Day three of the third Ashes Test: England battling to keep Ashes alive
England will battle to avoid surrendering the Ashes on home soil for the first time since 2001 after an abject batting display left them with a mountain to climb in the third Test.
The shell-shocked hosts were skittled for a pitiful 67 inside 28 overs, Josh Hazlewood’s five-for amid some injudicious stroke-making putting Australia firmly in the box seat at a sun-drenched Headingley.
Marnus Labuschagne’s unbeaten 53 saw the tourists extend their lead to 283 by the end of the second day, and they will be hopeful of wrapping up a victory that would move them into an unassailable 2-0 lead to retain the urn.
Tweet of the day
This was England’s lowest Ashes total since 1948, with Joe Denly’s torturous 12 England’s lowest Test top-score in an innings where a side were all out. Australia’s 179 under heavy cloud cover and floodlights, a stark contrast to Friday’s glorious sunshine, is the lowest Test total to yield a first-innings lead of 100 runs or more.
Joe’s on a low
There were concerns Joe Root taking the Test captaincy would have an adverse impact on his batting. It seems those worries were not without foundation, with his average now a full 12 runs fewer when he leads the side. A second successive duck will once more lead to questions of whether he is correctly stationed at three in the order.
Archer’s having a ball
Jofra Archer is feeling the love from the English supporters this summer, saying after his six-for on Thursday: “It’s nice to feel welcomed and appreciated.” The paceman would have gone up even further in the fans’ estimations after racing across the pitch and snatching a confiscated beach ball from a steward before throwing it back into the Western Terrace. The gesture led to the biggest cheer of the day.
Despite the dire situation England found themselves in – with Australia’s lead climbing north of 200 shortly after the tea interval – Ben Stokes delivered a herculean 15.2-over spell, only broken up by four balls from Archer. A rare moment of relief for Stokes came with a searing yorker that cannoned into the base of Travis Head’s off-stump.
Labuschagne, once again providing another passable impression of Steve Smith, attempted to withdraw the bat off Stokes but UltraEdge would later indicate a thin nick en route to Jonny Bairstow. However, replays showed Stokes had overstepped when England queried the not out decision. Either side of the no-ball, both Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow shelled the batsman off Stokes. Labuschagne would go on to make a third successive half-century, a gutsy effort on a tough day for batters.
Tim’s Paine goes on
Tim Paine is seemingly on the brink of becoming the first Australian captain to at least avoid losing the urn on English soil in 18 years. However, his lean trot with the bat continued after a second-ball duck, bringing his average down to a paltry 12.83 in the series. He shared words with opposite number Root on his dismissal, UltraEdge seeming to indicate a feather on the bat before Stuart Broad’s delivery cannoned off his pad and looped to gully. Paine therefore had to walk off but was clearly not happy with the decision.
August 24: England v Australia, day three of the third Ashes Test, Headingley