Bayliss begins 14-day Ashes countdown

window.espni = window.espni || {}; = || {}; = “1435723645”; = “index:newsandanalysis”; = “cric”; Play 05:51 Ashes Key Battles: Bayliss v Boof

The first Australian ever to coach England, Trevor Bayliss is scheduled to arrive at Heathrow on Thursday less than a fortnight before the start of the Investec Ashes series. The pre-Ashes clamour is growing, the hype and the anxiety are there for all to see, but it is a sure fire bet that the Australian alighting from the plane at Heathrow will look calmer than most.

He is an unthreatening type, the sort who will be waved through at customs with barely a second glance. He might be taken perhaps for an Australian estate agent which is no surprise because four years ago, in a brief interruption to his coaching career, he was precisely that. He is well qualified then to complain about London house prices.

In Bayliss and his assistant Paul Farbrace, England have assembled a coaching team committed to creating a relaxed environment. After the stern outlook of Andy Flower and the caffeine-loaded organisation of Peter Moores, cricket’s Chuckle Brothers are in town, committed to reminding highly-pressurised international cricketers that to relish their job, and play accordingly, is paramount.

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Johnson can ‘reopen’ English scars – McGrath

window.espni = window.espni || {}; = || {}; = “1435699300”; = “index:interviews”; = “cric”; Play 01:20 ‘Smith and Root paramount’ – McGrath

Glenn McGrath believes Mitchell Johnson “has to play” the first Test of the Investec Ashes series and that he can “reopen the scars” he inflicted on England during the last series in Australia.

Remarkable it may be to those who witnessed Johnson destroy England in Australia barely 18-months ago – when he claimed 37 wickets in the five Tests at an average of 13.97 – his place in the team for the first Test in Cardiff was suggested to be not entirely secure in the early stages of the tour.

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Starc unimpressed by pink ball

window.espni = window.espni || {}; = || {}; = “1435658831”; = “index:pressconference”; = “cric”; Play 02:45 ‘Taken a lot of confidence from white-ball cricket’ – Starc

The Australian cricketer with the most relevant experience of the pink ball to be used in next summer’s day-night Test experiment against New Zealand admits he could not see the ball when fielding and has other serious reservations about the concept.

Mitchell Starc played for New South Wales in a day-night Sheffield Shield fixture against South Australia at Adelaide Oval last summer, the same ground where the Test will be played. He is “yet to be convinced”.

Even though it was the latest in countless versions of the pink balls trialled by Cricket Australia’s official supplier Kookaburra, Starc said it was nothing like using the traditional red ball.

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Hughes’ death affected my bowling – Johnson

Mitchell Johnson agreed that his pace had been off last season, but he’s back “in good rhythm” © Getty Images

Mitchell Johnson has admitted that the death of Phillip Hughes in November 2014 had caused a mental block and a dip in pace.

Hughes was struck down by a bouncer while playing a Shield game last season on the cusp of India’s tour to Australia. Several players, including captain Michael Clarke who had considered Hughes as a brother, were emotionally affected and Johnson has said he was just trying to “get through” it all.

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First day-night Test for Adelaide Oval

New Zealand and Australia contest the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy for ODIs only at ICC events © ICC

New Zealand Cricket has agreed to play a day-night Test against Australia as part of a deal that will resume regular cricket between the two neighbours after a gap of four years and provide a significant financial leg-up for New Zealand.

The inaugural, experimental day-night Test will be played at Adelaide Oval with a Kookaburra pink ball in the third match of the series between Australia and New Zealand, between November 27 and December 1.

The match will go ahead much to the delight of the CA chief executive James Sutherland, who has championed the concept for more than seven years. It will also be a source of rich dividends for the host broadcaster Channel Nine, whose chief executive David Gyngell expects television ratings and by extension advertising revenues far in excess of those offered for standard Test match days.

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Shaun Marsh makes his pitch for Test retention

Australians 348 for 3 (Marsh 114, Rogers 84, Smith 71*, Clarke 56, Hunn 3-78) v Kent Scorecard

window.espni = window.espni || {}; = || {}; = “1435584088”; = “index:matchanalysis”; = “cric”; Play 01:09 Shaun Marsh makes Test case with hundred

Late in a balmy day at Canterbury, one exuberant but unmistakably composed spectator ventured onto the field carrying a tent. He proceeded to set it up on the outfield and get into it, before stripping down to his underwear and emerging to cheers from a gathering in the region of 5,000 spectators.

To make the XI for the first Investec Test in Cardiff, Shaun Marsh needed to make himself similarly conspicuous. Against an agreeable Kent, he glided to a hundred surely enough, but his final tally was only 30 runs more than Chris Rogers himself, as the two apparent rivals put on an assured 181 for the first wicket.

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