Day two of the third Ashes Test: Focus turns to England’s batsmen

England’s batsmen will now come under the microscope after Jofra Archer stole the headlines on a truncated opening day of the third Ashes Test at Headingley.

The paceman’s six for 45 were his best figures in his fledgling international career, with the 24-year-old inducing a collapse that saw Australia tumble from 136 for two to 179 all out.

Only 52.1 overs were possible as the weather wrecked the first half of the day but, with David Warner’s dicey 61 and Marnus Labuschagne’s battling 74 the only knocks of any note, that was enough for Archer.

The forecast suggests an improvement in the weather on Friday, where 98 overs are scheduled, as England look to move into the ascendancy.

Tweet of the day

Is speed the be-all and end-all? While Archer got nowhere near the 96.1mph he reached at Lord’s last week – and external factors such as the conditions may have contributed to this – he compensated by bowling impeccable lines and lengths. A more nuanced approach earned him his first international five-wicket haul and proved he is not a one-trick pony.

Quote of the day

Snap shot

Jofra Archer celebrates taking the wicket of Australia’s David Warner
Jofra Archer celebrates taking the wicket of Australia’s David Warner (Mike Egerton/PA)

Stat attack

David Warner rode his luck
David Warner rode his luck (Mike Egerton/PA)

Warner led a charmed life early on, playing and missing at 11 of his first 25 deliveries, while his duel against England seamer Stuart Broad made for compelling viewing. That Warner reached double figures for the first time in five attempts this series – on three occasions he has been dismissed by Broad – seemed more by accident than design as England got the ball to move lavishly. He cashed in on some fortune with important runs in the final session.

Harris endures baptism of fire

Marcus Harris endured an uncomfortable Ashes debut
Marcus Harris endured an uncomfortable Ashes debut (Tim Goode/PA).

Ashes debuts do not get much trickier than Broad and Archer steaming in with the new ball under leaden skies. That was the situation confronting Marcus Harris after he replaced Cameron Bancroft at the top of Australia’s order. Harris had to play at the Archer delivery which got him out but, to compound matters, the players were hauled off for rain immediately after his dismissal.

‘Marnus is strange, he seems to enjoy getting hit’

Marnus Labuschagne's 74 was not without its painful moments
Marnus Labuschagne’s 74 was not without its painful moments (Mike Egerton/PA)

Australia captain Tim Paine was referencing Labuschagne being struck on the helmet at Lord’s but he received a blow of a different kind to the general sympathy of everyone at the ground. After being caught flush in the box, he was doubled over for a period before resuming a steadfast innings, his resolute 74 ending in bizarre circumstances when he was pinned in front by a Ben Stokes full-toss.

Money ball

UNPLAYABLE!

What a ball @StuartBroad8!!

Scorecard/Videos: https://t.co/yK4bf7wbfc#Ashespic.twitter.com/VghJURcMQ4

— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 22, 2019

Travis Head may reflect that circumspection may have been a more appropriate approach to a Broad delivery that pitched on middle and clipped the top of off-stump. However, the end result probably would have been the same had the Australian attempted to defend rather than drive, with the jaffa a worthy inclusion in Broad’s highlight reel.

England get a (slight) taste of their own medicine

Warner made a half-century
Warner made a half-century (Tim Goode/PA)

Minds were cast back to the World Cup final a little over a month ago when a throw from Joe Denly deflected off Warner’s outstretched bat before the ball raced away to the boundary. Warner, like Stokes did against New Zealand at Lord’s, raised his arm to apologise to his opponents, almost certainly oblivious to Denly’s throw coming in.

11-1-70-0

Ben Stokes (pictured) and Chris Woakes were expensive
Ben Stokes, pictured, and Chris Woakes were expensive (Mike Egerton/PA)

The combined figures of Chris Woakes and Stokes in the first 11 overs of the final session, unflattering in the extreme when viewed in the context of Australia’s final total. The pair’s profligacy forced Joe Root to turn back to Archer and Broad though Woakes and Stokes each claimed a wicket when they were brought back into the attack.

What’s next

Today: England v Australia, day two of the third Ashes Test

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