1st over: Australia 4-0 (Warner 4, Finch 0) Now that’s how you set a tone. David Warner leans into the first ball of the match, which is a bit too full from Woakes, and times it thrillingly through extra cover for four. Whatever you think of him as a man, he is the most magnificent cricketer. Woakes pulls his length back thereafter, and the remainder of the over – five dot balls – is excellent.
“How about the Bruminator?” says Brian Withington. Hmm, doesn’t that sound a bit like a groundbreaking toilet brush?
There have been two opening partnerships of note against England in this tournament, and they lost both games. There’s a credible scenario whereby this first 10 overs decides the game.
David Warner is heartily booed on the field, which is a bit tedious, and probably counter-productive. Chris Woakes will bowl the first over, and things are about to get exceedingly real.
The scene is set at Edgbaston as the players line up for the anthems. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Action Images via Reuters
Edgbaston nickname “Just ‘the Edge’,” says Jane Evans. “If it works for pretentious rock musicians … As the game progresses, I will be on edge. Or at the edge of reason.”
A few of you have also suggested ‘Edgbastard’, which is kind of catchy, if slightly problematic for the host broadcaster.
The Million There has been a lot of talk about the visibility of this World Cup, but this is a nice story from our friends at the ECB:
Ahead of England’s World Cup semi-final clash against Australia, England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and International Cricket Council (ICC) celebrated the impact that the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup has had in inspiring young people – with over one million children aged five-12 connecting with the sport.
The milestone was celebrated at Yorkmead Primary School in Birmingham with ambassadors Jonathan Trott and Danielle Hazell in attendance alongside local schoolchildren who will join the players on the pitch for the national anthems at the hotly anticipated fixture at Edgbaston tomorrow.
The achievement comes as a result of the plan to use the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup to connect with children and young people – a key aim of the ECB’s plan to grow the game. To help inspire the next generation to fall in love with cricket, partners and stakeholders across the game have worked on initiatives including Cricket World Cup Club Family Days, the Cricket World Cup Schools Programme and fan zone activations.
Thanks for all your emails. I have approximately 0.00 per cent chance of reading them all during the game, but please keep them coming!
Also, I’m disappointed that none of you noticed that Mr Alt-J emailed this morning (or somebody with the same name).
The pitch is bald and dry, which suggests Nathan Lyon and Adil Rashid could play a big part in the game. But a lot of the pitches at this tournament have been bald-faced liars, so we shouldn’t assume too much.
Play starts in 15 minutes. I’m off to procure a dangerously strong coffee. And then it will be time for Australia v England, the World Cup semi-final.
“G’day Rob,” says Seb Prowse. “A shout out from my no. 19 tram in Melbourne to any Aussies supporting the opposition today. Of course, it’s hard to get behind the Poms with real enthusiasm. But the alternative — creaming NZ in the final to complete the rehabilitation of Warner, Smith and Cricket Australia — doesn’t bear thinking about. Carn the Kiwis.”
“Morning Rob,” says Nick Parish. “Defeat is unthinkable? Blimey. And there was me thinking you were a long-suffering England supporter. Defeat couldn’t be more thinkable. I’ve been thinking about it non-stop ever since Saturday evening.”
My point exactly.
Painful statgasm Seventeen of the last 21 matches at this tournament have been won the team batting first. England will point to the fact it’s a fresh pitch, and they loved chasing before the tournament. It’s an excellent toss for Australia to win, though, NQAT.
A shock move from England, who have recalled Sir Ian Botha- sorry, let’s try that again.
England are unchanged. Australia bring in Peter Handscomb for Usman Khawaja, which is surely a good thing, especially as it means Steve Smith will go up to No3. This is Handscomb’s World Cup debut. He’s got nothing on Ned Larkins, who made his international debut for England in the 1979 semi-final.
Australia Finch (c), Warner, Smith, Handscomb, Stoinis, Maxwell, Carey (wk), Cummins, Starc, Lyon, Behrendorff
England Roy, Bairstow, Root, Morgan (c), Stokes, Buttler (wk), Woakes, Plunkett, Rashid, Archer, Wood.
Well that was fun while it lasted. Eoin Morgan says he’s “not really bothered” but that he would have batted first.
Australia win the toss and will bat first. Photograph: Gareth Copley/IDI via Getty Images
The toss is a couple of minutes away. And it looks a pretty good one to win.
A few of you have suggested ‘Edgbastion’ as England’s answer to the Gabbatoir. “Not exactly fear-inducing,” says Richard Hart, “but I think it has a pleasing and understated Englishness about it.”
Why don’t we just call it the Melbourne Cricket Ground and make Australia feel even more comfortable?
“Hi from Singapore,” says Honor Harger. “So without wanting to tempt fate or anything: when was the last time Australia won a match at Edgbaston again?”
It was when Tim Henman was a Wimbledon semi-finalist. A while ago, then.
“Dear Rob,” writes Gus Unger-Hamilton. “Long time follower, first time emailer. I’m just thinking, seeing as England supposedly love playing at Edgbaston so much, don’t we need a fear-inducing nickname for it, à la the Gabbattoir? Perhaps people have some ideas better than Sledgbaston, which is terrible.”
It’s not that good. Any suggestions?
Never mind the cricket, there’s enough ebb and flow in the weather forecast. We are now promised sunny intervals changing to cloudy at lunchtime.
“Morning Rob,” says Simon McMahon. “I’m off out for a bracing walk. It’s good for your mental health. Be back in eight hours…”
“It’s just a cricket match,” says Jane Evans. Only cricket. Not important. Just a cricket match. Just cricket. Only cricket …”
I’m sure you know the story of England’s last World Cup semi-final, the rain-affected farce against South Africa in 1992. What I really want to know is: has this poor chap recovered yet?
There are infinite possibilities today, with so many matchwinners on both sides. It could come down to three things: the toss, the battle of the opening partnerships and how England respond to adversity. They are probably the better side, but Australia are probably the tougher side. They have won all seven World Cup semi-finals (if you’re into the whole pedantry thing, they’ve won six and tied one) and have fought back to win a few games in this tournament.
England got themselves out of a hole to quality for the semi-finals, and were enormously impressive in doing so. But they haven’t really come from behind to win a match at this tournament. They are formidable front-runners, and the ideal scenario is that they bat first, are 100 for nought after 15 overs and control the game throughout. It’s not going to be like that. If I had to pick the deciding factor in this game, it’s how England cope if they are 10 for two or Australia are 100 for nought.
The toss Guardian exclusive: whoever wins it will bat first.
Australia hammered England in the league match two weeks ago. The margin of victory – 64 runs – isn’t huge, but trust me, it was a doing. England have rationalised it as a hangover from the Sri Lanka fiasco, which is a clever move, if they genuinely believe it. I suspect they do. But I wouldn’t want to go fishing round their subconscious without a protective suit.
If the match ends in a tie – like the last World Cup semi-final on this ground – the match will go to a Super Over, and we’ll all be reduced to wibble.
The weather It’s beautiful at Edgbaston this morning, although the Met Office are forecasting thunderstorms for early evening. That means DLS could be a factor in this match. There is a reserve day scheduled, but I think the match will finish today as long as 20 overs have been bowled in the second innings. There’s a strong whiff of potential farce and controversy there. But the playing conditions have a level of clarity usually reserved for mudheaps, so I might be wrong.
Hello again. Glad you’ve logged on – you’ve obviously heard there’s a cricket match today. It’s Australia v England, for the right to play New Zealand in the World Cup final on Sunday. This game is almost too big to function. It’s England most important since September 2005, Australia’s since March 2015. For both countries, defeat is so unthinkable that it hurts trying not to think about it.
There’s a rare old Royal Rumble of feeling and emotions this morning/evening: hope, fear, nervousness, anticipation, fear, curiosity, fear, fear, greed, nostalgia, pride – and I suppose, if I’m being brutally honest, there’s also a soupçon of fear. But most of all, as Eoin Morgan said yesterday, there is excitement about what might be achieved. In one hemisphere or another, a lot of grandchildren are going to hear about the events of 11 July 2019.
There was no way England – England – were going to be allowed to win a World Cup without beating Australia en route. Only one side, West Indies in 1979, has ever done so. This is England’s World Cup but it’s also Australia’s trophy, which they have lifted in four of the last five tournaments. And one of them has got to go. Deep down, we always knew it would be like this.
The match starts at 10.30am BST, 7.30pm ACT.