Cricket Expert & Columnist
“I can’t remember an instance of a batsman being so dominant against a team – 751 runs in the series! England have simply had no answer for him”
Last Updated: 13/09/19 6:52pm
Shane Warne celebrates his 50th birthday by watching Steve Smith score a record 10th successive half century against England, but says the hosts are in the “box seat” in the fifth Ashes Test…
I brought up my half century today. Fifty years old.
I remember first starting my career, looking at guys in the team that were 28, 29 and thinking ‘geez, they’re old’.
But I’m happy, I’m healthy, and I’ve seriously been blown away by all the messages from people of support and love. It has been fantastic, very nice, so thank you.
I got a beautiful message from Nasser Hussain. He said, ‘Get stuffed! Happy Birthday!’ That’s almost a term of endearment from Nass. Drinks are on him tonight!
I have been very lucky though. I love the broadcasting ever since I’ve retired, and that’s still going (touch wood). I’ve also got some business ventures that are doing really well, my poker is going OK and I’ve got three great kids.
I’m also really looking forward to coaching in The Hundred next year. I’m very happy with the way things are going at the minute.
I wasn’t the only one to reach fifty today though, Steve Smith hitting a record 10th half century in a row against the same opposition.
I can’t remember an instance of a batsman being so dominant against a team – 751 runs in the series! England have simply had no answer for him.
Whatever plans they have come up with, they either have not sustained them for long enough, could not execute them well enough, or Smith has just been too good.
If I was England captain, I think the real key is trying to get him to hit through the covers – play away from his body.
You need to bowl full at him, not too wide but wide enough that he is looking to hit the ball through the offside. Then mix it up with the odd short ball, with a leg slip. That’s what I’d be doing.
I also don’t think there has been enough really good slower balls to Smith when he has first walked out to the middle.
England are right in the game though, especially after Chris Woakes finally got Smith out, as this wicket is going to turn big time. It is going to be hard to bat last.
It’s why I was very surprised yesterday that Australia won the toss and decided to bowl, on a good pitch.
At 2-1 up in the series, they gave away a bit of an advantage, and the difference between drawing the series 2-2 and winning 3-1 is massive. There’s still so much to play for.
England vs Australia
September 14, 2019, 10:30am
To have the urn back and retain the Ashes is great, but it would be huge for Australia to win the series outright. They have not done that here since 2001.
We played well in 2005, but England were just too good, and since then – the 2009, 2013, 2015 tours – England have just crushed us.
I really hope Australia can go on to win the series, because I think they deserve to. They have been the better side and played the better cricket.
They will still believe they can. England are currently in the box seat, but they will need to set Australia a decent score as, as long as Smith is still at the crease, it’s very hard to say Australia will not make a lot of runs.
It’s the same thing we have been saying every Test match; if England can get him out, they have a chance.
Watch live coverage from day three of the fifth Test on Sky Sports The Ashes, from 10.30am on Saturday.
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