England bowled for 67 as Ashes hopes hang by a thread

England were dismissed for a calamitous 67 as their hopes of reclaiming the Ashes were left hanging by a thread on a day that could prove a line in the sand for their misfiring Test batsmen.

Joe Root’s side arrived at Headingley on the second morning of the third Test with a huge chance to play their way into a series-levelling position after toppling Australia for 179 but turned in a sorry, insipid display.

They were sunk inside 28 overs for England’s third-lowest Ashes score on home turf and the eighth worst overall. Australia responded by reaching 171 for six at stumps, a lead of 283 that positions the holders to go 2-0 ahead with two to play.

England captain Joe Root was left stunned by the events of Friday
England captain Joe Root was left stunned by the events of Friday (Tim Goode/PA)

The tourists deserve considerable credit for a fine bowling performance, not least Josh Hazlewood’s highly-skilled five for 30, but the horror collapse has become a frustratingly frequent flaw.

This was the fourth time since the start of 2018 that England have been blasted out in double figures – with three of those in the past seven Tests – and it increasingly looks like a structural problem that requires serious and immediate attention.

England will never forget the joy of winning its first World Cup earlier this summer but that cherished moment, and the prolonged period of white-ball emphasis that preceded it, might have come at a price.

Josh Hazlewood helped himself to five English wickets
Josh Hazlewood helped himself to five English wickets (Tim Goode/PA)

Meanwhile, Jofra Archer briefly left the field with suspected cramp late in the day, a worrying hint that the rising star of English cricket might already be shouldering too much of the burden, leaving Ben Stokes to hold down a mammoth workload with ball in hand.

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