternoon but also made Steve Smith (16) knick that edge straight through the stumps with great read to mix some speed & build this kind of pressure.

Hats off to his supporting seamers from Ollie Robinson & Mark Wood with the early wickets especially when Wood produced that bounce & length, he successfully got rid of the dangerman Marnus Labuschagne for 1, who felt vulnerable in the end as he edged straight to Joe Root at 1st slip.

Australia have been okay when you still have Marcus Harris in the middle at 48 as of lunch, he’s doing great so far hanging in there and should continue that progress if a 50 and 100 on home soil comes to him. But it’s disappointing for most parts when the nightwatchmen gamble didn’t pay off in Nathan Lyon (10) as well as the top-order being blown away so fast for bare single & double digit scores by the fiery English bowling attack.

Score: Australia 131-4 and trails by 54 runs.

Communication is very important where Harris and Head were lucky to escape a direct hit possibility on occasions which reflects Australia’s poor start with the bat in this 1st innings spell, it’s best to play it simple by going back to square one and shave off that run trail first before building a big total going into Day 3. England has to keep that strong start off the ball and finish the damage on Harris & Head before getting the job done on the lower-order as their new-look batting line-up still needs to be tested if they are to win this Test match.

#AUSvENG #JamesAnderson #SteveSmith #MarnusLabuschagne #NathanLyon #MarcusHarris #TravisHead #Australia #England #MCG #Cricket #MarkWood #OllieRobinson #TestCricket

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Well done to Australia on Day 1 at the MCG when they successfully done the damage after tea that ended England’s 1st innings total of 185 as they are on 61-1 at stumps with a 124 run trail behind them ahead of Day 2 tomorrow.

It’s great to see Scott Boland secure his maiden Test wicket in addition to two brilliant catches down at the rope, while Mitchell Starc scared off Bairstow that scooped straight to Cameron Green’s hands at gully before Nathan Lyon completed the remaining England tail-enders of Jack Leach & Ollie Robinson.

Looking at the bat now & it’s nice to see David Warner scoring quickfire runs but disappointed not to continue on 38 when he was caught by Zak Crawley off Jimmy Anderson, Marcus Harris is also making good progress despite having yet to score big in this Ashes Series as he hopes to prove selectors that he deserves to stay by scoring a ton tomorrow in front of his home crowd. And we’ll see what their nightwatchmen Nathan Lyon has something to offer with the bat before the top-order options come in & help Australia produce a big innings total than England.

Meanwhile at the England camp, Jonny Bairstow did his best to stay in there on 35 before he was so vulnerable by Starc that sent him back upstairs. We also saw Ollie Robinson & Jack Leach score some handy runs while it lasted, but England were already in a bad state anyway as they need their bowlers to produce the magic tomorrow like Jimmy Anderson did with Warner not long before stumps.

Getting rid of these dangermen early like Labuschagne, Steve Smith, etc could mean a lifeline for their Top 6 batsmen to rebound in the 2nd innings especially with a few changes at Opening & Middle-Order spots that will be tested once again to handle the Australian bowlers.

#AUSvENG #Ashes #Cricket #Australia #England #MelbourneCricketGround #MarcusHarris #DavidWarner #ScottBoland #NathanLyon #MitchellStarc #JimmyAnderson #JonnyBairstow #OllieRobinson #JackLeach

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It’s been a quiet middle session mightily for England when Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow hung in there to block & score some runs on the board but Stokes couldn’t execute that ramp shot over the rope as he was caught by Nathan Lyon at gully for 25.

The same goes for Joe Root who reached his test 50 after a great spell in the middle but got caught straight away when his head was not in-line & edged it to Alex Carey’s keeping gloves.

And while Australia’s momentum wasn’t the same after lunch, they saw Mitchell Starc & Cameron Green share the two wickets off Root & Stokes respectively before Nathan Lyon became the standout star when he caught Stokes at gully before he made Jos Buttler (3) mis-timed that loft drive to Scott Boland at deep square leg on the last ball of this session.

Score at Tea: England 128-6

All England can do now is gotta keep staying in there & block the good balls out with Bairstow on 21* with Mark Wood to come ahead of Ollie Robinson, Jack Leach & James Anderson while Australia hopes to finish off the England tail end before they can begin batting towards the end of Day 1 today.

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Great start by the Aussies at the MCG with skipper Pat Cummins back on the field after a short time in quarantine and smashing it with all three of England’s wickets so far this morning, love the way he produced some brilliant speed that matches with the line & areas which knicked the opposition straight into the slips & keeper.

Meanwhile, Joe Root needs his help to turn England’s poor AM start around after lunch when both openers (Haseeb Hameed & Zak Crawley) were gone cheaply with no idea to stop Cummins as well as Dawid Malan who was out a while ago on 14 as he was disappointed not to make up a big score in this 1st innings run.

All eyes on Ben Stokes to smash it big including Jonny Bairstow & Jos Buttler next in-line for England, while Australia let’s hope that Cummins continues his strong start alongside some support from the other quicks and spinner Nathan Lyon.

Score: England 61/3

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Australia hopes to go one better at the Melbourne Cricket Ground & retain the Urn having won the first two tests with three matches to go in the 2021-22 Ashes Series.

It’s good that they have kept most of the winning crop in their starting XI such as David Warner in the opening spot as well as a strong top and middle order arsenal that begins with Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green (Seam All-Rounder) and Alex Carey (Keeper).

Although Marcus Harris retained the other opening spot with Warner who hasn’t found the decent numbers delivered so far, but I think it’s his make or break opportunity to thrive at his home ground in Melbourne and if doesn’t even if Australia won then it may be good time to change a different opener for the New Year’s Test in Sydney.

Then we can talk about the bowlers where Australia made two changes with Pat Cummins back for Michael Neser at 8, now it’s a tough call when Neser did very well on his unexpected Test debut in Adelaide last week at age 31 but there’s Cummins is an extremely important member of the Baggy Green side especially when he was just given the captaincy after Tim Paine resigned to take a break so Neser had to go.

Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon stays on who hopes to continue their strong start & inflict more damage to England’s batting card. And Scott Boland makes his Test debut at age 32 in place of Jhye Richardson which is a breakthrough moment for him at his home ground.

Brilliant start from Pat Cummins by the way with both of England’s openers upon his return from isolation as Australia hopes to break the partnership of Joe Root & Dawid Malan ASAP with England 35-2.

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England made four changes to their XI ahead of the third test today at the Melbourne Cricket Ground v Australia.

Happy to see Rory Burns replaced by Zak Crawley after an unfortunate first two tests, it’s not just the mediocre batting numbers but he also paid the price for poor fielding too. Meanwhile, Haseeb Hameed stayed on despite plenty of fans suggesting that he should be joining Burns towards the chop, but at least Hameed scored a couple of okay double-digit scores & deserves to be tested with a different opening partnership of Crawley.

No need to change the top-order pair that worked so well in skipper Joe Root & Dawid Malan as they hope to make up damage to the Aussies, but hopefully the promotion of Ben Stokes at 5 would help England at least deliver them a century or two in order to stay in contention.

Jonny Bairstow in for Ollie Pope at 6, who hopes to be an upgrade to help stretch England’s run chase as Pope may have fired off well in the 1st Test at The Gabba but couldn’t keep it consistent ever since which saw him walk out the door. And let’s hope that Jos Buttler continues where he left off from the 2nd innings in Adelaide last week by hanging in there & blocking out these good balls but he’s also under pressure to improve his catching behind the keeping gloves too.

Ollie Robinson stays at No.8 who continues to shine with the ball and can bat a bit, while Stuart Broad’s return last week in Adelaide didn’t help much for England despite a fantastic 1st innings v Australia’s batting so they got Mark Wood back in his place at 9. Now it’s kinda harsh to pull the plug on Chris Woakes on this one when he too showed some late form with the bat on 44 & should’ve replaced Robinson at 8 but he hasn’t done much with the ball though as England opted for a frontline spinner in Jack Leach & James Anderson retains his spot at No.11.

Both openers are unfortunately gone early just a while ago with Root & Malan up to the task to turn England’s poor start around as they are 35-2.

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