Man of the moment Jofra Archer claimed a brilliant six-wicket haul at Headingley as England bundled Australia out for 179 on a rain-affected first day of the third Ashes Test.
Archer whipped up a frenzy of excitement with a thrilling debut performance in last week’s draw at Lord’s but was even more effective under murky skies in Leeds, claiming six for 45 as the tourists lost their last eight wickets for 43 in a remarkable evening session.
Only 52.1 overs were possible as the weather wrecked the first half of the day but, with David Warner’s dicey 61 and Marnus Labuschagne’s battling 74 the only knocks of any note, that was enough for Archer.
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Is speed the be-all and end-all? For while Archer got nowhere near the 96.1mph he reached at Lord’s last week – and external factors such as the conditions may have contributed to this – he compensated by bowling impeccable lines and lengths. A more nuanced approach earned him his first international five-wicket haul and proved he is not a one-trick pony.
Warner led a charmed life early on, playing and missing at 11 of his first 25 deliveries, while his duel against England seamer Stuart Broad made for compelling viewing. That Warner reached double figures for the first time in five attempts this series – on three occasions he has been dismissed by Broad – seemed more by accident than design as England got the ball to move lavishly. He cashed in on some fortune with important runs in the final session.
Harris endures baptism of fire
Ashes debuts do not get much trickier than Broad and Archer steaming in with the new ball under leaden skies. That was the situation confronting Marcus Harris after he replaced Cameron Bancroft at the top of Australia’s order. Harris had to play at the Archer delivery which got him out but, to compound matters, the players were hauled off for rain immediately after his dismissal.
‘Marnus is strange, he seems to enjoy getting hit’
Australia captain Tim Paine was referencing Marnus Labuschagne being struck on the helmet at Lord’s but he received a blow of a different kind to the general sympathy of everyone at the ground. After being caught flush in the box, he was doubled over for a period before resuming a steadfast innings, his resolute 74 ending in bizarre circumstances when he was pinned in front by a Ben Stokes full toss.
Travis Head may reflect that circumspection may have been a more appropriate approach to a Broad delivery that pitched on middle and clipped the top of off-stump. However, the end result probably would have been the same had the Australian attempted to defend rather than drive, with the jaffa a worthy inclusion in Broad’s highlight reel.
England get a (slight) taste of their own medicine
Minds were cast back to the World Cup final a little over a month ago when a throw from Joe Denly deflected off Warner’s outstretched bat before the ball raced away to the boundary. Warner, like Stokes did against New Zealand at Lord’s, raised his arm to apologise to his opponents, almost certainly oblivious to Denly’s throw coming in.
The combined figures of Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes in the first 11 overs of the final session, unflattering in the extreme when viewed in the context of Australia’s final total. The pair’s profligacy forced Joe Root to turn back to Archer and Broad though Woakes and Stokes each claimed a wicket when they were brought back into the attack.
August 23: England v Australia, day two of the third Ashes Test