LEEDS: Australia are closing in on the victory that will see them retain the Ashes after opening up a 194-run lead over England on day two of the third Test at Headingley, in command at tea on 82-3 in their second innings.
The tourists, who lead the five-match series 1-0, rattled through England to bowl the hosts out for just 67 in their first innings — their lowest test innings total against Australia since 1948 — in less than 28 overs.
Australia opener David Warner failed to continue where he left off following his first knock of 61 as he was out for a second ball duck to give England early hope, with Marcus Harris following him to the pavilion for 19.
Usman Khawaja looked in good touch until another poor shot saw him caught in the slips for 23. But with such a substantial lead and seven second innings wickets still in hand, Australia’s first series victory in England since 2001 could be drawing closer.
Earlier, England were looking take advantage of good conditions to surpass Australia’s first innings score of 179.
However, Jason Roy’s struggles continued as he fell early for nine, before Joe Root followed his golden duck at Lord’s by lasting one more ball on his home ground without scoring.
Rory Burns went next, before England’s in-form batsman Ben Stokes, on eight, went for a shot he did not need to and edged to Warner — one of four catches taken by the Australia opener.
Coming out on 54-6 after the morning session, England lost Chris Woakes (5), who was strangled down the leg side off Pat Cummins, to the first ball after lunch and then Jos Buttler (5) to the first ball of the second over when he chipped a drive off Josh Hazlewood to short cover.
The next over, Jofra Archer left his bat in the air as he tried to get out of the way of Pat Cummins’ short ball and nicked an edge behind for 7.
Jack Leach was the last batsman to depart when he was bowled by Hazlewood, giving the paceman figures of 5-30 off 12.5 overs. Cummins had 3-23.
On Thursday, Archer continued the brilliant start to his Test career by taking 6-45 and sparking Australia’s collapse from 136-2 to 179 all out on a stop-start opening day.
Archer, English cricket’s newest superstar, didn’t reproduce the hostility and express pace he showed on his Test debut at Lord’s in the drawn second Test last week, but took advantage of benign conditions for seam and swing bowling to run through Australia’s creaky batting lineup.
Warner and Labuschagne (74) played the only substantial innings for the touring side, Labuschagne making his second fifty in a row since replacing Steve Smith who was struck by an Archer bouncer in the second test and ruled out of the third match due to concussion symptoms.
Only one other player captain Tim Paine (11) reached double figures as Smith’s absence proved telling.
With Harris and Khawaja falling cheaply and early after catches behind off deliveries by Archer and Stuart Broad respectively, Warner and Labuschagne revived the innings with a third-wicket stand of 111.
Archer, however, turned the tide by having Warner caught behind off a 90 mph delivery.
It was the start of a collapse that saw Australia lose three wickets for three runs to be 139-5.
Travis Head was bowled for a duck by Broad and Matthew Wade also fell for nought when an Archer delivery deflected off the thigh pad via his glove and into the base of the stump.
Tim Paine became Chris Woakes’ first victim, given out lbw after a review, and James Pattinson was caught by Root at first slip off Archer for two.
Archer found the edge of Cummins’ bat, his dismissal confirmed after a review, and Stokes ended Labuschagne’s innings, trapping him lbw with a full toss.
Nathan Lyon was last to go in the final over, lbw to Archer to complete a memorable day for the Barbados-born fast bowler.
AUSTRALIA (1st innings): D. Warner c Bairstow b Archer 61 M. Harris c Bairstow b Archer 8 U. Khawaja c Bairstow b Broad 8 M. Labuschagne lbw b Stokes 74 T. Head b Broad 0 M. Wade b Archer 0 T. Paine lbw b Woakes 11 J. Pattinson c Root b Archer 2 P. Cummins c Bairstow b Archer 0 N. Lyon lbw b Archer 1 J. Hazlewood not out 1 EXTRAS (B-4, LB-2, NB-2, W-5) 13 TOTAL (all out, 52.1 overs) 179 FALL OF WKTS: 1-12, 2-25, 3-136, 4-138, 5-139, 6-162, 7-173, 8-174, 9-177. BOWLING: Broad 14-4-32-2; Archer 17.1-3-45-6 (2nb); Woakes 12-4-51-1 (1w); Stokes 9-0-45-1.
ENGLAND (1st innings): R. Burns c Paine b Cummins 9 J. Roy c Warner b Hazlewood 9 J. Root c Warner b Hazlewood 0 J. Denly c Paine b Pattinson 12 B. Stokes c Warner b Pattinson 8 J. Bairstow c Warner b Hazlewood 4 J. Buttler c Khawaja b Hazlewood 5 C. Woakes c Paine b Cummins 5 J. Archer c Paine b Cummins 7 S. Broad not out 4 J. Leach b Hazlewood 1 EXTRAS (LB-3) 3 TOTAL (all out, 27.5 overs) 67 FALL OF WKTS: 1-10, 2-10, 3-20, 4-34, 5-45, 6-45, 7-54, 8-56, 9-66. BOWLING: Cummins 9-4-23-3; Hazlewood 12.5-2-30-5; Lyon 1-0-2-0; Pattinson 5-2-9-2. AUSTRALIA (2nd innings): M. Harris b Leach 19 D. Warner lbw b Broad 0 U. Khawaja c Roy b Woakes 23 M. Labuschagne not out 13 T. Head not out 17 EXTRAS (B-1, LB-5, NB-2, W-2) 10 TOTAL (for 3 wkts, 25 overs) 82 FALL OF WKTS: 1-10, 2-36, 3-52. BOWLING: Archer 8-2-16-0, Broad 8-2-26-1, Woakes 6-1-21-1, Leach 3-0-13-1.
Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2019