England crumbled under pressure as Australia’s pace bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins helped bowl them out for 325 on the third morning of the second Ashes Test, handing Australia a 91-run first-innings lead.
In what could potentially decide the fate of the series, England lost a dramatic 6-47 in just 90 minutes, spelling disaster for their chances of taking a win.
Though missing star spinner Nathan Lyon due to a ‘significant’ calf strain, Australia still managed to get through a difficult five-over period before lunch unscathed, going into the break at 0-12.
This dire performance from England has cast doubt not only over their hopes in this test but also their prospects in the rest of the series. Can they pull through and make a comeback? Or will Australia take a decisive lead? Only time will tell.
After the Australian spinner Nathan Lyon was forced to leave the field due to injury in the final session of day two, England squandered a promising position, ending the day on 1-188. Travis Head stepped up for the rest of this Test and took 2-17 as he spearheaded Australia’s push to run through the tail.
The stand-out performer however was undoubtedly Mitchell Starc, who took 3-33 while Lyon was off the field, ensuring a dramatic turn of events in the match. Against his name is an impressive list of scalps: Ben Stokes, Harry Brook and Joe Root, all dismissed during the course of the two day period. It was a wonderful return for Starc, who had been controversially left out of Australia’s side for their incredible two-wicket win at Edgbaston.
England should be ruing what could have been – not simply their collapse but also their carelessness with regards to relinquishing of wickets. With such potential rendered fruitless courtesy of an ill-timed pitch aberration, it will be fascinating to see how they respond come Saturday morning.
Australian paceman Mitchell Starc struck early for his side in the first over of the day, with rising star Stokes (17) edging off to a lovely outswinger. But unfortunately, Joe Brook only had himself to blame for his dismissal soon afterwards.
After three top-order players tried—unsuccessfully—the hook shot on the second evening, Australia went back to their trusty short-ball plan. Joe Brook obliged, attempting to hit a bouncer from Starc back down the ground, but it straight away sailed into the arms of Pat Cummins at cover. Out for an even 50 runs, Brook’s valiant effort nonetheless showed promise – but if only he hadn’t gone for such a bold move.
Australia quickly gained the upper hand in the second Ashes Test match against England, as Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad were sent to the pavilion by Cameron Green and Mitchell Head respectively. Ollie Robinson soon followed, also caught behind off of Head’s bowling. Josh Tongue’s valiant endeavor was cut short when he was caught after fending off a bouncer from Cummins (1-46).
Unfortunately, this cost England dearly as they managed to complete only 76.2 overs worth of innings, losing their last nine wickets in 38.1 overs and concede a big lead. With less than optimal time between matches and Australia a bowler down, England could have benefited greatly had they succeeded in keeping Australia in the field. But will they be able to turn it around on Headingley? Tune in to find out!