Cricket Weekly Column #12 Ashes Third Test Review

By Riley Taylor (@rileyttaylor21)

Welcome to the 12th edition of Overtime’s Cricket Weekly Column, where we look at the week’s biggest stories and games.

This week we look at what happened at Headingley in the third Ashes test with Australia one win away from retaining the urn.

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What happened at Lords’?

England recovered well from their thrashing at Edgbaston but after rain had washed out one and a half days of cricket a result was never likely.

It would have been a pleasing sight to see Jonny Bairstow back in form after his fifty in the first innings and Jos Buttler provided a handy 30 in a partnership with Ben Stokes in a battling innings.

Stokes backed up his superb World Cup summer with a stunning century to give England a chance of winning, something that seemed so unlikely after the earlier rain and another batting collapse.

There were more positives for England in the bowling department as Jofra Archer came in for his Test debut and introduced himself to the Lords’ faithful with a display of raw pace and aggression, something that had not been seen in an England test bowler in a very long time.

His quickest ball was 96mph and he bowled at an average of 92mph, which created a lot of problems for Australia but none more so then the injury of Steve Smith.

The former Aussie captain went down after a blow to the head from Archer and had to be taken off due to concussion, a worrying sight for all given what happened to Phillip Hughes just four years ago.

Jack Leach also displayed some of the skills which made him so dangerous in county cricket and if he had more time on day five, he may of ran through the rest of the Australian batting line-up.

However, England still faced the same problems at the top of the order, Jason Roy looked extremely circumspect against the new ball and questions were asked if he should be opening after just his third test.

Even more worrying is the form of captain Joe Root who since his move to number three has offered little and his captaincy has also been called into question following some questionable field placements and bowling changes.

Meanwhile, Australia will be very concerned about the impact of Steve Smith’s injury will have but they have a decent replacement in Marnus Labuschagne who stood-in for Smith and produced a handy innings to save the game.

Both openers form is also a concern as Cameron Bancroft and David Warner have both struggled since their return to the Test side.
However, with an extremely good bowling attack seemingly firing on all cylinders since the start of the Ashes, the Aussies will still be full of confidence against a feeble England batting lineup.

Amazing Archer: England v Australia Day One at Headingley
Australia: 179 (Labuschagne 74, Warner 61, Archer 6-45, Broad 2-32)
England: Yet to bat

Jofra Archer took a maiden five-wicket haul in just his second Test match as Australia collapsed on day one.

Australia were cruising at 136/2 with David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne looking comfortable.

However, a collapse of 43/8 saw England run through the rest of the Australian order to put them in a strong position going into day two.

Australia made three changes to the team that drew at Lords’ with Marcus Harris, Labuschagne and James Pattinson coming in for Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith and Peter Siddle whereas England were unchanged.

England’s day started superbly as Archer removed Harris for eight via a catch by Jonny Bairstow before Stuart Broad picked up his first when he had Usman Khawaja caught by the same player for eight.

After the early damage, Warner and Labuschagne came together and put on a healthy 111-run partnership as the England bowlers had no answer but were not helped by a number of rain breaks.

Joe Root turned to Archer and he was the man to get the breakthrough when he had Warner caught by Bairstow for 61.

England followed this up with two more quick wickets; Travis Head and Matthew Wade both bowled for ducks by Archer and Broad respectively.

Australia captain Paine joined Labuschagne and briefly added some resistance with a 23-run partnership.

Paine then departed when Chris Woakes picked up his first wicket when he trapped the Australian wicketkeeper leg-before for 11.

England had been known to not be able to bowl out the tail in recent series, but this wasn’t to be the case this time round as the remaining four wickets fell for just 17 runs, starting with Pattinson, caught at slip by Root for two.

Pat Cummins then came and went for a duck as Archer claimed his fifth wicket by having the Australian paceman caught by Bairstow.

Ben Stokes then got the big wicket of Labuschagne, albeit in unorthodox fashion as the Australian number four missed a full toss and was trapped leg-before for 74.

Archer then wrapped up the innings in the last over of the day as he trapped Nathan Lyon leg-before for one to end a superb day for himself and for England.

Dreadful England Batting Before Bowlers Fightback: England v Australia Day Two at Headingley
Australia: 179 (Labuschagne 74, Warner 61, Archer 6-45, Broad 2-32) & 171/6 (Labuschagne 53no, Wade 33, Stokes 2-33, Broad 2-34)
England: 67 (Denly 12, Roy 9, Hazlewood 5-30, Cummins 3-23)

England were humiliated at Headingley on day two after they were bowled out for 67, their fourth total under 100 in the past year.

The Australian bowlers ran riot with the ball as Josh Hazlewood claimed his seventh five wicket-haul of his Test career as England were bowled out for their lowest-ever total at Headingley.

However, despite this excellent bowling the shot selection from England was extremely questionable as they continued to attack and as a result fell cheaply.

It was a pathetic display of batting and something that England fans had seen plenty of before and yet these issues had not been resolved even after a change of batting coaches from Mark Ramprakash to Graham Thorpe.

Rory Burns and Jason Roy started the day after the England bowlers had bowled well to dismiss Australia for just 179.

However, it wasn’t long before England lost their first wicket, Jason Roy dismissed in a familiar fashion as he drove at a ball from Hazlewood and was caught at slip by David Warner for 9.

Joe Root joined Burns, but it wasn’t long before he was out too, as he fell for his second duck in succession as he edged to Warner to slip off Hazlewood.

It was a mere four overs before Australia struck again, this time it was Pat Cummins to do the damage as Burns fended a short ball through to wicketkeeper Tim Paine for nine.

World Cup hero Ben Stokes was the next to go, slashing at a wide half-volley from James Pattinson and Warner took the catch at slip to dismiss him for eight.

Joe Denly and Jonny Bairstow put on the most resistance in their partnership as they survived a measly six overs before the former was removed for 12 as he edged through to Paine off Pattinson.

Bairstow then fell an over later for four courtesy of a screamer of a catch from Warner as he dove to his left and plucked a ball from Hazlewood out of the air to leave England at 45/6.

Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler saw England through to lunch with the hope of adding a large partnership to build from their position of strife of 54/6.

However, the first ball after lunch saw the back of Woakes as Cummins had him caught down the leg-side by Paine for five.

The rest of batsmen fell in consecutive overs, starting with Buttler as he chipped a catch to Usman Khawaja at short cover off Hazlewood for five.

Jofra Archer was the next to go as he edged a short ball through to Paine off Cummins for seven before England’s innings were ended when Jack Leach was bowled by Hazlewood for one to end an awful batting display.

Australia had a perfect opportunity to bat England out of the game, but they didn’t get off to a great start as Broad trapped Warner leg-before for a three-ball duck.

Marcus Harris and Khawaja came together and put on a handy 26-run partnership before the former was dismissed for 19, bowled through the gate by a superb delivery by Leach.

England continued to roll on and picked up another wicket two overs later when Khawaja departed for 23 when he flashed a ball from Woakes to Roy at slip.

Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head stopped the flow of wickets as they put on a decent partnership of 45 runs to extend Australia’s lead further.

England eventually got the breakthrough when Head was bowled by Stokes for 25 to put the hosts back on track in their goal to restrict the Aussies to a decent total.

However, Labuschagne had other ideas as he continued his fine form, combining with Matthew Wade to frustrate England with a 66-run partnership.

The hosts looked to be out of the game but as ever Stokes was the man who got them back into it as he had Wade caught by Bairstow for 33.

This opened the door for England as they picked up one more wicket before the close, Broad having Paine caught by Denly for a duck.

Labuschagne and Pattinson survived until the close of play to setup an exciting day of Test cricket on day three.

Root, Denly and Bowlers Lead England Recovery: England v Australia Day Three at Headingley
Australia: 179 (Labuschagne 74, Warner 61, Archer 6-45, Broad 2-32) & 246 (Labuschagne 80, Wade 33, Stokes 3-56, Archer 2-40)
England: 67 (Denly 12, Roy 9, Hazlewood 5-30, Cummins 3-23) & 156/3 (Root 75no, Denly 50, Hazlewood 2-35, Cummins 1-33)

Joe Root and Joe Denly rescued England from a desperate situation after the bowlers had polished off the Australian tail.

Australia resumed on 171/6 and Marnus Labuschagne and James Pattinson continued their day two dominance as they added 44 to their overnight stand.

England got the vital breakthrough they needed when Pattinson departed for 20 as he edged a ball from Jofra Archer to Root at slip.

It wasn’t long before England had another as Ben Stokes, in his 23rd over of his spell, had Pat Cummins caught at gully by Rory Burns for six.

England continued to run through the rest of the Australian batting order, but they were helped by some poor running between the wickets as Marnus Labuschagne threw away the chance at a debut century when he was run out by Denly for 80.

Archer finished off the Australian innings when Nathan Lyon departed for nine when he chopped a ball from the Sussex paceman on to his stumps.

England were set what seemed to be a mammoth target of 359 to win, five times their first innings score.

However, they had two and a half days to do it which meant that they had to dig in and show grit and determination in order to stop Australia from retaining the Ashes.

This message didn’t seem to translate with Burns and Jason Roy as it took just five overs for Australia to make a breakthrough.

Burns edging to David Warner at slip off Josh Hazlewood for seven before Roy fell just three balls later for eight, bowled by a cracking delivery from Pat Cummins.

Root and Denly came together, both batsmen in need of runs and that is exactly what they provided as they added 126 for the third wicket.

Both batsmen brought up half-centuries and looked to be comfortable until Australia broke through against the run of play when Denly gloved a short ball from Hazlewood through to Tim Paine.

Stokes joined Root at the crease and the pair saw out the day for England with the former finishing on two off 50 balls – a proper Test match innings.

The Greatest Test Innings of All Time: England v Australia Day Four at Headingley
Australia: 179 (Labuschagne 74, Warner 61, Archer 6-45, Broad 2-32) & 246 (Labuschagne 80, Wade 33, Stokes 3-56, Archer 2-40)
England: 67 (Denly 12, Roy 9, Hazlewood 5-30, Cummins 3-23) & 362/9 (Stokes 135no, Root 77, Hazlewood 4-85, Lyon 2-114)
England win by 1 wicket

Full scorecard: https://www.ecb.co.uk/matches/8975#overview

Ben Stokes and Jack Leach produced one of the greatest Test partnerships of all time as England snatched victory from the jaws of defeat at Headingley.

England had reached 245/4 and were looked on course for a incredible victory but a collapse of 41/5 saw the Ashes slipping away.

However, Stokes managed to pull off one of the greatest escapes of all time, as he switch-hitted and scooped his way to a hundred as Leach cleaned his glasses and resolutely defended at the other end.

The pair put on 76 for the last wicket as they took England to a superb victory to tie up the series and blow the Ashes wide open.

The hosts resumed on 156/3, which was a decent platform for the day ahead with Joe Root resuming on 75 and looking set.

However, it took just five overs to see the England captain dismissed, caught by a screamer of a catch by David Warner as he looked to whip a ball from Nathan Lyon away when he came charging down the track only for it to flick off his bat on to his pad to be caught by a diving, unsighted Warner to see the back of him for 77.

Jonny Bairstow joined Stokes and the pair brought back some optimism for the England fans as they put on an 86-run partnership as Australia began to worry.

However, it wouldn’t be an England batting innings without a collapse and this one looked to be fatal, it started with Bairstow departing for 36, slashing a delivery from Josh Hazlewood to Marnus Labuschagne at second slip.

Jos Buttler was the next to go as his terrible form in Test cricket continued, albeit this time round it wasn’t his fault as a complete mix-up with Stokes saw him run out for one by a terrific throw by Travis Head.

Chris Woakes then came and went for one as an awful piece of batting saw him skew a catch straight to Matthew Wade who had previously been moved one ball before for the exact shot the Warwickshire all-rounder played.

Stokes was then joined by another World Cup hero in Jofra Archer and the Sussex pace bowler briefly stopped the flow of wickets with a few lusty blows off Lyon.

However, he eventually played one shot too many as he was caught by another stunning bit of fielding by Head and was out for 15.

There was some remorse for Stokes who had battled hard the previous day to setup his innings and had fought well to make his half-century, but he continued to watch the carnage unfold as Stuart Broad was trapped leg-before by Pattinson for a duck with the Ashes looking to be booked on a flight to Australia.

This is where the game took yet another turn as Leach strode out to the middle, Stokes had only one thing on his mind, attack.

He launched an onslaught on the Australian attack as he brought up a spectacular hundred, his first fifty runs coming in 152 balls, his next 74 runs then came in just 42 balls, a truly special effort from a special player.

This didn’t come without some luck for both players. Stokes was dropped twice in his innings as well as surviving a massive lbw shout and Leach survived an almost certain run-out chance.

The now dubbed “Taunton Wall” had done his job at the other end by fending off a couple of balls an over from the Aussie bowlers as Stokes attacked.

It was down to two to win as Stokes swept a ball from Lyon to Cummins in the ring but decided on no run.

However, Leach was half way down the pitch and as the throw came in from Cummins the crowd at Headingley suddenly went from jubilant to aghast.

But the cricket gods were looking down on England as Lyon fumbled the ball and missed the chance to run out the Somerset off-spinner to keep England in the game.

After Leach survived it was Stokes’ turn and he looked to be trapped leg-before by Lyon, but umpire Joel Wilson turned it down.

The DRS replay showed the ball would have been crashing into the stumps. However, Australia could not review the decision as they had used them both up an over before on a ball that pitched outside leg stump.

Cummins was to be the bowler that had two to defend, yet he had Leach to target but the latter was able to fend him into the leg side for a single to tie the game.

It was down to Stokes and he finished the incredible chase with aplomb as he leathered a ball from Cummins past the fielders for four to complete one of the greatest innings of all time.

Stokes had shown time and time again why he is so important to this England side but this innings particularly highlighted why he is so special.

He is a true athlete, whether he is charging in for his captain with the ball or cover driving and ramping his way to a superb ton to keep the Ashes alive, he will go down as one of England’s greatest players.

Credit most also go to Leach (and to Nathan Lyon for dropping the ball) who played the best 1 not out you will ever see.

England must now carry this momentum into Old Trafford to keep “cricket-fever” in the country until The Hundred arrives.

For more cricket content click here:

http://www.overtimeonline.co.uk/category/cricket/
For our summary of England’s 2nd Test versus Australia click here:

Cricket Weekly Column #10 First Ashes Test and T20 Blast


Stay tuned for more Cricket Weekly next week!
Sub-edited by Tony Robertson.

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