Malan surprised by Bairstow nightwatchman snub
Dawid Malan was surprised to see Jonny Bairstow snub a nightwatchman to make a brief appearance in the middle in a dramatic end to the opening day of the final Ashes Test with Australia.
Joe Root and Malan rallied the tourists from 95-3 with a 133-run stand at the SCG on Thursday, but they were 233-5 at stumps after losing the captain and Bairstow late in the day.
Root (83) failed to convert another half-century into a hundred yet again, steering the third delivery with the new ball from Mitchell Starc to a diving Mitchell Marsh at square leg.
Bairstow strode out to join Malan at the crease and lasted only seven balls, edging Josh Hazlewood (2-47) behind from what proved to be the last delivery of the day.
Malan, unbeaten on 55 at stumps, raised eyebrows when the wicketkeeper-batsman made his entrance but thinks England can still post a competitive total despite taking two substantial late blows.
"I was surprised, but I think it's left up to the batsman that is next in to make the decision." Malan told BT Sport.
"Good on Jonny for making that decision, unfortunately it didn't work, but that's the game of cricket."
The left-hander added: "Obviously it didn't go to plan, but if we were still three down we would have loved to be 400 plus, 450 tomorrow.
"Still there is no reason why we can't get there, especially if we get through this new ball tomorrow. If we can get as close to 400 as we can or 400 plus, with our two spinners, hopefully it breaks up a bit and it turns."
Pat Cummins (2-47) took two wickets after lunch was taken early due to rain, Mark Stoneman (24), James Vince (25) and Alastair Cook (39) failing to build on starts.