Ashes: Jonny Bairstow defended by Dawid Malan after dismissal

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport in Sydney

England batsman Dawid Malan said he was surprised team-mate Jonny Bairstow did not employ a nightwatchman on day one of the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney.

Bairstow lasted just seven balls as Australia followed up their dismissal of Joe Root (83) with the new ball to leave England 233-5 at the close.

"It takes a lot of guts to go against what people normally do," said Malan, who ended the day unbeaten on 55.

"Perhaps he felt he was better suited to face the new ball."

Middlesex left-hander Malan added: "Some people like it and some people don't. I'll have a nightwatchman every time if there is an opportunity given to me."

Debutant Mason Crane was padded up to act as nightwatchman, but England's policy is to allow the next batsman to make the decision on who goes in at the fall of a wicket.

The tourists had reached 220-3 when Australia took the second new ball with two overs of the day remaining.

Root clipped Starc to square leg for 83 and, after Bairstow opted to keep his spot at number six, he edged Josh Hazlewood behind.

"I was surprised," said Malan. "Each to their own. You can't look back. He didn't take one, he backed himself and he got out."

Win predictor: Aus 51, Eng 33, Draw 16
Before Root's dismissal, England's chances were rated at 40% and Australia's 27% with the draw 33%

Australia all-rounder Mitchell Marsh also said that he would have opted for a nightwatchman had he been in Bairstow's position.

"I was very surprised," he said. "I've played three games this series and had Nathan Lyon padded up as nightwatchman about six times.

"We usually use one in the last 20 minutes. With a new ball, there's probably even more reason to send one out. I would have had the nightwatchman."

Australia have already secured the Ashes and are looking to deny England a first Test win in 10 attempts down under.

The late wickets in Sydney mean the tourists can attack the out-of-form Moeen Ali and the tourists' elongated tail with the new ball when play resumes at the earlier time of 23:00 GMT on Thursday.

"It was great to get the late rewards," added Marsh. "The ball is only two overs old, so hopefully we can go through them tomorrow."

Malan, though, believes England can still reach a total that would put them in a strong position.

"The position we were in both those last two overs, we would have been aiming for between 400 and 450," he said.

"The wickets have put us back a bit, but there's no reason why we can't get another 150 runs."


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