Close Ashes tussle still on the cards

CRICKET:

The current Ashes Test series in England is still tipped to be a very close-run affair despite Australia’s big win at Edgbaston – and it’s all due to a remarkable sporting offer from the Australian Cricket Board to its England equivalent.

The Bug understands the England and Wales Cricket Board of Control has accepted the ACB’s suggestion that Steve Smith can be dismissed given out caught one-hand, one-bounce for the remaining four Tests beginning at Lord’s this weekend.

The offer was made after Australia recovered from 8 for 122 on the first morning of the first Test in Birmingham and still won by 251 runs, one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the sport’s history.

It’s being reported that the ACB originally suggested it would accept Smith being forced to defend a five-stump, four-bails wicket configuration (pictured above) but both sides realised there were practical difficulties with that idea, what with batsmen taking singles during overs.

The one-hand, one-bounce catch rule for Smith was the acceptable alternative that England hopes might bring the former Australian captain back to a level playing field, or at least restrict him to one ton a match.

The Bug understands that if the Lord’s Test is won easily by Australia, which has a solid record at the home of cricket, the ACB and the ECB have agreed that for the final three Tests – Headingley in Leeds, Old Trafford in Manchester and The Oval in London – the English top order will all be given one life in each innings.

If, by the time the series gets to The Oval in six weeks and the home side is facing a humiliating whitewash and ticket sales are abysmal, all Australian batsmen will have to play tipsy-run.