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Australia v England – third men’s T20 cricket international: rain stops play – live | Twenty20

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It’s now pouring. Aussie weather, eh.

Rain stops play!

Two balls of spin from Adam Zampa, two more runs to Buttler, and then the rain comes and the umps take the players off. This brings a magnificent weather forecast from our friends at Cricinfo. “Radar suggests a passing shower,” they reckon, “but may get reasonably heavy.”

6th over: England 47-1 (Buttler 23, Malan 17) Cummins, replacing Hazlewood, starts with a length ball, so Buttler plays that chip again. “Best shot of the game so far,” says another of those Aussie commentators. Buttler adds a pull for two and the powerplay ends with honours about even – Australia asserting themselves at the start, England rebuilding smoothly.

5th over: England 38-1 (Buttler 15, Malan 16) Starc returns, to be swatted for four past cover by Buttler, before keeping Malan tied down. A short ball brings a miscued pull, but it plops safely over mid-on. The crowd are wearing puffy jackets and bobble hats, but the evening sky is gorgeous – solid midnight blue on one camera, tinged with lilac on another.

4th over: England 30-1 (Buttler 10, Malan 14) England take a liberty against Hazlewood for the first time, as Buttler chips over cover for four. Malan pulls again and gets hold of it this time – the firm smack of a back-foot player in top form.

“This game is very far indeed from being a ‘dead rubber’,” says Andrew Benton. “Whoever wins will be setting their intent for the World Cup. England must show they can build further on success, Australia that they can fight back to victory. Whoever loses had better just go home before the Cup starts…” So if England win this series 2-1, they should go home? The Benton bar is a high one.

3rd over: England 18-1 (Buttler 4, Malan 9) Starc gives way to Pat Cummins, who has not one slip but two. Malan sees a gap on the leg side, flicks off his pads and gets the first four from the bat. And another, with a pull, not quite middled but effective. “Class player,” says one of the Aussie commentators. “I’m surprised he’s not in the Test team.” The reason for that is that he’s better in Australia than anywhere else.

2nd over: England 9-1 (Buttler 3, Malan 1) Dawid Malan, so commanding the other night, is off the mark first ball, getting across to off stump and pushing past the bowler for a single. Buttler sees that and thinks he’ll do the same. That’s an immaculate start from Hazelwood, who found some lift as well as line’n’length to see off Hales.

Wicket! Hales c Finch b Hazelwood 0 (England 7-1)

First blood! And it’s a textbook Test-match wicket – good length, tight line, tentative poke, simple catch at slip.

1st over: England 7-0 (Buttler 2, Hales 0) Starc swings the first ball – down the leg side, so England get going with a wide. Jos Buttler clips the next one for two, and soon another swinger goes for four leg-byes. Australia tend to start T20s by treating them as Test matches, which plays more to Extras’ strengths than Buttler’s.

The players are out there and Mitchell Starc has the ball in his left hand.

England XI: Wood and Woakes return

With the Dettol Trophy in the bag, Jos Buttler could be giving all the understudies a go, but he prefers just to switch a couple of his seamers – the only department in which England have made changes in this series. Mark Wood returns, which should make the game even better to watch, and so does Chris Woakes, which should add one stylish six to England’s total. Sam Curran, the man of the series so far, drops out, along with Chris Jordan, who is still feeling his way back from the treatment table. “We need to keep up the intensity,” says Buttler in that deceptively gentle tone of his.

England 1 Jos Buttler (capt, wkt), 2 Alex Hales, 3 Dawid Malan, 4 Ben Stokes, 5 Harry Brook, 6 Moeen Ali, 7 David Willey, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Adil Rashid, 10 Mark Wood, 11 Reece Topley.

Australia XI: Steve Smith is back

David Warner takes a breather after a touch of whiplash on the rope the other night. His place goes to quite a promising reserve: Steve Smith. Finch says Glenn Maxwell will move up to open with him. Asked why he’s opted to bowl again, he gives a good crisp answer. “We’ve got to get better at chasing.”

Australia 1 Aaron Finch (capt), 2 Glenn Maxwell, 3 Mitch Marsh, 4 Steve Smith, 5 Marcus Stoinis, 6 Tim David, 7 Matthew Wade (wkt), 8 Pat Cummins, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Adam Zampa, 11 Josh Hazlewood.

Toss: Australia win and bowl first

The toss hasn’t been shown on the telly, but it appears to have taken place – and been conducted by Punxsutawney Phil. Aaron Finch won it yet again and opted to bowl yet again. The man is hell-bent on completing another eight-run defeat.


Morning everyone and welcome to a collector’s item. Yes, it’s a dead rubber, in Australia, because the Poms have already wrapped up the series. It could easily have gone the other way, after two close-run things, but … look, it didn’t.

So Jos Buttler’s new-look England are 2-0 up with one to play. After winning the Dettol Trophy, they’re eyeing a particularly clean sweep. The only worry for their supporters is that the Australians will be hell-bent on revenge when the two sides meet again in the World Cup, a fortnight from today.

Actually, that’s not the only worry. There’s the faint fretful feeling that Mark Wood may get injured again, that Adil Rashid could remain strangely out of sorts, that Ben Stokes may carry on contributing less with the bat than with his boundary acrobatics. The true sports lover knows how to whistle up a cloud on the sunniest day. But if you’re an England fan, perhaps you can at least try to inhale the sweet smell of success.

And if you’re an Aussie supporter, well, your boys only lost by eight runs each time, and in the first game that was despite resting all their big-gun bowlers. The revenge mission could well begin right here. The dish might not be cold enough, but the air looks as if it will be: the forecast for Canberra says 12-13 degrees, sunny spells and showers. Is it London in disguise?

All being well, play starts at 7.10pm local time, which is 9.10am in the UK. I’ll be back with the toss and teams about 25 minutes before that.


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