Aussie great vents at ugly Aussie issue

Australia will enter the second day of play hoping the tail can pile on a frustrating total after a disappointing day from the top order.

The Aussies failed to convert starts, gifted wickets away and couldn’t put together even a single sizeable partnership as they finished 8/299 at stumps.

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Chris Woakes capitalised on the favourable conditions with four wickets as England hold out hope of levelling the series up at 2-2.

Removing the final two wickets will be key before they set about launching a monster total before wet weather arrives in the latter stages of the Test.

Don’t miss a second of the fourth Test action right here.

10.30pm – Mark Waugh fumes over Aussie field placements

It’s been a topic of conversation throughout the Ashes and on day two of the fourth Test Australian cricket great Mark Waugh poured fuel on the fire.

Pat Cummins has copped it from all corners over his defensive field placements in an effort to try and curtail England’s ‘Bazball’ approach.

Fielders have been placed on the rope, offering up quick singles instead of attempting to lure the Poms into risky shots.

Waugh had enough on day two and let his frustrations out on social media.

“I just can’t get my head around these Aust field placements on the off side,” he wrote.

“Tall, good pace, fast bowlers often hitting the splice of the bat with no fieldsmen near the bat between 4/5th slip and mid off.

“Hang on there is a backward point for Starc v Ali.”

10.05pm – Lunch on day 2

The opening session of the second day goes the way of England.

With two quick wickets to clean up the Australian tail the Poms set about their first innings but were dealt an early hiccup.

Mitchell Starc struck to remove Ben Duckett, but then it was all Zak Crawley and Moeen Ali as they ticked the scoreboard over.

Crawley survived several close calls with two edges falling short of the slip cordon before he successfully overturned umpire Joel Wilson’s LBW decision with an instant review.

9.50pm – Crawley survives another close call

Cameron Green thought he had his man after a delivery thumped into the pads of the opener.

An emphatic appeal from the Aussie contingent saw the finger raised by the umpire, but Crawley sent it upstairs immediately for review.

The DRS proved to be his saving grace with the final indicator showing the ball had swung too much and was missing leg stump.

9.40pm – Poms settle after early fight

Moeen Ali and Zak Crawley have wrestled back the momentum after Australia got on top in the early going.

Ali retained his spot at first drop and has displayed a steady head and he and Crawley keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Crawley has survived some minor scares with several edges falling short of the slip cordon.

8.55pm – Starc strikes first blood

The ideal start for Australia with Mitchell Starc removing Ben Duckett in the early stages of England’s first innings.

A perfect delivery from the left armer moved away from Duckett and caught a feather of his edge before Alex Carey claimed it in his gloves.

8.35pm – Woakes cleans up Hazlewood

Chris Woakes has claimed a five-wicket haul after removing Australia’s final wicket of Josh Hazlewood.

A nothing prod outside of off stump flew off the edge of Hazlewood’s bat and into the hands of Ben Duckett at slip.

Australia tallied 317 runs with England now expected to go all out with the willow in hand as they look to level the series up.

8pm – Cummins’ idiocy called out

One day down and one wicket gone.

A full delivery from James Anderson lured Pat Cummins into a drive but his shot sailed into the awaiting hands of Ben Stokes at cover.

Fans watching on couldn’t believe the shot attempt on the opening ball of the day from Cummins when Australia were desperate to pile runs on the board.

The innings almost came to an end during the very next over when Josh Hazlewood edge a ball to the slip cordon, he was saved by a Chris Woakes no ball.

7.30pm – Aussie legend calls out selection ‘mistake’

For the first time in 11 years, Australia entered a Test match without a front line spinner after electing to drop Todd Murphy in favour of Cameron Green.

The decision means the Aussies are reliant upon five fast bowlers while likely getting pinch hits from Travis Head and potentially even Marnus Labuschagne.

It’s a decision that didn’t go over well with former Australian captain Steve Waugh who labelled it a “mistake”.

“I tend to disagree with it,” Waugh said on SEN radio. “I think it’s a mistake, particularly in Manchester where the ball does turn.

“I know they’re probably looking at the forecast and saying there’s a bit of rain around, but you do need variation in the attack.

“Particularly with the way England plays. They go at the bowlers really hard and we’ve got four right-arm quick bowlers so there’s a bit of sameness about our attack.”

Fellow Australian icon Ricky Ponting also expressed his confusion after watching Moeen Ali generate some considerable spin on the opening day.

“I was still surprised they didn’t go in with [a spinner],” Ponting said about the Aussies.

“Your preference is always to go in with a spinner – unless you are brilliant at reading weather forecasts and cricket pitches. So if you haven’t got one, you can be found out very easy.”

Labuschagne however backed the decision of the selectors to go in without a top-line spinner, believing the wicket will play into the hands of Australia’s fast bowlers.

“Because the wicket has been undercover for a few days, it didn’t have that really rock-hardness,” Labuschagne said.

“And the thatchy grass is spinning. So once that wears off, I think the middle of the week it’s going to actually not spin so much.

“The ends will rough up, eventually, if the weather stays good. But I think it’s actually going to spin less as the game goes on from the good part of the wicket.”


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