More pain for England, in a physical and cricketing sense. Ben Stokes went off clutching his left side after bowling four overs of leg theory in an attempt to break the partnership between Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja, a hugely worrying development for England who are now left with depleted attack against set batsmen on a good pitch.
Jack Leach was milked easily enough but again was unlucky to see a catch dropped off his bowling – Khawaja’s edge on 28 deflecting off Jos Buttler’s thigh and eluding Joe Root’s clutches at slip.
It was England’s 16th drop of the series. Smith moved to fifty in the final over before lunch after a truncated session interrupted by three light showers.
OVER 90 AUS 248/5 (Khawaja 56 Carey 1)
Broad comes round to Carey who has scores of 12, 9, 51, 6 and 19 so far in the series. He gets off the mark with a back-foot poke through point for a single. Khawaja pulls to long leg for a single. This is the fifth over of Broad’s spell. With no Stokes to help he might have to have a breather for three or four, let Anderson bowl and then relieve Wood.
OVER 89 AUS 246/5 (Khawaja 55 Carey 0)
Wood thinks he had a chance of strangling Khawaja down the legside but the left-hander got enough bat on it to tickle it wide of Buttler’s dive and down to fine leg for four. No justice.
OVER 88 AUS 242/5 (Khawaja 51 Carey 0)
Looking at the ‘chance’ again, it would have needed a blinder to hang on but he didn’t dive. Perhaps he couldn’t dive. A misfield at mid on by Anderson gives Khawaja a single. Broad nips one back into Green’s right thigh and nicks him off next ball, getting the plodding right-hander to lurch forward into a drive. Enter Carey.
Broad stays over the wicket to Carey who refuses to play at the last two balls, one flies over the stumps, the other whooshes down the channel.
Green c Crawley b Broad 5 Nicks him off to third slip. Crawley takes a good catch low to his left. There’s no way Green is a Test No6, not yet anyway. FOW 242/5
OVER 87: AUS 241/4 (Khawaja 50 Green 5)
Wood replaces Anderson. Green uses his bat to defend three but leaves the one that scuttles through low outside off. Green edges the fifth ball for four between Root and Stokes, the second slip, who didn’t even dive. It was his catch but he hasn’t fielded there since the India tour and is injured anyway.
OVER 86: AUS 237/4 (Khawaja 50 Green 1)
Broad nibbles one back into Green who has concrete boots at the start of his innings and strikes him on the right thigh. Then he gets him playing across the line which provokes Broad’s interest before getting off the mark witha thick edge.
Khawaja whisks two off his pads and makes his half-century.
OVER 85: AUS 234/4 (Khawaja 48 Green 0)
Khawaja pulls Anderson fine for two. Wood saves the boundary. Anderson needs to keep him at that end to let Broad bowl at Green and manages to do so with two dot balls to end the over.
OVER 84: AUS 232/4 (Khawaja 46 Green 0)
Broad is creamed for four off the first ball of the over, pins Smith with the next and gets the right-hander groping after the next. But instead of continuing to probe around off-stump, Broad drops short and Smith collars it, pulling it for another four. But t’was just a minor aberration as Broad gets his man with the last ball of the over.
Smith c Buttler b Broad 67Fantastic delivery down the corridor, just nibbled away and Smith nicks off to the keeper who managed to cling on to a straightforward catch. FOW 232/4
England burn a review
Pinning Smith with a nip-backer when he hadn’t played a shot but the ball was angling down, missing leg-stump. Would have been not out on umpire’s call as well, let’s not forget.
OVER 83: AUS 224/3 (Smith 59 Khawaja 46)
Stokes slots in at second slip. Don’t think he’s fielded in the cordon all tour yet because of his finger. But there he is now. Khawaja pushes a single to mid-on and sprints through. Smith flicks a straight ball off middle and off down to square leg. Khawaja plays out the rest of the over. leaving anything back of a length and defending the others.
OVER 82: AUS 222/3 (Smith 58 Khawaja 45)
Broad’s first ball scuttles through low outside off-stump and Khawaja defends the next, not full forward. That’s the perfect length. Wood can’t reach the defensive punch through mid on with his headlong dive and they run a single. Nelson bought them a wicket. Will double Nelson? Broad comes over the wicket to Smith who is thwarted by mid-off, mid-on and cover. Stokes is back on the field.
OVER 81: AUS 221/3 (Smith 58 Khawaja 44)
Anderson has the new ball – a hint of swing in to Smith. He’s up to 80mph after labouring through his first spell in the seventies. Smith withdraws the bat when three hurtle down the corridor. Ben Stokes has been passed fit to field but doesn’t look likely he will bowl again when he returns imminently.
Anderson begins with a maiden.
OVER 80: AUS 221/3 (Smith 58 Khawaja 44)
Joe Root will bowl the last over with the old ball. Smith turns one with the spin to leg slip who stops the single then slaps a single off the back foot through cover to raise the hundred partnership. Root, like Leach, drags one down and Khawaja carts it for four with a pull.
That’s that and England take the new ball.
OVER 79: AUS 216/3 (Smith 57 Khawaja 40)
And Leach begins with a fat pie, a greasy long hop that Smith carves for four. Shockingly bad ball. Short again with the next and Smith cuts him again but only for a single. Khawaja milks a single off his pads. Smith blocks a couple then cuts for a third time and a sixth run for him off the over. Seven off it altogether. Risible.
The players are heading back out
If England can pick up wickets with the new ball, unlikely though it seems England could still have a wee chance. If these two survive an hour, we’re doomed Captain Mainwaring. Doomed.
Lunch: AUS 209/3 (Smith 51 Khawaja 39)
Australia have made 83 without losing a wicket in 30.1 overs. They worked hard to create the opportunity and promptly spilled it when Root and Buttler combined to drop Khawaja off Leach. If the new ball doesn’t bring wickets for England, one can imagine Steve Smith emerging with a grandaddy hundred. The storm clouds gather again for England.
Ben Stokes Update
Nick Hoult reports from Sydney: “Currently being treated for left side tightness. Will be assessed over the course of the next hour.”
OVER 78: AUS 209/3 (Smith 51 Khawaja 39)
Smith brings up his fifty when Malan serves up a long hop which he cuts for a single. Khawaja swats a single off a full toss and Smith ends the session with a fine leg-glance for a single.
Smith will have the strike on resumption in 40 minutes with two overs to go before the new ball.
OVER 77: AUS 206/3 (Smith 49 Khawaja 38)
Smith moves to 49 with a flick through midwicket for a single, Khawaja leans back to biff two through point.
OVER 76: AUS 203/3 (Smith 48 Khawaja 36)
Dawid Malan comes on for a couple of pre new ball overs. He starts with the flipper, or at least one that keeps straight to Smith, another leg-spinner. Set a thief to catch a thief. The right-hander uses his feet to skelp a single to mid-on.
Good shape from Malan until he overpitches the penultimate and final balls and both batsmen work singles down to long on.
OVER 75: AUS 200/3 (Smith 46 Khawaja 35)
Leach, to his credit, hasn’t let the drop affect him. He’s turning the ball and pulled the fielders in from the rope square of the wicket. Smith comes down to bunt a single to Broad at long off. Certainly more drift and variation now. Khawaja brings up the 200 with a square drive for two off one tossed up too far.
OVER 74: AUS 197/3 (Smith 45 Khawaja 33)
Stokes had no slips, Wood has two, round the wicket to Khawaja, pitching it up and the left-hander ambles a leg-bye, trying to tickle the ball slanting across him for a single but wearing it on the outside flap of his front pad instead.
Smith works a single off a straight ball through midwicket.
OVER 73: AUS 195/3 (Smith 44 Khawaja 33)
Mid-on is neither Arthur or Martha, standing 30 yards back and offering an easy single which Khawaja takes. And it’s the same man, though mid-off to the right-handed Smith, who allows him another single. They run one off a Hameed misfield as the ball bounces quirkily off an old popping crease and another with Smith’s legside flick.
OVER 72: AUS 191/3 (Smith 42 Khawaja 31)
Buttler’s deflection made it difficult for Root but he did get his fingers to it.
Khawaja rides the Stokes bounce, more flaccid this over, and tucks a single round the corner. After five balls Stokes knacks his left hip or strains his side and walks off the field. These tactics are breaking England’s all-rounder, just as they broke Jofra. This is ridiculous.
Wood finishes the over, pitches it up and Smith drives a single through cover.
OVER 71: AUS 189/3 (Smith 41 Khawaja 30)
Root spills a catch at slip. Khawaja got it to turn and kiss the outside edge. The ball flew and hit Buttler on the thigh before popping up to first slip where Root can only parry it.
If it wasn’t for bad luck, Leach would have none at all. How annoying.
OVER 70: AUS 185/3 (Smith 39 Khawaja 28)
Smith misjudges the bounce and is struck on the glove as he tried to duck. he’s better off pulling for a single, which he does next ball before taking off his glove and wiggling his left pinkie. Stokes is already walking like Worzel Gummidge.
OVER 69: AUS 182/3 (Smith 37 Khawaja 28)
Khawaja flicks a single off Leach to Bairstow at deep backward square and turns down a second when he realises it’s England’s gun outfielder who is swooping on the ball.
Smith prods a single through the onside and Leach ends the over with a flatter, skiddier one that Khawaja plays with the inside edge when hurried on to the back foot.
England seems as if they’re just holding on for the new ball.
OVER 68: AUS 180/3 (Smith 36 Khawaja 27)
Khawaja shapes to uppercut Stokes’ bouncer but the ball climbs above the bat as he flashes his blade underneath. He evades two, then is struck on the shoulder as he pokes his head out of the way, surprised by the sharp bounce generated by Stokes’ cross-seamer.
He control-pulls the final ball for a single and nicks the strike. All 12 Stokes’ deliveries in this pell so far have been half-trackers.
OVER 67: AUS 179/3 (Smith 36 Khawaja 26)
Leach stays over the wicket to Khawaja. One hits a trampoline in the pitch and spits up at Khawaja who hops back to play it with the splice but relieves the pressure with a flick down to fine leg.
Jos Buttler is giving him more encouragement than before in the series. The keeper has been unusually quiet on this trip. He used to rabbit away.
OVER 66: AUS 178/3 (Smith 36 Khawaja 25)
And here is Ben Stokes but not as Leach’s replacement. He comes on for Anderson and he sets a field for chin music – long leg, deep square leg, fly slip. Stokes bangs the first three in, Khawaja ducks the first two then hooks the third, top-edging it but a good 20ft short of long leg.
Stokes stays round the wicket to Smith who calmly pulls the midriff-high delivery for a single. Kahwaja tucks one round the corner off his ribs and walks up the other end.
Stokes is a better bowler than being lumbered with this plan. At least pitch a couple up.
OVER 65: AUS 175/3 (Smith 35 Khawaja 23)
Two singles nurdled off Leach as England let the game drift away from them. Give Stokes a bowl. Whether England have ruined Leach or he isn’t good enough on these pitches is moot. It just isn’t working for him.
OVER 64: AUS 173/3 (Smith 34 Khawaja 22)
Smith tucks a single off his hip, Anderson falls in his followthrough hen his sprigs stick in the surface and doesn’t see Khawaja pull him for a single. Smith drives two through cover and then a single in the same vicinity. It looks easy for them now.
OVER 63: AUS 168/3 (Smith 30 Khawaja 21)
They didn’t even have time to cover the pitch with the hessian first layers of covers before they come back out and Leach finishes his over, back round the wicket to Khawaja after going for four. It’s so reactive. He’s twice had him hitting close to fielders through the air but he retreats into his shell as soon as he leaks boundaries but seems content to gift-wrap singles. The captaincy of spin is appalling and has been under Cook as well as Root but it’s up to the spinner as well to do something about it. Anderson and Broad wouldn’t stand for Root leaving so many gaps.
OVER 62.5: AUS 168/3 (Smith 30 Khawaja 21)
Smith milks a single to cover off Leach against this absurd field with four men on the boundary when England need wickets.
Two balls back out there and the rain returns. The umpires look to Smith but he decides the game can go on … for now.
Khawaja defends three and then carves a cut for four in the air, wide of point.
And then the umpires take the players off – or rather the Australian players as England stay out there.
Rain stops play.
OVER 62: AUS 163/3 (Smith 29 Khawaja 17)
Anderson finishes his over with a dot ball to Khawaja.
Smith the all-rounder
He seems wounded by the thought of rain sullying the blade of his bat.
OVER 61.5: AUS 163/3 (Smith 29 Khawaja 17)
Leach slides to save two at deep fine leg when Smith whips Anderson wide of leg slip and is called into action again when Smith tucks another for a single off middle.
Here comes the rain again. The umpires decide to stay out for now.
Khawaja shoulders arms to two and off the players go, Smith leading the way almost before the umpires had assented to it.
Rain stops play.
OVER 61: AUS 160/3 (Smith 26 Khawaja 17)
Leach comes over the wicket to Khawaja. Little flight so far from Leach who, as CricViz points out, is bowling darts which just isn’t his game. His confidence must be in the floor. Hameed saves a couple of singles at short leg and that means Leach has his first maiden of the series. Hallelujah!
OVER 60: AUS 160/3 (Smith 26 Khawaja 17)
Movement from Anderson back into Smith who defends the first three then tucks the fourth, shirter one, around the corner for two. This already feels pretty ominous. Having been unable to string two good sessions together in the preceding three Tests, it would be small wonder if they can’t string two decent days together.
OVER 59: AUS 158/3 (Smith 24 Khawaja 17)
Leach, from round the wicket, is pitching too close to middle stump which allows Khawaja to milk singles through square leg, which he does to start the over.
Smith flicks a single down to midwicket against the gentle turn and Khawaja reveres sweeps for four. Dexterous hands.
This is a terrible field set for Leach. Singles available on the legside whenever they want them.
OVER 57: AUS 152/3 (Smith 23 Khawaja 12)
Anderson partly answers our prayers with a full delivery to restart the game but it’s floaty and overpitched and Smith creams it through mid-on, tight to the stumps, for four. Anderson predictably ratchets back his length and Smith defends
Sir Alastair Cook and Moeen Ali
Are emphasising how deep their friendship is after yesterday’s reporting about their discussion over captaincy in which Moeen said Root was more empathetic than his predecessor. Matt Smith is teasing them over the extent of their animosity and the supposed ‘spat’, as covered here.
The covers are already coming off
Four minutes after the players departed.
The umpires are on the field and talking to the groundstaff, each of whom is dressed like Jason Donovan circa 1988.
OVER 56.3: AUS 148/3 (Smith 19 Khawaja 12)
Rain stops play. A very squally shower allows three deliveries but then thickens and the umpires take the players off. Anderson has the face on as he trudges off.
OVER 56: AUS 147/3 (Smith 19 Khawaja 11)
Smith drives down to long off for a single, Kahwaja drives uppishly to long on for another. Ben Stokes dives at short midwicket but can’t get near it.
Smith defends on the back foot, playing out three dot balls but then tries to pinch a single off the last ball, nurdling it into the onside. Khawaja rightly sends him back.
OVER 55: AUS 145/3 (Smith 18 Khawaja 10)
Smith soft-shoes across the crease to Anderson’s nip-backer and plays it off the inside edge for one to fine leg.
Khawaja lets two handsome looking deliveries climb over off-stump while shouldering arms. Make that three. Pretty but ineffective. The left-hander does use his bat to defend the last one, though, as Anderson pitches it a bit further up, enfin.
OVER 54: AUS 144/3 (Smith 17 Khawaja 10)
Perhaps the roller’s effects have died out as one climbs alarmingly and crashes into Khawaja’s left index finger – it was only 78mph but rattled into the glove.
Khawaja walks a leg-bye when hit on the hip and Anderson ends the over eliciting a genuine play and miss outside off-stump from Smith.
Root throws the ball to Jack Leach. He has a short leg and a slip as he comes round the wicket to Khawaja who milks him for a single to the deep midwicket sweeper.
Smith throws his hands at a drive and taps it to the cover sweeper for two. Don’t know why mid-off is s far back as there’s an easy single there for a crisp backward defensive and they duly stroll one.
OVER 53: AUS 140/3 (Smith 14 Khawaja 9)
Broad’s slower ball is dug out by Khawaja towards mid-on and much to the bowler’s exasperation they steal a single. Broad posts a leg slip for Smith but his first delivery bowling to that plan is way too wide and Smith strikes a pose as he ostentatiously leaves it.
Time for Anderson.
OVER 52: AUS 138/3 (Smith 14 Khawaja 8)
Wood pitches up and hangs it outside off-stump, too far outside and Khawaja eases into a square drive, caressing it for three. Wood tries the bouncer to Smith who hooks the chin high delivery down to long leg for a single. As Henry Lawson says, the way Smith is playing so far is scary for England. Soft hands, unhurried, clipping everything straight into the legside.
Wood comes round to Khawaja who flicks a single off his thigh for a single.
OVER 51: AUS 133/3 (Smith 13 Khawaja 4)
Edge from Smith but with a loose grip and soft hands which sends the ball squirting wide of gully, having hit the deck 5ft in front of him, for two. He gleans two more through the same gap when Smith scissors his bat from out to in and Broad stands and glares with his hands on his hips.
Smith walks across to clip a shorter ball from off-stump behind square on the legside for two. Broad is simmering.
OVER 50: AUS 127/3 (Smith 7 Khawaja 4)
Wood likes the over the wicket angle to Kahwaja who leaves the first as it climbs and fizzes past off-stump and then defends the second, squared up by the pace a little. The third is too quick for him, crashing into the thigh pad and he lifts his bat out of the road of the next one. Good wheels from Wood. Or in his case, good horsepower. Giddy up!
Pitch looks dead – maybe the effects of the roller will wear off by half past. Another maiden, Khawaja plays at the last ball, in some haste and surprise, with his inside edge but perfectly safely.
OVER 49: AUS 127/3 (Smith 7 Khawaja 4)
Stuart Broad is backed by his captain to bowl a longer first spell when everyone thought it would be one ball and straight over to Anderson. He comes over the wicket to Smith and hits the channel outside off. Smith leaves the first two then defends, squared up, when the third jags back into him. Broad’s pace is also up in the mid-80s but neither the movement nor the pace is enough to trap Smith at the moment.
Smith wants to play tip and run to mid-on but Wood is on his toes and firces him to scuttle back. Maiden.
OVER 48: AUS 127/3 (Smith 7 Khawaja 4)
Wood starts with a fast, full delivery that Smith defends and then fidgets after, walking down the pitch, twirling his bat as Jerusalem is sung by the Barmy Army’s Expeditionary Force.
Wood’s shorter ball hits Smith on the thigh-pad as he shapes to pull before aborting the stroke halfway and then the right-hander gets away with a dabby-chop through a vacant cover area for a single. Khawaja shoulders arms outside off. Wood is already at 90mph and he hurries Khawaja into a tuck off his hip to end the over. No run.
OVER 47: AUS 126/3 (Smith 6 Khawaja 4)
Broad, from round the wicket, gets one to zip into Khawaja and climb past his ribcage on its way through to Buttler. Mark Wood will resume from the Paddington End.
The players are out
Stuart Broad has one ball of his 12th over to bowl. It’s hellishly humid in Sydney.
There are blue skies above
Moore Park and, although rain is still on the radar, we should start on time at 11pm GMT.
And welcome to live over-by-over coverage of day two of the fourth Ashes Test from the SCG which is due to stars half an hour early at 11pm GMT because of the hours lost to rain yesterday. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting an 80 per cent chance of showers this morning and in the early afternoon, saying: “Cloudy, high chance of showers, becoming less likely late this afternoon and evening. The chance of a thunderstorm. Winds northeasterly 25 to 40 km/h.” we’re likely, therefore, to have an on-off day and, with a damp outfield, the probability that the ball will go soft early. It happened yesterday but England managed to get the ball changed in the evening session and bagged the wickets of Marcus Harris and Marnus Labuschagne with the harder pill.
They bowled diligently if typically too short at the start of Australia’s innings, with James Anderson majestic in his third spell, Mark Wood and Stuart Broad were very menacing even if they did retreat as soon as they were driven to the sanctuary of a short ball, and Ben Stokes bowled a few rippers and some dross. Joe Root’s team ought to be pleased with their performance in the field, they saved runs and held on to their catches but their shying at the stumps when the larcenous David Warner and Labuschagne were pinching singles earned them, as usual on this tour, no coconuts.
They have two new batsmen at the crease – Steve Smith resumes on six and seemed fretful against Wood last night while Usman Khawaja, on four, may have that wonderful 171 from his last Sydney Ashes Test to succour him but England have generally bowled well at him during his career. Anderson and Chris Woakes have dismissed him four times each, Stuart Broad three times and Ben Stokes once. Interestingly, though, it was Graeme Swann who had him in most trouble, bagging him five times, while Moeen Ali and Joe Root have dismissed him once each. The mollydooker is supposed to have improved against off-spin over the past four years but it might be worth old golden arm, Root, turning his arm over early if the quicks don’t get him in the first half hour.
Given how poor England’s batting has been this series – scores of 147, 297, 236, 192, 185 and 68 kneecapping the bowlers’ efforts – it would be daft to estimate an Australian first-innings total that England could overhaul. But if they could get them out for under 300, hopefully much less, when par seems to be about 350, it would be a crumb of comfort in this fraught series.