20/04/2024

During day three of the Fourth Test match in the Ashes series between Australia and England at Sydney Cricket Ground on January 07, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo - Izhar Khan)

Australian head coach Justin Langer said he’s happy about where his team sits after England fought back in the final two sessions of play on day three of the Fourth Ashes Test.

Australian head coach Justin Langer said he’s happy about where his team sits after England fought back in the final two sessions of play on day three of the Fourth Ashes Test.

After a delayed start on day three, Langer described Australia’s bowling in the first two hours of play as the most relentless bowling he’s seen from Australian cricket.

Scott Boland and Cameron Green combined bowled 10 maidens in a row. In that period, it saw the downfall of English batters Zak Crawley, Dawid Malan, and Joe Root before Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes started to put the pressure back on the Australians after lunch.

Langer was impressed by his bowlers’ incredible performance in the first session but said it was great to see England fight back.

“England particularly after lunch played really well, I thought our first two hours [were] similar to what we’ve seen for a lot of the Test series. [It] was just as relentless bowling I’ve seen from Australian cricket,” he said post-match on day three.

“Then as we have been waiting for throughout the series great fightback. I thought Ben Stokes [was] courageous with his side [strain injury], obviously Jonny Bairstow [made] a brilliant Test hundred [and] he got [a] pretty rough knock on his thumb.

“So really courageous effort from Jonny and Ben Stokes as we expected it’s been another great day of Test cricket.”

The Australian coach was happy with the lines, lengths, and pace of his bowlers but Bairstow and Stokes put on a 128-run partnership, batting positively with intent before Nathan Lyon captured the prized wicket of Stokes.

Langer said he thought that particular wicket was important as the English pair started to look ominous.

“I thought Nathan Lyon’s wicket of Ben [Stokes] was important,” the Australian coach said.

“I’m not sure whether Ben [Stokes] because of his side injury threw a bit of caution to the wind but we always know dangerous he is.

“Everyone in world cricket respects if Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, and Jonny Bairstow are in the middle [and] start playing aggressively, they’re going to put you on the back foot so we all respect that they did that today,” the Australian coach said.

He also said the start of tomorrow morning is going to be important to keep the match moving forward with more inclement weather forecasted.

“We’re going to have to be really good tomorrow to make sure that we stay in the contest [and] with Jonny trying to get him out as early as possible and keep the game moving forward,” he said.

Australian fans will be relieved that fast bowler Scott Boland should be right to bowl in the morning after being sent for scans after falling over before the tea break.

The 51-year-old said Boland could have bowled today during the last session and should be available for the rest of the Test match.

“He was actually alright to bowl tonight. We saw that when he fell over or slipped over, I think his elbow jammed into his side,” Langer said.

“It’s amazing modern technology isn’t it, he went for a scan just after the break and we were looking at his ribs on the computer screen about half-hour later.

“Thankfully there are no fractures, he’s going to be sore in the cartilage between his ribs but hopefully he’ll be right to bowl tomorrow and [in] the second innings.”

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Cameron Green continues to go strength to strength, conceding only 24 runs and capturing Dawid Malan’s wicket in the nine overs he bowled on day three.

After being unable to take a wicket last summer against India. Green, this series has taken 8 wickets at an average of 12.62 and has been able to grab them during pivotal moments. Having known and watched Green start to develop as a cricketer from a young age, Langer said Green still has plenty of growth and improvements in him.

“He’s only a very young player, I was very fortunate to coach him at Western Australia when he was 16 years old and we could see he’s grown a lot taller. I’ve always felt he was a tall version of Shaun Pollock his young action looked that way,” Langer said.

“He’s got a massive upside, in all [of] his cricket you’ve seen not only with his batting and bowling, [but even] the way he fields at gully he’s an amazing athlete.

“I think last year because he came off a couple of stress fractures in his back he was thinking more about his bowling action than he was about taking wickets… he’s got a bit more confidence in his body now.

“He comes from so high he’s got great skills, he’s a good competitor so he’s got huge upside for us with the ball as well obviously his bat.”

Through the first three days, we’ve seen the SCG wicket play with variable bounce, particularly on day three with several English batters getting hit on the body.

Langer said he isn’t quite sure how’ll the pitch will continue to play out but thinks it’s been a good Test wicket so far.

“Our experience last year against India as we can all remember I think we needed six wickets on that last day and it didn’t do much so time will tell,” he said.

“There is good even coverage of grass, more even than I’ve seen here at the SCG for a very long time. I think it’s been a pretty good wicket, we scored 400 [runs] in the first innings.”

Langer shared his thoughts on his captain Pat Cummins day as captain, especially with the English fight back.

He said Cummins has good support around him and it would have helped his development as captain.

“The first session was absolutely brilliant bowling. I thought it was brilliant Test cricket and England had the better of us for the second two sessions so that will be good for Pat [Cummins] it’ll be great for his captaincy development,” he said.

“It can’t always be rainbows and butterflies he’s probably found so far but it would be good for his development. He’s a cool head, we spoke after the game [and] we’ll talk about how we’re going to attack England in the morning but so far he hasn’t put a foot wrong, and I don’t think he has today either,”

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