When I collected my tickets for Australia’s visit to the County Ground I was very hopeful that I’d be able to spend a good part of my Saturday watching them in action.
Some of me thought it might be done and dusted by then, but Essex made a good competition of the game and the day started with Essex needing 2 wickets.
My day started with breakfast in Costa with my lovely cricket friends Tina and Stella – as well as a probably largely unhealthy start we also laughed our socks off! A really good start to the day!
We made our way to the ground and settled ourselves in the same seats as the day before – front row of the Tom Pearce stand – great for taking photos and the added benefit of sunshine too!
Jamie Porter made quick work of the final 2 wickets bowling Peter Siddle for 19 then Nathan Lyon for a Duck! Caught by Ryan ten Doeschate. Australia were all out for 212 – a great effort by a young Essex team!
They were however set the task of making 369 with a line up of 9; 2 of their young batsmen were injured earlier in the game.
I met Nick Browne on Day 3, his finger looked more than a bit ouch! He’d dislocated it taking Mitchell Starc’s wicket with a catch! The bone had gone through the skin, a nasty injury that meant he and a bat wouldn’t be a good plan!
Tom Westley who’d made a great 144 in Essex’s 1st innings had been hit in the ribs with a ball, he therefore couldn’t be part of the line up either.
369 with a full line up would have been a big task, with 2 key batsmen missing it would be a very big ask.
Jessie Ryder had failed in the 1st innings and came to the crease in determined mood! He is after all a world class cricketer. His opening partner Jaik Mickleburgh was a good foil but he was out for 4 – LBW to Josh Hazelwood.
In the meantime Ryder was hitting out 0 he scored 37 runs from 19 balls – including seven 4’s and an almighty 6! He was however dismissed in spectacular fashion as Mitchell Starc knocked out his middle stump!
Ravi Bopara had come in at 3 and was joined promptly by Ryan ten Doeschate – the 2 of them were in place with Essex on 43 for 2.
Both Bopara and ten Doeschate played a patient innings giving Essex a chance, and I imagine frustrating the visitors.
Bopara was out LBW to the bowling of Starc having scored 42 runs from 78 balls. There had been several lively appeals before the final successful ball! They were I have to say pretty entertaining!
James Foster was next in – he faced only 12 balls before Michael Clarke caught him from the bowling of Starc with not a run to his name.
At this point it did feel slightly like lambs to the slaughter – Matt Salisbury made 8 before he was caught by Peter Nevill – the other tall bloke – Hazelwood being the bowler.
Aron Nijjar was next up, he looks a very promising prospect. Ten Doeschate had been patiently adding runs and had made 61 from 102 balls including nine 4’S and a 6 before he too fell to Hazelwood – LBW.
Jamie Porter saw Hazelwood with a hat trick ball as he too was given out LBW – a Golden Duck to his name.
That left just one more batsman with Essex on 174 for 8. Tom Moore scored a spirited 16 including two well received 6’s – another memory made for the man who took the wicket of the Australian captain in their 1st innings!
Nijjar was the last man to fall having faced 40 balls and scoring 15 runs he was caught by Chris Rogers from the bowling of Nathan Lyon.
And so on 200 for 9 that was Essex finished – what might have been if Westley and Browne had been fit?
I was at the game for 1.5 days and thoroughly enjoyed it – next up for Australia? The Ashes in Cardiff! I’ll there for Days 3 and 4 – here’s hoping the series is a competitive one!
Lots of photos in this ‘episode’ I just can’t help myself when I have top call cricket in front of me! As a comment it looked as if Shane Watson was giving himself a mini yoga session throughout – goodness he threw some shapes!
Oh, and before I forget we had the amazing sight of 9 men behind the wicket for a couple of overs – I have no idea what you’d call that! It was a sight to behold!