After 17 wickets fell over three sessions in Hobart – the highest number of batteries in an Ashes Test on Australian soil in more than 20 years – Australia limped to stumps shaken and bruised, but with a lead of 152 and knowing that conditions can only be better to stretch the benefit in the morning.
For the second time in as many days, Australia’s top order against England’s sailors armed with a new pink ball faltered as the hosts faltered to 3-33 with David Warner (0), Marnus Labuschagne (5) and Usman Khawaja (5) in a gripping final session.
Where it was century-old Travis Head who came to the rescue on Friday, tonight it was Scott Boland who took on night watch duties in his third Test appearance and resisted a barrage from England’s fastest bowler Mark Wood to finish 3no from 25 balls.
The 17 wickets that fell on day two, for the addition of 287 runs across 82 overs, represent the busiest day of Ashes cricket in Australia, since 18 wickets fell for 341 on the epic (and extended) last day of 1998 Boxing Day Test at MCG.
The home team resumes tomorrow light after 3-37 with Steve Smith undefeated at 17, and the knowledge that any goal over 250 should prove challenging for England’s batters, which again imploded today.
It will be an even harder task if Australia survive into the final session, hitting a new ball under the light an ungrateful task that Warner and his other top-order teammates found tonight.
It was Warner’s firing in the first over tonight that set the tone for the session.
Warner is the first to open two pairs in Ashes. Hans was the 71st pair of an opener in Test cricket; he is one of six openers having two pairs, after Atapattu, Atherton, Gibbs, Gayle and Louis Tancred of SA. https://t.co/aC5cDaJoIw
– Andy Zaltzman (@ZaltzCricket) January 15, 2022
Broad has now won Warner’s wicket 14 times in the 26 Tests they have equalized, and it was the opener’s second pair of ducks in his celebrated career, where the previous occasion was the Ashes Test at Old Trafford in 2019, where Broad also toppled him. in both rounds.
England should rightly have been pleased with the way their setbacks in today’s opening session as they captured the final four Australian wickets for the addition of 62 runs to end their first innings for 303.
It would have been an even more tidy first hour, if not Nathan Lyon’s entertaining cameo, in which he gave a believable imitation of a beautiful Caribbean opening series around 1980 with three popping pull shots clearing the border, one of which landed in the adjacent Church Street.
But any suggestion of batting had become as airy as Lyon suggested was scotched as soon as Australia took the pink ball in hand and England ended the day as they had started it – in the box.
After a disastrous start, skipper Joe Root found himself on the wicket with the score 2-29, the fifth time in as many tests during this campaign that he had been called to the center with the ball less than 10 overs old.
In contrast, his rival No. 4 batter Steve Smith has faced the difficult situation only twice in the series, in this current Test where Australia have fallen to 2-7 and then 2-5 within the initial half hour of both innings.
On both of these occasions, Australia was able to rally … a trait that proved beyond England.
After a brief demonstration of opposition from Root and Dawid Malan, who brought 49 runs to the third wicket, a collapse in the middle order that coincided with the arrival of dusk ensured that England were once again unfortunately in operation in the game.
Malan became the first of three batsmen to be caught behind the wicket after attempts at bone-in-cheek today, and his rejection heralded a crucial 21-ball spell in which Australia rallied 3-7 with a more than 20 overs old ball.
In addition to Malan, Cummins claimed the scalp of his rival skipper Root for the first time in the series by holding him so tangible, lbw the English captain chose not to report even though the ball turned out to skim the bail over the middle stump.
Next over, Mitchell Starc got rid of Ben Stokes, though the credit should at least be shared with Lyon, who intercepted a brutal blow with the hind leg screaming towards the rear-facing point boundary by diving low to his left to pick up a fantastic catch.
It proved the culmination of an Australian field effort that quickly slowed down, with Warner firing a great chance to free Chris Woakes from the first ball the English all-rounder faced and who would have placed Scott Boland on a hat-trick. if accepted.
Six overs later, Boland was again the unlucky bowler when Woakes (at 5) drove merrily and edged a shoulder-high catch to the left of Khawaja at third drop, which was unable to hang on as he dived ahead of Smith in second place.
Had those catches been claimed, Australia’s first innings lead might have stretched closer to 150, given Woakes ended up as England’s top scorer with 36 and was involved in a 42-run stand for the seventh wicket with Sam Billings impressing with 29 on debut.
– Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 15, 2022
However, England could also argue that they were delayed as he had been without the services of the new ball seamstress Ollie Robinson for most of Australia’s first innings after suffering a back cramp in yesterday’s opening session.
This meant that a greater workload was placed on Broad as well as other fast Mark Wood and Woakes, with Broad’s frustration revealed when he asked TV crews to “stop moving the robot” with reference to the remote camera routinely hovering around the outside of the border. rope.
If the veteran from more than 150 tests gets thrown off at the sight of a remote-controlled car driving in the distance, it will definitely send a warning to any teammate who can walk briskly in from the fine leg boundary with Broad on approach.
But that piqué would have faded, while Broad had to bowl in the first and final session of the second day of the test, after England made their usual disastrous batting start, which they once again failed to recover from.
It says a lot about the acumen of the rival clothes that Australia’s last pair have on average had more (14) in their three chances to beat this summer than England’s opening pair (12.78 from nine attempts) with a maximum of one innings per game. hold back in this series. .
England’s average on the first wicket could have slipped further as Rory Burns looked set to fall behind in Starc’s first over and before his team had managed a run.
But despite the apparent interest shown by Australia’s catchers behind the wicket, there was no discussion to assess the value of a review, and it was only retrospective TV analysis that suggested a faint edge.
Not that Burns, who was recalled to the team after being left out for the third and fourth tests due to his lack of running, benefited from his possible postponement as he was run over by a duck in the following after showing a equally serious deficiency – a lack of urgency.
He became the first English opener to be run out without scoring in a Test since Wilf Slack achieved the dubious honor of the second round of the 1986 match against the West Indies in Trinidad, and the first for his team to suffer that fate in a Ashes-kamp. since Andrew Stoddart at Old Trafford in 1893.
– cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 15, 2022
While Burns’ unwillingness to dive for safety ultimately cost him his wicket, it was his opening partner Zac Crawley’s pick shortly after leaving for the fateful race that proved crucial, a debate the couple were in. able to lead in the locker room privacy 30 minutes later when Crawley left.
The 23-year-old, who impressed in England’s second round in Sydney, seemed to find the rhythm again, until he became Cummins’ first victim of the day.
The right-hander pressed a catch to the short-leg, where Travis Head was stationed, a proof that no privileges exist in Cummins ‘egalitarian outfit with the series’ leading running scorer inserted in the least beloved fielding role previously filled by the humiliated opens Marcus Harris. .
Head was an irregular guest at close fishing positions since he suffered an ugly fracture to his left little finger last summer, and he called on his legacy from Australian rules by jumping fast to intercept a sharp chance that returned from Crawley’s bat and body , and grabbed it by the other grip.
When he was engulfed by happy teammates, no one would have been more grateful than the successful bowler, given Cummins, had put himself in the unknown role in the dying moments of the Sydney Test as he unsuccessfully pushed for the final match-winning wicket .
“It’s hard with the grid (on the helmet), you do not know the ball where it goes – I do not know how they do it,” Cummins remarked at the time.
Now that he has seen how that magic happens up close, he may also want expert guidance in using the Decision Review System in connection with catches.
Not only was Burns apparently exposed in the opening over, Malan survived a fierce outcry under almost identical circumstances against Cameron Green as he on the 13th and with England showed the first signs of a fightback of 2-44.
The ball was cleared off the boot of the defender, Cummins.
A non-binding investigation conducted by TV commentators revealed that the Australians had missed yet another trick, and a trick executed by Malan not for the first time in the series after admitting he should have been caught and thrown by Lyon at Gabba.
Australia, however, did not go through this incident with repetitions showing that the ball had been shot back from England’s right-handed glove, thus denying Lyon his 400th test wicket.
It is still one of the tourists’ few theoretical ‘victories’ on the course of yet another unforgettable Ashes visit.
Vodafone men’s ashes
Australia: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc , Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
England: Joe Root (c), James Anderson, Jonathan Bairstow, Dom Bess, Sam Billings, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, David Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Ben Stokes , Chris Woakes, Mark Wood
First test: Australia won by nine wickets
Second test: Australia won by 275 races
Third test: Australia won by one innings and 14 runs
Fourth test: Match draw
Fifth test: January 14-18, Blundstone Arena