score and latest updates from third Test, day one in Melbourne

The Ashes Boxing Day Test starts soon. So hello, good evening and welcome to our live blog of Australia versus England in the third match of the series; the action comes to you from the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

I’m Alan Tyers, and I am looking forward to talking you through the first few hours of play. Things should brighten up for y’all at around tea time, when my splendid colleague Mr Jake Goodwill joins us.

The news from Victoria is that England have made four changes and, if you have watched much of the first two Tests, you’d have to say: thank goodness. Rory Burns and Ollie Pope, both of whom have been operating at chocolate teapot levels so far, have made way for Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow. Can’t be many who’d argue with those two selection decisions.

England also toss Jack Leach back into the fray. Well, good luck son.

Their fourth and final change and, hopefully, the one that will shake things up a bit, is to bring back quickie Mark Wood. Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes are the fellows who will be putting their trotters up.

Anyhow, that was the team news in the hours before start; we will know for certain at the toss. We expect Australia to make two alterations. Skipper Pat Cummins returns; he missed Adelaide after being pinged as a close contact of someone who tested positive for Covid-19. Scott Boland is in; he becomes the second player with Indigenous Australian heritage to play for the men’s Test team. Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser drop out of the XI.

England might well wear black armbands I would imagine; certainly the death of Ray Illingworth will be in the minds of many England cricket lovers and followers. England’s former skipper and supremo has passed away this Christmas. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones. Scyld, it goes without saying, has done a lovely tribute to the Yorkshire offie.

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