Ashes 2021-22: Australia v England first test, day four – live! | sport


Hello everyone and welcome for the live coverage of Day 4 of Gabba’s 2021-22 Ashes opening trial. The opening delivery of the day will be played around 9:30 a.m. local Brisbane time (10:30 a.m. AEDT / 11:30 p.m. GMT).

It’s amazing what a good partnership can do, isn’t it? From Watson and Crick decoding the mysteries of life, to Morecambe and Wise perfecting comedic timing, and Mavis and Rita turning a post office into a theater of the absurd (I do not really know about this last example). Joe Root and Dawid Malan can now be added to that list, as their partnership not only made this match day four, it may well have saved a whole series.

By the end of the first day – the first of a possible 25 stretching into the New Year – the England tour is almost over. A historic pitching decision, a first bullet calamity and routine collapse conspired to send tourists to watch a three-day defeat at the Gabbatoir. Day two brought no respite, and at 61-2 halfway through day three, tickets to the weekend’s action looked as sunk as one of the UK government’s secret Santas. It was not an unknown humiliation.

But then came a stand worth 159 races – and counting – over 49 overs, between the aberrant Englishman Root and one of his colleagues who must find a way to hold an end long enough for the belief to emerge. That teammate was Malan, whose laconic technique seems as suited to Australian conditions as anywhere else in the world.

Australia should win this match again (WinViz gives them a 75% chance of doing so) but they will now have to win it on a fourth or even fifth day. And Pat Cummins will have to answer the first questions of his captain, Nathan Lyon will have to continue his odyssey through the nervous 390s, and who knows, maybe the hosts will have even more demons in the form of Ben Stokes to take down?

Thanks to yesterday’s partnership, England can take some confidence in the rest of the tour that, if the bowling attack continues to create opportunities like they did on day two, there may be enough of runs in batting training to make a series fist after all. I do not really know, but it’s a damn better sight than being certain of a calamity so early in the summer.

I will come back with more information shortly, but if you would like to participate you can reach me via email or Twitter (@JPHowcroft).

Australia needs to entrench England and make inroads on the rest of a shaky strike order.