Australia fail to retain Ashes on another weird day

Steve Smith played a pull that should have been caught first ball. It was that kind of day, really.

All Australia had to do today was bat to the end. In a normal series that would have been easier. But this Ashes, who knows what will follow.

Like, England decided to win the toss and try to make history by being the first team to win sending someone in. Australia would have bowled first as well.

It was probably a mistake by both teams, so it worked in Australia’s favour that they were sent in.

Then Usman Khawaja was dismissed by Stuart Broad coming around the wicket. The weird thing is that is how David Warner was supposed to be dismissed. But Khawaja got their first.

What makes it more bizzare is that David Warner was dismissed with Chris Woakes coming over the wicket and angling one across. It’s like Warner and Khawaja had some freaky Friday shit happening.

At this point Steve Smith came out, and first ball he decided to help pull Woakes down fine leg’s throat. Only that fielder was Mark Wood, and he had misplaced his throat 10 metres off the boundary and so Smith got a life.

He used that to effortlessly knock the ball everywhere and looked like he was on the way to a hundred when Wood overcame his original embarrassment to dismiss Smith LBW. The wicket came from nowhere. It was as surprising as his first ball shot and looked like it saved England from losing the series.

Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head came together. Now these two cool cats have had very different Ashes. Much has been made of Head and the short ball, while he has actually made a lot of runs against it. But the problem is he plays it in mid-air. This means it looks ugly and it gets a lot more. But also England decided that the short ball has been a good way of stopping him from getting into TravBall mode.

Labuschagne is something very different, in that his bad form hasn’t quite got a lot of inches until very late. Now his regressing to the mean is being noticed a lot more. But England essentially bowl very full against him, and they wait for him to push at the ball, and usually, he has.

In this innings, he did not, and he finally passed 50 for the first time in quite a while. He still managed to be dismissed in an incredibly soft time against Moeen Ali.

While Head finally went out to the short ball against England. He now averages more than 100 against it though, which I suppose is better than the infinity of before. His entire innings was so different today, because England actually bowled full to him, and he looked like the Head that changes things real quick. And so England tried the short ball as a last resort, only a one-and-only plan.

But these wickets meant that Australia still had two massive West Australian all-rounders together. Outside of almost running themselves out, they batted really well until Cameron Green was out LBW again.

Shortly after that Mitch Marsh was gone too. After another innings where he looked like a golden god when facing England. It probably took the ball of the day to take him. Not to mention a surprise catch by Jonny Bairstow.

The final batter of this extraordinarily long batting lineup (that came together in part because dropping Mitch Marsha seemed unfair, Todd Murphy wasn’t going to be needed and asking Marnus to open when out of form wasn’t right)t was Alex Carey.

For the second time in a row, Australia’s keeper was out not playing a shot. Currently, his worst shot is his non-shot. Same old Aussies, always leaving.

Would you like to know how weird this day was? This was the first Test in history where numbers three through to six, all made between 40 and 51. Starts, they had heaps of them, mate.

But for all the disappointment of the day, Australia did last it. Barely, but they are within a leg bye of 300. With some movement around all day, they might even knock England off for a fair bit less if things go right. Although there are 40 millimetres of rain expected for the last two days of this match. But all Australia needed was a relatively normal day of batting and the Ashes were retained.

Why on earth would we expect anything normal from this Ashes though?