1990s Ashes Rematch: Bevan mystery deepens on day 3

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Last month we pitted a 90s England XI against a 90s Australia XI using International Cricket Captain’s ‘All Time Greats’ mode and the Aussies won. This is the rematch Down Under.

Day two ended with England 413-4. Nasser Hussain is unbeaten on 145 having batted through the day. Robin Smith is on 22. Mark Taylor still hasn’t given Michael Bevan a bowl.

Morning session

After much talk about declarations on commentary (Shane Warne thinks Michael Atherton should have declared halfway through day one), Damien Fleming gets play underway. He’s bowling his 47th over.

Paul Reiffel, bowling his 50th, is on at the other end. He beats Smith outside off.

Hussain reaches 150. He stands still to celebrate – but it’s an intense kind of motionlessness; the kind that says motion will eventually follow.

Smith unleashes a titanic square cut for four. Keep doing that, Judge. England need to up the run-rate.

Smith does indeed keep doing that. Does he know that there’s a leg side?

Smith reaches 50, but all-in-all it’s a confusingly slow one given the match situation.

The Australia players give him zero claps.

Michael Bevan comes on to bowl Australia’s 204th over. Hussain hits him for four to move to 184.

Smith, meanwhile, has discovered the other half of the field and in so doing doubled his scoring rate. England pass 500. Atherton’s surely only waiting for Hussain’s double before declaring.

Smith seems to have forgotten there’s an off side now.

Lunch.

You’ll note that Bevan’s over was the only one he got.

Afternoon session

Reiffel’s first over after the break goes for 11. Looks like we’re into the final throes of this innings now.

Hussain’s on 194. But Smith’s on 86. Might Athers might be tempted to let him get a hundred too?

The next over also goes for 11. Smith moves to 95.

Three overs later, Hussain passes 200. He doesn’t really celebrate much, but it’s a lack-of-celebration shot-through with intensity.

Two overs later, Smith reaches three figures. England are 554-4 and that, surely, is that.

But no, Atherton lets them bat on. Bit of psychology maybe. The Aussies look utterly miserable.

Hussain has run to a standstill though. He is caught behind off Miller for 207. Athers calls them in.

Miller’s figures are… not great.

Reiffel’s are insane.

Change of innings

There’s about 50 minutes to go until tea.

Darren Gough opens from whatever-end-this-is at whatever-ground-this-is. Mark Taylor takes a single.

Angus Fraser takes the new ball from the other end. Taylor takes another single.

The hairline rather implies this is late era Fraser.

In the last over before tea, Fraser has a decent shout for LBW against Michael Slater, who was man of the match in the last 1990s-est Test match.

Other than that, the batsmen have been almost entirely untroubled.

Evening session

Chris Lewis starts after the break and tries a couple of short ones.

Fraser continues at the other end.

Lewis is going for plenty. Slater hits him for consecutive fours but then cuts one towards gully where Alec Stewart takes a fantastic diving catch. England have gained a good outfielder as well as a better keeper.

We spoke too soon. Jack Russell is one of a great many people who didn’t anticipate a Fraser bouncer and he concedes four byes. Stewart surveys events with clench-jawed neutrality.

Lewis’s next over goes for 13. They’ve got a big lead, but England are over-attacking here.

In a bid to stall the run-rate a little, Atherton turns to… Ian Salisbury…

Salisbury turns one past Greg Blewett’s outside edge first ball. That was pretty handy.

Australia reach 100, in large part thanks to Lewis, whose wicket increasingly looks like a fluke.

Athers brings Hick on. It’s spin at both ends.

Salisbury’s going for a few, but he’s creating chances. A Taylor sweep lobs to mid-off where Stewart makes no mistakes.

“Oh what bamboozlement!” cries Jonathan Agnew on commentary.

With only 12 minutes to go, Mark Waugh joins Blewett at the crease. No nightwatchman for Junior.

Gough comes back to fire in a couple of overs of yorkers before stumps.

Waugh clocks him for four.

Stumps

England need 18 wickets.

Utterly bizarre to say this, but it looks like Ian Salisbury will be the key man. He was really quite good this evening.

Join us tomorrow for day four.

11 comments

  1. The idea of a 90s England side being able to score 500 in Australia must have been so shocking to both sides that they suffered some form of collective catatonia

  2. Whoever is playing for England should be dropped because they are too good for a 1990’s side.

    1. Though “Can Chris Martin save the follow-on?” also scores as “very bleak” on the six-word-doomometer.

      1. It must be frustrating to be Ian Salsbury knowing thats how people remember you… 884 wickets at 32 in his FC career and yet he is a 90’s joke figure.

        Still in 20 years time when people are remembering Mason Crane’s efforts he will be displaced in the legspinners closet of horrors.

      2. On the Nasser Era v Key Era podcast, the two of them were laughing about the idea Nass might have to pick him. Brutal.

      3. Salisbury also hit three centuries in first-class cricket, though bizarrely with a top score of 103, and an average of 21 which is pretty handy. He’s rather unfortunate in the way he’s remembered, for which a significant portion of the blame must be shared with the Pakistani batsmen he played about half his career against and the England selectors who thought he’d bamboozle them. His record against the Windies (both Tests played away) was about Gilesesque, and had he ever played a Test against NZ or Zimbabwe which might have soothed his figures a bit. Mind you, he never played against Australia either. Had he never been picked at all, he’d probably be recalled as a county stalwart, maybe even reaching 900+ wickets, who the selectors did an injustice to …

  3. If this is a proper 90’s england side, Hick will be dropped for throwing his wicket away being too aggressive, this will teach him to have strike-rate above 60.

  4. Good shout, bradders.
    Whoever is controlling England on the game is too good. You need someone worse.

  5. A double century from an England #4 in Australia, backed up by another century from someone coming in after, with a declaration well into the 500s?

    This match isn’t happening in Adelaide, is it? This feels like something that might happen there, if they ever played Tests there.

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