29th over: England 151-4 (Billings 22, Bairstow 86) A nifty over from Hazlewood with hits of revere swing into the cross breeze. Billings comes within inches of chopping on and then tries a wild swing. Time for Bairstow to whisper some sweet words of calm?
28th over: England 148-4 (Billings 21, Bairstow 85) England take a breath and seem to have decided to take a bite of Matthews. Billings reverse-sweep him, gloriously, then Bairstow sweeps him through the keeperâ€™s gloves.
More on the nuanced refund debate, this time from Edward Collier. â€œIâ€™m a member of MCC who was not offered any refund on my subscription, despite not having been able to attend Lordâ€™s this year. I think the main reason they didnâ€™t even offer it is because, prior to lockdown, the club embarked on a very expensive project rebuilding the Compton and Edrich stands, which relied to a great extent on ticket sales and which, of course, had to be refunded (and, of course, no income from hospitality either). I would have been happy to have donated my subscription, but it would have been nice to have been asked. Fellow members argue that there are still benefits from membership without attending Lordâ€™s for matches, but as I live 98 miles from St Johnâ€™s Wood I canâ€™t really take advantage.â€
27th over: England 138-4 (Billings 16, Bairstow 81) A huge lbw appeal from Cummins against Bairstow finds favour neither with his captain or the umpires. Careful procurement again by the two Bs.
26th over: England 136-4 (Billings 16, Bairstow 81) Maxwell has huge smile on his face as he continues to frustrate England with his ticklers. England bleed him for singles but canâ€™t pierce the field.
From Nova Scotia, Michael Bishop writes â€œ I just want to thank the aussies for their guts and passion aussies are famous for… coming over in these crazy times shows what we need… six great matches that make me want to get over to coffs harbour to see my daughter… cheers to both teams!â€ Aye, and to West Indies and Pakistan too. Thanks for making the summer.
25th over: England 130-4 (Billings 13, Bairstow 77) Finch brings Cummins back. Billings steals a quick single which might have been out had David Warner not fumbled in the covers. Bairstow has a huge swing and miss, suggesting a building up of frustration. Weâ€™ve reached the half way stage. England have a good base for acceleration.
24th over: England 126-4 (Billings 10, Bairstow 74) Maxwell storming through these overs, so quickly that England canâ€™t really keep up with him. Three singles patted away.
23rd over: England 123-4 (Billings 10, Bairstow 74) Starcâ€™s long legs gobble up miles in every stride. Bairstow drives him with outstretched arms, in quite an ugly fashion, for four. They sprint two, both extremely quick between the sticks. Starc not yet bringing the breakthrough Finch is hoping for.
â€œWhile I accept Richard Oâ€™Haganâ€™s point,â€ taps Rendel Harris. â€œSurrey are a very rich club, with a turnover of approximately Â£35M last year with Â£3.5M profit, I believe. Weâ€™ve been in the black every year for the last ten years, and we pay Â£1 a year to the Duchy of Cornwall for ground rent. It was somewhat ironic that the letter informing us of the decision on membership had in the envelope a flyer advertising the new luxury hotel Surrey are building opposite the ground! The club will not go under if they refund/roll over this yearâ€™s membership. Had they written to us explaining that they were going to go bankrupt by not refunding membership I would have probably have been happy to help, but they didnâ€™t because they wonâ€™t. This is not some cash-strapped charity but a major and very rich business. Numerous other clubs, by the way, including Glamorgan, Northants, Leicestershire, Warwickshire and Somerset, all of whom donâ€™t have the reserves Surrey or of the MCC, are offering refunds and/or membership rollovers. Odd that the two richest clubs in the country arenâ€™t – guess thatâ€™s how the rich get and stay rich. I mentioned that to Karl Marx once and he said he thought there might be a book in it…â€
22nd over: England 116-4 (Billings 9, Bairstow 68) Bairstow and Billings, the chalk and cheese of English cricket, knock Maxwell for a succession of singles.
21st over: England 112-4 (Billings 7, Bairstow 67) England milk Zampa better this over – nine from it.
20th over: England 103-4 (Billings 6, Bairstow 58) Iâ€™ve been brought a cup of tea. Absolute nectar. If I had to give one up, Iâ€™d easily choose tea over alcohol, but canâ€™t split tea or coffee. Like choosing an on form Bairstow or an on form Roy A nice plump four to Billings off Starc, learning quickly to make the most of this tempting short boundary.
19th over: England 97-4 (Billings 1, Bairstow 57) A most peculiar lbw review by Australia finishes the over, with the replay showing the ball lolloping off the edge of the bat. Buttler out cheaply again – T20 his forte this season.
â€œThe sight of David Warner smiling just below the score makes me feel happy; itâ€™s almost impossible to begrudge unconfined joy nowadays, wherever it resides.â€ Iâ€™m with you Alexander Pick.
WICKET! Buttler c Finch b Zampa 8
Zampa pockets another! Buttler tries to drive but a prowling Finch collects well in the covers.
18th over: England 96-3 (Buttler 8, Bairstow 57) A first over for Mitchell Marsh and itâ€™s a mixed bag. A cutter, then a bouncer that Bairstow ducks beneath, then four leg byes flat off the grill of Bairstowâ€™s helmet
17th over: England 90-3 (Buttler 8, Bairstow 55) Itâ€™s a pleasure to watch Zampa spinning the ball from hand to hand before his short twinkle-toed approach. England milk him for five singles.
A very thoughtful email arrives from Richard Oâ€™Hagan, in reply to Rendell Harris :
â€œIâ€™m a director of a wildlife Trust (www.hawk-conservancy.org) and also a parent of a child who is somewhat accidentally at private school. I have some sympathy with what has been said by other people, but I think that the important thing to remember is that these organisations still have costs to cover even if the country is locked down. You pay your membership, fees or whatever for the opportunity to see cricket, receive an education or watch owls by moonlight. But you also pay for the provision of the infrastructure that provides those opportunities.
â€œFrom my own perspective, we had no visitors for over three months, but we still had birds to feed, suppliers to pay, grounds to maintain and so on. When we reopened, we could not do so at full capacity, so incurred all of our usual costs with much reduced footfall.
â€œIt is a massively difficult balancing act and Iâ€™m not surprised that some people are unhappy with the outcome, but you would lose all of these resources if the fees were simply refunded in full.â€
16th over: England 75-3 (Buttler 6, Bairstow 52) With a wobbly swivel off Cummins, Bairstow snatches an inside edge down to the boundary and moves to his fifty off 48 balls. They pause for drinks.
David Gaskell, with a hat tip to AA Milne
Oh bother!â€ said Roy climbing the stairs.
â€œ Oh bother too!â€ said Joe scampering after him.
â€œOh well â€œ said Roy, â€œ could be honey for teaâ€.
15th over: England 79-3 (Buttler 5, Bairstow 47) Zampa continues. Butler doesnâ€™t get his teeth stuck into a full toss and seems slightly mis-weighted today, as if heâ€™s put his watch on the wrong wrist.
No â€“ you cannot be bowled off a wide. In fact the width of a ball is determined by where it passes the stumps â€“ not where it pitches. If that makes sense?
14th over: England 75-3 (Buttler 1, Bairstow 42) Cummins continues his careful work and Buttler is watchful.
David Harris is also mildly fed up: â€œRegarding Rendell Harrisâ€™, point (no relation), Kent have graciously decided to hold onto 100% of membership fees this year, with a stated intention (no guarantees) of offering a 25% discount on renewals next year. Junior members will get their renewal for free, although if weâ€™re not allowed into the grounds by next summer thatâ€™s not really saying much. As I mentioned in a very similar comment on Naylorâ€™s Blast summary from yesterday, Iâ€™d probably have volunteered my membership fee for this year, but it would have been nice of the club to ask.I think the clubs can get away with it because weâ€™re buying membership of our respective clubs, which brings the benefit of being allowed to attend all (home) matches. In contrast, a football club season ticket is exactly that, a ticket to every game.â€
13th over: England 71-3 (Buttler 1, Bairstow 42) I canâ€™t work out if the Australians are growing mullets as part of a team bonding exercise. Anyway, Zampa has bought in, and bowls a cracking over. Buttler pays him almost exaggerated respect, then tries to off-drive him but is beaten and returns to reverence. Just one from this over. Good fightback by Australia in this little post-power-play period.
12th over: England 69-3 (Buttler 1, Bairstow 42) Cummins has a remarkably dirty right trouser leg – not quite sure how heâ€™s managed it as it isnâ€™t very muddy out there. Just two off the over, Cummins on point.
â€œGood Afternoon Tanya.â€ Good afternoon Robert Hill! â€œIn response to Rendel Harrisâ€™s enquiry, I would imagine that any number of private schools would fit the bill. No pun intended. Or, indeed, made.â€
11th over: England 68-3 (Buttler 1, Bairstow 41) The answer to Finchâ€™s question was Adam Zampa, who has proved irresistible to Englandâ€™s batsmen this series, and does it again, second ball. An unusual miscalculation by Morgan.
WICKET! Morgan c Starc b Zampa 23
The spinner strikes in his first over! A deeply frustrated Morgan picks out the tallest man in the Australian side. He tried to send Zampa over mid-off but Starc is able to reach up and pluck it safely into his giant paws.
10th over: England 67-2 (Morgan 23, Bairstow 41) Bairstow, all angled elbows, prods at Hazlewood and the ball accelerates over the fast-tracked outfield to the boundary. Itâ€™s a batsmanâ€™s life. Thatâ€™s the power play over, quite the recovery from 0-2.
â€œBy way of reply to Rendelâ€™s melancholic rage I think another Covid villain would be most of the insurance industry (at least prior to this weekâ€™s High Court ruling)â€œ taps Brian Withington. â€œDoubt if that helps though …â€
9th over: England 59-2 (Morgan 22, Bairstow 39) Morgan turns a slightly wide Cummins off his backside and down for four but Cummins then regroups and cramps him and no runs come from the remaining balls. Steve Smith walks round the ground, disposable mask under his chin, dark glasses covering his eyes.
8th over: England 54-2 (Morgan 18, Bairstow 34) Fifty up in the eighth, as Bairstow and Morgan move into cruise control.
7th over: England 47-2 (Morgan 16, Bairstow 29) Pat Cummins is whistled up by Aaron Finch, the Patrick Swayze of the Australian side, but Bairstow is in belligerent mood, pecs bursting out of his shirt in bristling intent. He whips Cummins, high and with the wind for six, then through cover for four.
â€œHi Tanya,â€ thumps Rendel Harris into his typewriter. â€œIf weâ€™re talking melancholy, a close second (more boiling rage than melancholy TBH) to not having seen any live cricket at all is the fact that Surrey CCC, in their wisdom, has arbitrarily decided that having had no cricket at all to watch members will still lose 75% of their membership fees for 2020; to add insult to injury the letter informing us of this invited us to forgo the 25% refund to help the club out. The fact that weâ€™re better off than MCC members, who are getting no refund at all, isnâ€™t much consolation. Can anyone think of any other business that has taken payment in advance, been unable to provide the goods/services paid for due to Covid, then decided it has the right to refuse to refund the monies paid?â€
6th over: England 37-2 (Morgan 16, Bairstow 19) England have refound their head, theyâ€™re so good at this stuff now. Morgan dances down the pitch at Hazlewood – it looked pre-meditated – and cuts him for four. Then hooks him – quick hands-to the deep-square rope. Three overs for 20.
5th over: England 25-2 (Morgan 7, Bairstow 16) A stylish whip off the toe of Bairstowâ€™s boots sends Starc back over his head for four, which is followed next ball by a squished-up fly-swat which flies off the top edge for another boundary. Awkward but effective. Tick, tock.
â€œAbsolutely brilliant article from Rebecca that you linked to earlier,â€ writes â€œIt got me thinking that perhaps the OBO contributions from readers should be subjected to some sort of age-based algorithm to ensure that the next generation of inveterate witterers get their head. As someone who recently looked down the biscuit barrel of 39 and has for several weeks now had his hand deep in that particular jar, I doubt very much to benefit from this new system, but if thatâ€™s the quality of output we can expect from the nonophytes of this world then Iâ€™ll happily disperse in to the eternal word pond.â€
The biscuit barrel gets a lot deeper than 39…
4th over: England 13-2 (Morgan 4, Bairstow 8) This is proving quite the test for England. Bairstow unveils his late-cut to shoot the ball down to the short boundary, but other than that he is troubled by Hazlewood, edging short of slip and gesturing with irritation at the umpire for a wide that wasnâ€™t given.
3rd over: England 9-2 (Morgan 4, Bairstow 4) Starc:, from the back a window cleaner, white cloth tucked into the back of his trousers, from the front a 1970s popstar, all swarthy facial hair and a thick black headband. Morgan plays him tentatively, unusure, feet not quite in the right place, nearly tempted into a swish, uncomfortable against the short stuff.
â€œTanya,â€ writes John Starbuck. â€œIâ€™ve got a feeling that neither side will use the full 50 overs in this game. Itâ€™ll be great if they do go the distance but there seems to be a change in the air now (end of term effect?).â€
I think you could be right. Very hard to stay in the zone for the last few metres of a long race.
2nd over: England 8-2 (Morgan 4, Bairstow 4) Bairstow, who could only watch as Starc caused carnage at the other end, safely negotiates Hazlewoodâ€™s first four balls, then drives him, with panache, for four. Perhaps this is the way its going to be – boundaries, or wickets.
1st over: England 4-2 (Morgan 4, Bairstow 0) The hat-trick ball passes harmlessly down the legisde and Eoin Morgan, whose capacity to clear his mind is spooky, knocks the next delivery for four through cover. Interesting start by England. Roy was particularly furious, slamming his bat into the stairs and letting rip some of his juiciest catch-phrases.
WICKET! Root lbw Starc 0
Second ball! The ball swings into Rootâ€™s back pad and thatâ€™s that! He has a chat with Bairstow who takes a ridiculously long time to tell him that heâ€™s got no chance on review. Hat-trick ball!
WICKET Roy c Maxwell b Starc 0
First ball! Royâ€™s eyes light up at a ball outside off stump, he has a dart and the ball flies straight into the hands of Maxwell at backward point.
The Aussies walk out in bright banana yellow to a very dramatic version of Jerusalem, and Mitchell Starc has the new ball..
Something to throw into the mix: because of the position of the pitch, there is an extremely short boundary on the left hand side of the ground, with the wind blowing towards that rope.
Do write in with your summer thoughts/melancholy on this final day of menâ€™s cricket this season.
England: Jason Roy, Jonny Bairstow, Joe Root, Eoin Morgan (capt), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler (wkt), Chris Woakes, Tom Curran, Adil Rashid, Jofra Archer, Mark Wood.
Australia: David Warner, Aaron Finch (capt), Marcus Stoinis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Alex Carey (wkt), Glenn Maxwell, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Adam Zampa, Josh Hazlewood.
Thanks to Nick Moreton for pointing out this smashing article by the Guardianâ€™s young sports writer of the year, age 7-9, Rebecca Close. A sensational idea, wonderfully done. Congratulations!
Australia are unchanged – so no Steve Smith for England to worry about. Heâ€™s still â€œa little big groggy.â€ Finch would have batted as well. It is breezy out there, his shirt rustling across his chest. Australia â€œmis-executedâ€ on Sunday, heâ€™s hoping for better today.
England have won the toss and will bat
Sam Curran, most unluckily, misses out for Mark Wood. â€œSamâ€™s an extremely young, versatile cricketer but weâ€™ve gone for extra pace.â€
The bio bubble has its challenges and you canâ€™t but think there will be an air of last day at school to todayâ€™s proceedings.
â€œItâ€™s almost one day at a time…â€ said Justin Langer when asked yesterday. â€œitâ€™s just when you start looking ahead to when we get home and then quarantine and how the summer looks and if you keep looking too far ahead, then it gets challenging.â€
Jofra Archer, who has spent more days in the bio bubble than any other player, was more outspoken. â€œIt has been mentally challenging. Weâ€™ve been here for 16 weeks. It is going to be more rare going home or being normal again. Here (OT) has become the new normal. Weâ€™ll have to adjust agains when we get some time off.â€
They havenâ€™t got long to rest – Australia and Englandâ€™s IPL players fly to Dubai on Thursday to join their franchises.
Good early afternoon from Old Trafford, where the sun is high, the cabbage whites are having a last autumn flutter and England play their final match of this long, strange, covid summer.
And what a few months theyâ€™ve had – albeit tucked inside the bio-secure bubble – series wins against West Indies in the Tests (2-1), Ireland in the one-dayers (2-1), Pakistan in a Test series (1-0), Australia in the T-20s (2-1), a drawn T-20 series against Pakistan (1-1), and yet, after all that, this final game perfectly poised – with both Australia and England having won one game each.
Like all of Englandâ€™s opponents this summer, Australia have had to arrive, bubble, and hit the ground running. After an easy win the the first ODI, it seemed they had made up for lost time, but the batting collapse on Sunday night will have pursued Justin Langer into the night. Australia hope to bring Steve Smith back into the team after his concussion scare, but Langer said Smith was â€œrustyâ€ in the nets and a late call will be made.
England face a difficult choice of whether to bring back Mark Wood and Moeen Ali to replace to the Curran brothers, who couldnâ€™t have done much more to retain their places. The pitch at Old Trafford is a new one, so Moeen could well miss out.
Other things to watch out for: Archerâ€™s continued mastery over Warner, Sam Curranâ€™s golden arm, Adam Zampaâ€™s irresistibility, the Manchester DJâ€™s last tunes of summer.
Play starts at 1pm – see you there!