N F) Champagne game
Nathan Lyon’s first three Tests in Australia was forgettable. He was fat on 39 overs and an opener nicked to the keeper on his first delivery for Nought. And then he turned out to be an outstanding middle-order operator during Australia’s series victory.
Before the series, his place in the side looked under threat given the excellent recent form of England’s own left-arm spinner, Moeen Ali. So it’s significant that Lyon also managed the first Test four wickets.
England’s tail could certainly use some extra help on its way to victory in Perth – Joe Root’s team have become accustomed to taking wickets late on in games, but their list of under-par performances at the other end just seem to grow longer and longer.
How many more chances do they need?
RA – Test cricket is becoming a gentleman’s game
Australia’s Jamie Harrison made an early lunch break from Test cricket after he scythed a ball straight into the leg stump of Tim Paine during the first Test at the Gabba.
While not an immediately regrettable decision, the Gabba is the venue of a ‘Head Injury Concussion Assessment’. This means that players who are exposed to a head injury will be subjected to a precautionary test to assess if they are fit to continue in the match.
It’s still better than the alternative, though, which would be to simply send them back to the dressing room until the team is sure that they are fit.
England, meanwhile, are primed to secure a 4-0 series win by winning in Perth, but since it was only Harrison’s second Test appearance it remains a question whether any further remedial action is necessary.
Stats of the day
44 – England’s six-wicket lead over Australia in the first Test is the largest after the innings in the fourth innings at the Gabba since the final day of the 1992 Ashes and that was as a result of tea on day four.
71 – the total number of catches missed by Australia at the Gabba during the series, the most since they lost the series 4-0 to New Zealand in 1992.
63 – Chris Woakes tops the number of runs (184) scored by an England spinner in a series in Australia.