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“I missed someone trying to blow my head off, the crowd going and playing against the best bowlers. Test cricket is the pinnacle so I’m so proud to be standing out there again wearing an England shirt. To come to Australia on bouncy wickets against quality fast bowlers is the real test”

Last Updated: 10/12/21 12:29pm

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Dawid Malan says England need another big partnership in the first Ashes Test before they can think about the possibility of victory

Dawid Malan says England need another big partnership in the first Ashes Test before they can think about the possibility of victory

England’s Dawid Malan savoured his important knock in Brisbane after revealing he thought he would never play another Test after being dropped from the red-ball side in 2018.

Malan scored a superb century in Perth four years ago during England’s previous Ashes trip – before being jettisoned months later after a low run of scores at home to Pakistan and India.

At the time, then England national selector Ed Smith said Malan’s game was perhaps better suited to overseas conditions – and the left-hander did not return to the Test team until August this year.

Speaking after his unbeaten 80 and unbroken third-wicket stand of 159 with captain Joe Root dragged England back into the first Test at The Gabba, Malan said: “I thought I’d never play another Test again.

Malan says it's a pleasure to bat with England captain Joe Root

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Malan says it’s a pleasure to bat with England captain Joe Root

Malan says it’s a pleasure to bat with England captain Joe Root

“When me and Root were both on about 40, the Barmy Army were singing and I said to him that I really missed this.

“I missed someone trying to blow my head off, the crowd going and playing against the best bowlers. Test cricket is the pinnacle so I’m so proud to be standing out there again wearing an England shirt.

“You can do as well as you want in Twenty20 or 50-over cricket but you’re judged a lot by your Test career. So to come to Australia on bouncy wickets against quality fast bowlers is the real test.”

Perhaps Smith had a point about Malan being bettered suited to overseas conditions.

Malan averages 46 in Test cricket in Australia

Malan averages 46 in Test cricket in Australia

That’s not to say he cannot do well in England where he has bags of first-class experience with Middlesex and Yorkshire – but the discrepancy between his home and away figures is startling.

Malan now averages 46.90 across six Tests in Australia, with the 34-year-old hitting three fifties as well as that aforementioned century on the previous tour. In England, his average is 23.06 from 10 Tests.

‘England can’t think too far ahead’

Figures on home soil compared to away will not concern Malan one jot at the moment, with his primary concern extending his partnership with Root on day four and chipping away further at England’s deficit, which now stands at 58 having been 278 after first innings.

Another escape akin to 2010 when England trailed by 221 runs after the first innings at The Gabba before Sir Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott helped the tourists’ to 517-1 in their second dig looks possible.

Perhaps there is even an outside chance of a first victory in Brisbane since 1986?

Malan added: “As soon as we think too far ahead you open the door for Australia and they are so brilliant at closing that door. The first hour will be really important and then we can think about how well we can play.

“We need one good 100-run partnership to put a good score on the board and then who knows what can happen. Hopefully we can get big hundreds that would change the game.”

Did Malan edge the ball on 16?

Malan was also insistent that he did not edge Josh Hazlewood behind while on 16 – but Australia’s Marnus Labuschagne says his team-mates felt differently.

The lack of clarity emerged due to the Snicko technology, which is used to detect edges, being unavailable throughout the match.

Rob Key says England have got themselves back into the game but believes Australia are still strong favourites to win the first Ashes Test

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Rob Key says England have got themselves back into the game but believes Australia are still strong favourites to win the first Ashes Test

Rob Key says England have got themselves back into the game but believes Australia are still strong favourites to win the first Ashes Test

HotSpot suggested a possible faint mark on the bottom of the bat but third umpire Paul Wilson did not overturn the on-field decision of not out.

Malan said: “I didn’t hit, I missed it by a mile.”

Labuschagne, meanwhile, told reporters: “I was at first slip and I didn’t hear a noise but the other four guys around me were adamant there was bat.

“We are a long way away but it looked like it had hit the bottom of the toe. When you don’t have Snicko that decision is never going to get turned over.”



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