As a school teacher, I would write the following summation on the batting section of Alex Carey’s report card at the completion of his first semester in Test cricket, which was the recent Ashes series.
Steve Waugh has called on Cricket Australia to re-sign Justin Langer amid growing speculation that he will be given his marching orders when his contract expires in June.
Waugh took to Instagram on Saturday night as Australia closed in on a 4-0 Ashes series triumph, asking why Langer’s tenure was under question when he had guided the team to the T20 World Cup trophy in November and had overseen a mauling of the Old Enemy in the Test arena.
“Position in doubt? Influenced the culture and character of the team after the Cape Town debacle. Coached the team to a winning World Cup 20/20 and now to a commanding Ashes victory. Time to put the rumours and innuendo to rest. #respect #culture #character”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan replied with “totally agree” while another Englishman, retired opener Nick Compton added “what England would do to have him”. There has been talk that Langer could replace Chris Silverwood as England’s coach if CA do not renew his deal.
Langer thrived as an opener during Waugh’s time as Test captain after replacing Michael Slater at the top of the order in 2001 during the Ashes tour of England.
He had been criticised by senior members of the Australian team for his intense coaching style but, after delegating more responsibilities to his assistants and taking a more laidback approach, the wins have flowed for the Australians.
Tellingly, no senior players have publicly backed Langer’s reappointment. The tour of Pakistan in March could be his last assignment as national coach. He took over in 2018 in the wake of the Sandpapergate scandal in South Africa.
Aussies not so appealing
They were criticised for over-appealing in the previous Test but Australia have missed out on a couple of wickets for not questioning two decisions on day two of the fifth Test in Hobart.
Struggling opener Rory Burns appeared to nick the sixth ball he faced from Mitchell Starc from the first over of the touring team’s innings in replay to Australia’s total of 303.
None of the Australian players appealed even though replays indicated there was a noise as the ball passed the outside edge on the way to Alex Carey’s gloves.
Shane Warne on Fox Cricket was adamant Burns had nicked the ball and was baffled why they did not appeal or try a DRS referral.
“I’ll tell you what, that is a huge noise,” he said. “I reckon he’s absolutely smashed that. He’s hit that. He’s hit it. There’s a big spike on snicko as well.”
And then in the 16th over, a delivery from young all-rounder Cameron Green seemed to take the edge of Dawid Malan’s bat. Carey took the catch but the appeal was turned down.
Aussie skipper Pat Cummins considered sending the incident for a DRS referral but opted against the video review.
"He's hit it!" ????️
Missed opportunity by Australia? ????
???? Watch #Ashes Fifth Test – Day 2 on @Foxtel CH 501 or stream on @kayosports: https://t.co/3CTB6ojE6r
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— Fox Cricket (@FoxCricket) January 15, 2022
Replays indicated a noise as the ball passed Malan’s blade when he was on 13.
Australian coach Justin Langer threw his head back in frustration in the Bellerive sheds as he watched the RTS replay.
Australia’s troubles with tech continued when they sent a Starc LBW shout to the third umpire with Joe Root on 27 and England at 2-70 but the replays indicated the ball was missing the stumps, vindicating Paul Wilson’s on-field decision.
Punter slams Rory for burning his recall chance
Burns didn’t capitalise on his stroke of luck – four balls later, he hesitated at the non-striker’s end when called through for a tight single by opening partner Zak Crawley and that moment of indecision proved crucial as he was run out by a direct hit from Marnus Labuschagne by the barest of margins.
Can you believe it?!
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) January 15, 2022
Burns, who famously fell to Starc when bowled by the first ball of the series, was on his way for his eighth duck in his past 22 Test innings in his comeback game after being left out of the team for the MCG and SCG Ashes contests.
Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting was unimpressed with Burns’ effort on Seven commentary.
“I want to make a bit of a point of this. There had to be more desperation there from Rory Burns,” he said.
“He’s back into the side, fighting for his Test career and he’s not willing to put in a big dive to try and save his wicket. I know it’s not his fault, not his call. But you can imagine Marnus Labuschagne in that situation, he would have been diving from two or three yards out from the crease.”
Burns has scored 51 runs in the series at 10.2 while his six ducks in 2021 were the most in a calendar year by anyone in the top seven batting positions.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 15, 2022
Stuart fires Broadside at Fox mobile camera
English paceman Stuart Broad blew up early on day two at, of all things, the mobile camera Fox Sports uses to get on-field close-ups.
As he was running into bowl, Broad noticed it was moving. He halted his delivery and blurted out “Stop moving the robot” and stormed back to his mark.
To be fair to the broadcasters, the camera was down at the boundary rope and if it was distracting Broad in his run-up, he clearly wasn’t as focused as he should have been on the batter.
Fox Cricket commentator Michael Vaughan said: “I’ve got a funny feeling that Foxy Rover’s in trouble.”
Warne added: “Get to the naughty corner Foxy. Go and stand in the corner for a while.”