We want Australian cricket fans and Australian people to be proud of their cricket team.
“Every time we play now it is [a chance to do that], there’s no doubt about that,” Paine said on the eve of the first Test. “We want Australian cricket fans and Australian people to be proud of their cricket team. Every time we walk out on the field that’s what we’re aiming to do. We’re also aiming to win and be as competitive as people expect of an international cricket side. That’s how we’re going to go about it.
“Our guys understand what’s expected of them. We’re role models not just for Australian people but all round the world. There has been a quote going round our change-rooms this week from Winston Churchill actually, and that’s that behaviour doesn’t lie. We can talk all we like about how we’re going to behave. Ultimately you guys will see how we behave and judge for yourself.”
Paine’s declaration came as the England camp expressed doubt over whether Australia would curb their old ways, having been particularly annoyed by Josh Hazlewood’s pre-series questioning of whether opener Jason Roy would be up to Test level.
“It is weird when Aussies try to be nice to you,” said Ben Stokes, England’s restored vice-captain. “Once you cross the white line and get out into the middle, the competitive side of both teams will come out. There is always something that happens between the teams in Ashes series and I don’t think this will be any different. The Ashes are where you get scrutinised like no other. I can assure you there will be some sort of theatre out there.”
Australia coach Justin Langer, who has overseen Australia’s cultural revolution, said he was pleased his team had received no ICC code violations in the past year.
“I hope that through my whole tenure as coach that’s the way, but whether it happens … boys are still boys and they’re playing a tough game and every now and then emotions take over. But our hope is that continues, no doubt,” he said.
While Smith, Warner and Bancroft are back and Matthew Wade begins his second coming in Test cricket as a specialist batsman in the middle order, Australia hope the bold step of splitting up Australia’s three frontline fast bowlers from recent years will pay off.
Mitchell Starc, who collected a record number of wickets for a bowler at the World Cup and bagged 10 for the match in Australia’s most recent Test six months ago, should make way for a resurgent James Pattinson, while Hazlewood’s return to the XI from injury was on match eve also being challenged by Peter Siddle.
Fast bowlers don’t tend to be creatures who enjoy being benched, but Paine said they were on board with the strategy in the Ashes.
“We’ve spoken about it to the bowlers,” Paine said. “We’re going to pick the team we think is going to win each Test match given the conditions we get when we arrive at those venues and the bowlers are across that.
“I think that’s a great thing for our team – to have a really strong mix of fast bowlers who can all play in different conditions. But as we’ve said to the fast bowlers, it’s actually a great thing for them as well because we can now prolong their careers for a few years. The last two or three years, we’ve been way too reliant on Cummins, Starc and Hazlewood – they’ve played a lot of Tests and subsequently picked up lots of niggly injuries along the way. It’s a positive for all those guys.
“Another one is Peter Siddle, he can get another 12 months of Test cricket if we keep picking guys for the conditions. That’s the way we’ve sold it to them. It’s a great thing for the team but it’s also a great thing for them individually.”
Australia (likely): David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Matthew Wade, Tim Paine (c), Pat Cummins, James Pattinson, Josh Hazlewood/Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon.
England (likely): Rory Burns, Jason Roy, Joe Root (c), Joe Denly, Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes/Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad, James Anderson.
A brownish, hard surface has been prepared and spent plenty of time undercover in the lead-up due to rain. “I must admit I was expecting a bit of a greentop,” Australia captain Tim Paine said. “It’s certainly a different colour than I expected but there is a thick covering of grass on it … I think the Dukes ball is going to swing around.”
Cloudy and 22 degrees. After rain on Sunday and Tuesday, the rain is forecast to interrupt the match over the five days. It’s predicted to be partly cloudy over the first two days with a chance of rain, while showers are expected on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Australia $1.95, England $2.40, Draw $6.50
On the box
Live coverage on 9Gem from 7.30pm Thursday (First session begins at 8pm, Sydney time)
Join Andrew Wu for all the live action at smh.com.au/sport from 7.30pm.
Chris Barrett is Sports Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald.
For years, those involved in downtown Wytheville’s rebirth have had their eye on one particular prize: a grand old lady smack-dab in the middle of town with arms wide open, just waiting to give visitors and businesses a great big hug. It’s an iconic, Main Street building where people of all ages can learn and play – a welcoming beacon with movies and classes and performances of all kinds.
The Millwald Theatre could be the jewel in the town’s revitalization crown.
On Friday, a group dedicated to restoring the theatre took action.
Millwald Theatre Inc., a nonprofit organization created specifically to purchase, renovate and operate the property, bought the former movie theater from Wythe Realty Corporation. The group paid $600,000 and will spend millions to renovate it and turn it into a multi-purpose entertainment and education venue.
For more than 92 years, the Millwald Theatre has been the centerpiece for the Downtown Historic District. Many believe it is the most important historic property remaining in the downtown district required to ensure economic revitalization continues.
Wytheville Mayor Beth Taylor said the acquisition brought the downtown revitalization project up several notches.
“Now, having this as an anchor, there are going to be more eateries and retail willing to make that commitment and come downtown,” she said. “Talk about a boost in our economy! This is so exciting in so many ways!”
Todd Wolford, executive director of Downtown Wytheville Inc., agreed.
“What one must understand is that by restoring and bringing the theater back to life, it will enrich the lives of many in our community, young and old. This is not just a theater, this project will generate opportunity for music education, theater education, art education and much more, while providing a venue for live entertainment, movies, special screenings, satellite conference space and shared use space for many events and activities that we haven’t even thought of yet. It’s exciting and a long time coming. We can’t do everything we have done downtown and leave the Millwald to sit as it is, that would be counterproductive to our mission and vision for our community.”
Efforts to acquire the theater gained momentum in May 2017 when the Wytheville Town Council allotted $600,000 for the purchase. The council agreed to give the money to the Wytheville Industrial Development Authority, which in turn provided funding to Millwald Theatre Inc.
Although it provided the seed money, Town Council will not be involved in running the theater. That tasks will be handled by Millwald Theatre Inc.
Wolford said it is important to leaders that the Lester family, whose company sold the building to MTI, be recognized inside the renovated theater.
“The Lester family has owned the theater since 1929, so naturally, we knew it would be hard for them to part with it, so building a relationship with the family through this process was very important to me and respecting them while trying to acquire the property at the same time,” Wolford said. “We hope that we can honor the family in some fashion in the lobby area with some of the historic relics that they have collected over the years; I think it is important to preserve and celebrate that.”
The Millwald Theatre opened Aug. 28, 1928, with a screening of the silent film “Beau Broadway,” starring Lew Cody and Aileen Pringle. It wasn’t long, though, till the theater showed its first “talkie,” Al Jolson’s 1927 musical “The Jazz Singer.”
In 1986, the theater operated as a single-screen movie house with a few live shows sprinkled into the schedule. That year, Richard and Jan Herring, who were leasing the property, decided to divide the balcony into two additional movie screens.
In August 2005, the Millwald showed its last two films: “Four Brothers” and “Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.”
Restoration plans include re-establishing the original single 500-seat auditorium with a full stage, adding state-of-the-art sound and projection equipment and developing a green room, classrooms and support facilities on the lower level. It will also serve as the community’s auditorium.
“This is a community project that has been talked about for years. Wytheville Town Council’s vision of a revitalized downtown and a grant from the Wytheville IDA made it possible to acquire this historic property,” said Mark Bloomfield, MTI board chairman. “Now, it’s our job to put all of the puzzle pieces together and complete the project.”
Bloomfield said construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2020 after current tenants in the building have relocated. Most recently, the theater housed a church, a barbershop and a video game store.
“The total project is expected to cost nearly $4.5 million dollars and take approximately two and half years to complete,” Bloomfield said. “Although, public and private grants will pay a major role in covering the renovations, a local fundraising effort will be required to cover about 25 percent of the costs.”
A quarter of the cost is about $1.1 million.
Bloomfield said that studies commissioned by the group indicate that a renovated Millwald Theatre will be able operate on a nearly daily schedule and will attract more than 40,000 visitors annually. Not only will the added guests contribute to the success of the downtown merchants, but they will lodge and shop throughout the town, creating a positive impact for all, he said.
Members of Millwald Theatre Inc. are: Mark Bloomfield, chairman; Rusty Jones, vice chairman; Rebecca James, secretary; Bruce Stevens, treasurer; and board members Jennifer Walters, C.M. Walters, Teresa Hagee, Terry Beamer, David Manley and Glenda Crockett-Eans.
Lisa Wilkinson has been under a lot of scrutiny this week, following revelations she allegedly stormed out of work at Channel Ten’s The Project, after apparently feeling insulted by a comment made by Peter Helliar. Now she has responded to the frenzy – in a very classy way.
WATCH: Video reveals ‘moment Lisa Wilkinson wanted to move to Channel 10’
According to reports, The Project team were enjoying a 10th anniversary discussion when Peter, seemingly unwittingly, singled out Lisa as an outsider amongst his fellow co-hosts, Carrie Bickmore and Waleed Aly – telling Lisa in front of assembled co-workers, ‘We love having you on our show.’
According to a report in The Australian newspaper, Lisa ‘shuffled offset’ after just 30 minutes of the hour and a half broadcast.
‘Diary hears she was not sighted again, either during the 90-minute-plus extravaganza or the after-party,’ reported the publication.
In contrast, Peter, Carrie and Waleed reportedly stayed for the after-party, where they toasted each other.
‘You are the show!’ Peter gushed about Carrie. ‘You are the soul of this show and it is an honour to work alongside you.’
In the wake of publication of details of Lisa’s alleged upset, the star has responded in the best way possible – avoiding adding fuel to the fire, and posting evidence she’s living her best possible life, on holiday with her husband Peter Fitzsimons in gorgeous Sicily.
‘Yesterday’s lemon (and coffee and pistachio and strawberry and almond and chocolate) granita pitstop spot at Taurmina, @belmondgrandhoteltimeo in the shadow of the grand ruins of the town’s magnificent Greek Theatre dating back to the 2nd Century BC,’ gushed Lisa of her blissful break, on Instagram. ‘Today we work off all that sugar (we had A LOT of granita!) by climbing that baby there on the left, Mt Etna….Europe’s highest and most active volcano. We’re goin’ in…’
Revealing further stunning photos, Lisa raved, ‘Made our way up to heaven today….actually, it was a gorgeous little medieval village called Castelmola high, high above the coast behind Taormina in Sicily, but it sure felt like heaven…’
Lisa had earlier given indication that she was fine with everything at work, by posting approvingly of The Project’s anniversary on social media, with a behind-the-scenes photo from the 10th birthday celebration episode, writing ‘Ten years of @theprojecttv And I’ve never felt more at home than with these amazing humans…’
I was sitting in the audience of Channel Seven’s The All New Monty – and it was both a hilarious and bizarre experience.
Five famous blokes stripping off for a good cause was always going to be an entertaining night, but it was even better when you saw how much it meant to a few select people watching that night at Newtown’s Enmore theatre.
And a few excited audience members who sat in front of me were there for a very special reason.
It was a group of ladies in their 50s and 60s who had gone through cancer themselves, sporting mastectomy scars and bearing the trauma of surviving the awful disease.
As the seven stars danced their choreographed routine and took off their pants, some ladies decided to follow suit and stripped off their tops too.
I’m surprised the cameras didn’t catch the screaming topless girls down the back!
But my eyes were trained on the stage as Matty, George, Sam, Lote, John, Robert and Brendan ditched their pants, and briefly hid their genitals with a sailor hat, before tossing them aside and showing the world what they’re made of – literally!
Bursts of confetti covered most of their crown jewels, but the boys weren’t afraid to stand proudly and linger for a bit longer as the confetti started to fade.
It looked like they would have been happy to stand there naked even longer as the guys were ushered backstage, much to the audience’s disappointment.
There were also a few tears in the audience as TheGreatest Showman song This Is Me shook the house down and everyone screamed in support of the incredible cause.
You could absolutely feel the love and passion in the air that night. If it doesn’t inspire Aussie men to get themselves check, who knows what will.