Mitchell Starc, Scott Boland both grab two wickets each and keep England 31-4 at the stumps on Day 2.
Brief Scores: England 31 for 4 ( Root 12, Boland 1/2) & 185 (Root 50, Cummins 36/3, Lyon 36/3) trail Australia 267 (Harris 76, Anderson 33/4) by 51 runs at Stumps on Day 2
Unbeaten Australian batters from yesterday, Marcus Harris and Nathan Lyon, started batting on the score of 61-1. Nightwatchman Lyon hammered two back-to-back boundaries off Ollie Robinson.
England pacers give early blows
However, Robinson picked the wicket of Lyon in the next over. Lyon played a drive to a full delivery which took the edge of the bat and went straight in the hands of wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. He could make 10 runs off 22 deliveries. Marnus Labuschagne, who is in the form of his life came to bat at two down, however, he couldn't find his feet in this innings and got out on 1.
Pacer Mark Wood hurried the batter with raw pace and caught him on the backfoot producing an edge which went into the hands of skipper Joe Root at slip. As Australia lost two wickets in the early morning, there was fear of a collapse in the hosts’ camp.
Steven Smith dismissed cheaply
Wood put pressure on the batters by clocking around 150 kph in his first spell of the day. Opener Harris who was batting cautiously till now, survived a huge LBW shout by Ben Stokes, which was initially given out by the umpire. However, the batter reviewed it and a big spike on the snickometer when the ball was passing the bat forced the umpire to change the decision. Also, his partner Steven Smith was dropped by wicketkeeper Buttler but it was a difficult chance in all fairness. After a brief time, Smith played away from the body off the bowling of James Anderson and the ball took the inside-edge of the bat and went on to dismantle the stumps. Smith made 16 runs off 31 balls. Harris and Travis Head played till Lunch break by avoiding further damage.
Marcus Harris completes first Ashes fifty
After the break, Harris completed his fifty off 130 balls. Head cracked two boundaries in his short innings before getting out by edging a good length ball bowled by Robinson. Head could make only 27 runs off 48 deliveries. Right-arm pacer Anderson bowled an angling inward delivery too close to left-hand batter Harris and moved slightly away from him to take the edge of his bat, which was caught by Root at first slip. Harris didn’t have an answer to this breathtaking delivery of Anderson. He scored 76 runs off 189 balls in this innings. Next batters Alex Carey and Cameron Green took their side over the England score of 185 before umpires announced Tea break.
Australia got all-out on 267, James Anderson bags four
After the break, spinner Jack Leach trapped Green LBW, which was reviewed by the batter. But DRS resulted in an umpire’s call, so Green had to return to the dugout on the score of 17. Carey tried a drive away from the body resulting in an edge being caught by Buttler behind the wicket. Australia went past a lead of 50 runs due to a few boundaries smashed by Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. Robinson had a chance to catch Starc off his own bowling but he dropped the difficult chance. However, Starc and Scott Boland were dismissed by England bowlers to bundle out the host’s innings on a total of 267.
Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland leave England in tatters
England conceded a lead of 82 runs and started their second innings. However, in the fifth over of the innings, Starc produced an extraordinary spell to take back-to-back wickets of Zak Crawley and Dawid Malan. Left-arm bowler Starc bowled an angling away-going delivery to right-hander Crawley which came slightly towards the batter and took the edge of the bat. Starc didn’t give any time for new batter Dawid Malan and trapped him plumb in front of the stumps which the batter reviewed but the replay showed the ball didn’t touch the bat and was going on to hit the stumps. So, Malan got a golden duck in the second innings of the Melbourne Test match.
Two down batter Joe Root looked to play positively and smashed a few boundaries early in the innings. Second opener Haseeb Hameed edged a good length delivery bowled by debutant Boland and Carey took the catch behind the wicket. In the same over, Boland bagged nightwatchman Jack Leach on a duck to leave visitors in tatters. Root and Ben Stokes played last over of the day without further damage.
What Lies Ahead?
England have already lost the whole top order and are still trailing the hosts by 51 runs. So, there is very little chance that visitors can avoid defeat in this Test match. Australia would hope to bundle out England on a low score tomorrow and chase a paltry target to win the prestigious Ashes series by 3-0.
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