Steve Smith stars in The Day of the Howler

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Stuart Broad celebrates an incorrect decision (via Sky Sports)

England v Australia, first Ashes Test, day one

The Day of the Howler sounds like a very entertaining B-movie where some kind of terrifying shrieking beast picks people off one by one.

Sadly, it wasn’t. The Day of the Howler was actually day one of the 2019 Ashes. It involved the two umpires picking off batsmen one by one, only for each of those batsmen to successfully review their demises and survive.

Sadly for the batsmen, The Day of the Howler also involved a fair few not out decisions being reclassified as wickets too. (Not to mention a whole bunch of should-have-revieweds when no-one did anything and replays showed the batsman should actually have been given out.)

The Day of the Howler.

It was all a bit messy and unsatisfactory, except that Australia lost quite a lot of wickets for not many runs – that part was completely satisfactory.

One major line of thinking before this series was that one batsman would be the difference between the two terrible batting sides. After Steve Smith surveyed the carnage from the non-striker’s end, it is now widely accepted that you generally need two batsmen in cricket.

That second batsman proved to be Peter Siddle, which was the kind of zany plot twist you should have anticipated from The Day of the Howler.


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  1. Smith has probably ensured that Australia won’t lose this match.
    Remains to be seen how the pitch and the weather behave today and tomorrow, of course.
    If it behaves, England could still produce a bit first innings which might produce a favourable result, but Smith has shown that he is, even after a year out, one of the best test batsmen out there.

    1. Bit of a weird comment when they’re only leading by 274 with 4 days remaining. I can understand why you’re saying it based on England’s recent batting track record, but it’s not like that total will automatically guarantee Australia a draw or a win will it? I can remember when under 300 in the first innings of a test was considered pretty useless.
      Anyway, I guess the next 9 hours or so will shed a lot more light on where this match is headed. I really, really hope you were wrong!

      1. I hope I’m wrong too Gareth. I don’t want Australia to win or even draw the game.

        But given that Anderson is probably not going to play again in this game, I don’t see how England can win this unless they pull off a ~200 run lead in the first innings.

  2. I for one was engrossed by day one of the ICC 2019-2021 World Test Championship! I hope the rest of the tournament lives up to the dramatic action so far!

    1. Just catching up on this madness. I now see that the 2019 Specsavers Ashes (visibility rate of all ships is increased by +2 dioptres) is but a contest-within-a-contest wherein each test victory is worth 24 points. However, a test victory in a 2-match ‘series’ will be worth 60 points (the relationship between series length and points being 120/n, where n is the series length and n lies between 2-5). Even more alarmingly, one lost over is worth 2 points, or 1/12 of an Ashes test match win. (By my calculations, we are already on -10 points).

      May I be the first in the Kingdom to put on record my dislike of this new competition format?

  3. Heads-up: BBC live text now showing pictures of animals being conspicuously interested in the cricket. Where do they get their ideas?

    1. We’re going assume that the feature was significantly unique to have not been a chance event.

    1. You’re not watching. Don’t pretend you’re watching.

      Also, it’s a slow build. That’s the joy. Don’t be so millennial.

      1. Text me when I should turn it on. For the smashing and the sixes and the running out and all that. Channel 4 again, yeah?

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