At Birmingham, June 28 (day/night). No result. England 3 pts, Australia 3 pts. Toss: Australia.
A dress rehearsal for the final was washed out early in the second innings. But this theoretically
pointless match contained plenty of pre-Ashes tension which boiled over in an incident between
Simon Jones and Hayden. In the sixth over, just after Jones dismissed Gilchrist, Hayden played
the ball defensively back to the bowler, who snatched it and threw at the striker's stumps. He
missed the wicket but hit the shoulder of Hayden, who let fly with some angry words, although
Jones had raised his hand in apology. Other players joined in, and the umpires had to cool everyone
down. Soon afterwards, Jones hit Hayden on his pads instead, and he was lbw without adding to
his score. A real storm halted play three overs into England's reply; they eventually resumed, with
the target revised to 200 off 33 overs, but rain returned after three more overs, in which time
England scored 29 and lost Strauss. The match was intriguingly poised after Symonds had helped
Australia reach a competitive 261.
© Wisden Cricketers' Almanack