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17th over: Australia 49-2 (Labuschagne 27, Smith 14) Curran is improving his line against Smith. An appeal for a swinging ball that hits pad, then an even bigger one when Smith shoulders arms and lets it hit his pad. But both times the ball is angling across too much. The second one was outside the line of off by the time it hit him, and would have been going further away. Smith isn’t bothered, and again kicks the ball away from the sixth delivery of the over. It’s a maiden.
16th over: Australia 49-2 (Labuschagne 27, Smith 14) Here is Chris Woakes. Underbowled in the first three Tests, not picked in the fourth, and left until the 16th over for a shot in the fifth. It’s been a strange Test summer for him, tactically. And he starts poorly, perhaps trying too hard. On the pads, Smith ticking a run before Marnus clips four. Then even further down leg for the Labrador to glance to fine leg for another boundary.
“I’ve just loaded up the OBO to see how things are going,” writes Tom van der Gucht. “Seeing Smith and Labuschagne are batting, I may as well not bother checking it again until tomorrow afternoon. These two will still be ploughing out the runs then as the England bowlers toil away in the autumnal field like harvest labourers.” Come, Tom. If a van der Gucht can’t appreciate a Labuschagne, what sort of world are we living in?