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 ended up turning 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.
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 captains the side. A second successive duck will once more lead to questions 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 Travis Head’s off-stump.
The patient Marnus 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 overstep, 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 win the urn on English soil since 2001. 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