It was an extraordinary day for fast bowling. 16 wickets fell in a single day, courtesy to some persistent bowling from both the teams. Australia ended the day with 171/6 after dismissing England for a mere 67.
Australia’s number four batsman was their saviour yet again. Marnus Labuschagne scored his third consecutive half century after coming in as a concussion replacement for Steve Smith at Lord’s. Irrespective of what happens to Smith in the fourth Test match, Labuschagne should walk into the playing eleven.
Earlier in the day, the Australian pace attack ran through England’s batting lineup. Jason Roy began the collapse by driving away from the body and nicked it to David Warner. Joe Root got his second consecutive duck after the second innings dismissal at Lord’s. Hazlewood squared him up and Root edged it to first slip.
Pat Cummins from other end pampered Rory Burns with sharp bouncers and got his wicket as Burns tried to hook his way out. Joe Denly and Ben Stokes joined together at 20-3.
Stokes had the worst of dismissals, as he threw his bat at a wide yorker delivery and edged it to the slips. Denly soon joined Stokes in the pavilion trying to drive through covers. The ball was seaming around and it wasn’t a good time to drive on-the-up to deliveries outside off stump. Warner had a good field day as he took four catches in first slip.
Hazlewood gets a fifer
Hazlewood was in the middle of a beautiful spell. He pitched the ball in the right areas and persisted with good line and length outside off stump, making the batsman play. He removed Johnny Bairstow as England were reduced to 54-6 by the stroke of lunch.
The Australian pace trio were smart to use the short ball strategy post lunch. Chris Woakes got out fending to a short ball on the first all after lunch. Cummins and Hazlewood ran in and bowled sharp bouncers to clean up the tail.
Jack leach was pushed to his back foot after a series of short balls, received a leg stump yorker from Hazlewood. Hazlewood got a well deserved five wicket haul as England were bowled out for 67. Australia secured a lead of 112 runs after being put into bat in the first innings.
Number four to the rescue
Australia’s top order woes continued. David Warner got out for a duck. Stuart broad trapped him in front of the stumps. Jack Leach bowled a beauty to get rid of Marcus Harris. He pitched it outside off stump and spun it back through the gap between bat and pad and hit the stumps.
Labuschagne was the crisis man, yet again. He saw Usman Khwaja flashing at a full delivery and nicking it to the slip cordon. Scorecard read 52-3. He stitched a partnership with Travis Head and made sure they didn’t lose any wickets until tea.
Head received an in-swinging yorker from Stokes to uproot his stumps. Mathew Wade joined Labuschagne and they both added 66 runs for the fifth wicket and took the lead past 200. Stokes removed Wade with a short ball from round the wicket.
Broad dismissed the Australian captain for a duck. Tim Paine inside edged it to the pads and the ball lobbed over to gully. Marnus Labuschagne was the pick of the batsmen. He left everything outside off stump. He played closed to his body, watching the ball to the very end.
Labuschagne managed to survive the short balls and played sensibly. He hung in there and showed everyone else how to bat on that pitch. He got his third consecutive half century. With Australia leading by 283 already, Labuschagne will look to build on the lead and get it close to 350 on day three.
With conditions getting better for bating, Australia will try to extend the lead as much as possible. If Australia wins this Test match, it will be the first time they are retaining the Urn in England since 2001.