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England‘s surprise mid-match player swap

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England finally showed some backbone with the bat on Friday as Johnny Bairstow scored the tourists’ first century of what’s been a horror series so far.It’s another overcast day in the Harbour City with showers and storms forecast.Play is scheduled to begin at 10am AEDT and England will resume at 7/258, trailing Australia in the first innings by 158 runs.Catch every moment of The Ashes live and ad-break free during play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-days free now.GOAT strikes early blowIt hasn’t taken long for Australia to unearth the first breakthrough of the morning, with off-spinner Nathan Lyon removing rival tweaker Jack Leach for 10.Leach attempted a wild slog, and the top-edge was comfortably taken by Australian skipper Pat Cummins at mid-on.Stuart Broad is the new man in the middle.England‘s surprise mid-match player swapOllie Pope will don the gloves for England in the second innings of the SCG Test after wicketkeeper Jos Buttler sustained a blow to his index finger on day two.Buttler was sent for an x-ray after copping the blow, but the extent of his injury will be evaluated at the end of the Sydney Test.But Pope, who was not selected in England’s starting XI, will replace Buttler in the field when Australia bats again, presumably later on day four.A similar switch occurred in last summer’s corresponding fixture, when Indian gloveman Rishabh Pant was temporarily replaced by Wriddhiman Saha in the third Test against Australia.Meanwhile, England No. 6 Jonny Bairstow, who is more than capable of donning the gloves at Test level, suffered a nasty blow to his thumb while batting on Friday.He was also sent for scans after copping the injury, but will resume batting on day four after bringing up a career-defining century the previous evening.To make matters worse for England, superstar all-rounder Ben Stokes is also under an injury cloud after hurting his side while bowling in the first innings.On Friday evening, Sydney Thunder wicketkeeper Sam Billings was added to England’s Test squad as cover.Tragic truth behind Bairstow’s gestureNothing was going to stop an emotional Jonny Bairstow from realising his ambition of scoring an Ashes century in Australia — not even a nasty blow on his thumb.The 32-year-old typified the grit of a counter-punching 128-run partnership with injured Ben Stokes to raise his first Test century in Australia, and England’s first on a demoralising tour with the Ashes relinquished inside 12 days.Bairstow turned the tide and gave the tourists something to cheer finally with his unbeaten 103 off 140 balls, studded with eight fours and three sixes.There was also some emotion for this Test, which started on the 24th anniversary of his father David’s sudden death. Bairstow looked to the heavens as he achieved his goal.“I’m extremely proud, I had to dig deep,” he said.David, himself a former professional cricketer, died by suicide at 46.Bairstow’s spirited knock didn’t come without pain after he suffered a nasty blow on his right thumb from Pat Cummins, which for a time threatened to cut his innings short.Bairstow was on 60 when Cummins dug one in and it crushed his thumb holding the bat. He needed treatment from the team physio, painkillers and strapping before he bravely continued to defy Australian attempts to get him out.“It takes quite a bit to get me off the park. Yes, it was sore but the circumstances of the game, it was one of those where it was a decision I made to stay out there,” he said.“The medics can give you advice but you’re playing in an Ashes Test match, New Year’s Day Pink Test match at Sydney in front of a big crowd, it’s going to take a lot to get you away from that.“I might get an X-ray on it but I reckon I’ll still be there in the morning.” Bairstow went out to the SCG middle under pressure to score runs. It was his first Test century in 38 innings since making 110 against Sri Lanka in Colombo in November 2018.He howled with delight upon hitting Cummins to the ropes to bring up his ton. “I went back to some things with my technique which I used a couple of years ago,” he said. “I was relieved and overjoyed.“I felt I was playing nicely in Melbourne (previous Test) but when you’ve not been out in the middle, you need time to get your rhythm going.”AFPMental health support

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Continue Reading News Story. Published by Melbourne Central Press Syndicate. For feedback write to Amnon Jakony, Founding Editor/Publisher – amnon [at] Thanks for reading.

Continue Reading News Story. Published by Canada Central Press Syndicate. For feedback write to Amnon Jakony, Founding Editor/Publisher - amnon [at] Thanks for reading.

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