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Rediff.com  » Cricket » PIX: Headingley Test evenly poised as bowlers dominate on Day 2

PIX: Headingley Test evenly poised as bowlers dominate on Day 2

Last updated on: July 08, 2023 00:17 IST
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Images from Day 2 of the third Ashes Test between England and Australia at Headingley in Leeds on Friday.

England's Moeen Ali celebrates with Ben Duckett after taking the wicket of Australia's Steve Smith.

IMAGE: England's Moeen Ali celebrates with Ben Duckett after taking the wicket of Australia's Steve Smith. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters

Key wickets late in the day helped put England in with a chance of staying in contention in the Ashes series in their must-win second Test, Australia finishing a thrilling day two on 116-4 with a second-innings lead of 142.

More heroics from captain Ben Stokes single-handedly got England within 26 runs of Australia's first innings total after a big-hitting 80, the hosts skittled out for 237.

Despite losing the early wicket of David Warner for on, Australia looked to be in control and coasting towards generating a commanding lead.

 

But the cheap wickets of experienced duo Marnus Labuschagne (33) and Steve Smith (2) dragged England back into the match, before first innings centurion Mitchell Marsh steered Australia through to the close of another gripping day of Ashes action.

 Australia's Marnus Labuschagne looks dejected as he walks after losing his wicket, caught by Harry Brook off the bowling of Moeen Ali

IMAGE: Australia's Marnus Labuschagne looks dejected as he walks after losing his wicket, caught by Harry Brook off the bowling of Moeen Ali. Photograph: Lee Smith/Action Images via Reuters

The sunny conditions were perfect for Australia to settle in and bat for a long period to stretch their lead, but after Warner's wicket went Labuschagne's Ashes struggles continued as he again failed to reach a half century, falling to a poor shot.

Playing in his 100th Test, Smith would have been eyeing up another hundred but ended up clashing with England wicket keeper Jonny Bairstow, who was controversially stumped in the last Test, as he left the field.

Both Australia batsmen fell to Moeen Ali, wickets that took the spinner to 200 in Test cricket.

England sensed a flurry of wickets to come as Chris Woakes found Usman Khawaja's edge for 43 but Marsh (17 not out), who hit a century is his first Test appearance for Australia since the 2019 Ashes in the first innings, again looked in fine touch.

Travis Head (18 not out) was alongside him at the close but dismissing Marsh on Saturday will be key to England building on their evening's work at Headingley.

England's Ben Stokes hits a six off the bowling of Australia's Todd Murphy

IMAGE: England's Ben Stokes hits a six off the bowling of Australia's Todd Murphy. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images via Reuters

Captain Ben Stokes continued to perform heroics as he single-handedly guided England to a more respectable 237 all out in their first innings on day two of the third Ashes Test on Friday, before Australia moved on to 29-1 in reply at tea.

With England struggling on 142-7 at lunch, Mark Wood came in after the restart and got a quick-fire 24 off eight balls to take the hosts a little closer to Australia's total, with Stokes looking on in disbelief down the other end.

The fast bowler was then caught after one slog too many to give Australia skipper Pat Cummins his first five-wicket haul in England, before Stokes took on the big-hitting mantle, passing 50 with a huge hit.

Australia's Pat Cummins celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's Stuart Broad to complete a five-wicket haul 

IMAGE: Australia's Pat Cummins celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of England's Stuart Broad to complete a five-wicket haul. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images via Reuters

While England's scoring rate in the morning session was uncharacteristically slow, Stokes ensured the runs continued to flow, despite struggling with the knee injury that plagued his pre-Ashes build-up.

Back-to-back sixes took Stokes past 6,000 Test runs before he finally fell for 80 to bring an end to England's first innings, trailing Australia by only 26 runs, thanks to their captain.

Australia's David Warner looks on as England's Stuart Broad celebrates after taking his wicket 

IMAGE: England's Stuart Broad celebrates after taking the wicket of Australia's David Warner caught by Zak Crawley. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Action Images via Reuters

Back in to bat, Stuart Broad again took opener David Warner's wicket in identical fashion to his dismissal in the first innings, the Australian falling to the veteran England bowler for the 17th time in his Test career for one.

Usman Khawaja and Marcus Labuschagne steadied the ship, seeing Australia through to tea without being overly troubled.

Trailing in a match England have to win to prevent Australia retaining the Ashes with two matches to spare, the hosts need some wickets in the evening session to give themselves a chance of resurrecting the series.

IMAGE: Australia captain Pat Cummins celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Joe Root, on Day 2 of the third Ashes Test, at Headingley, on Friday. Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

England's hopes once again lay with Ben Stokes as the captain remained at the crease following the morning session on day two of the third Ashes Test on Friday, with the hosts struggling on 142/7 at lunch, trailing Australia by 121 runs.

On his home ground, Joe Root edged through to the slips off the second ball of the day without adding to his overnight score of 19, before another Yorkshireman, Jonny Bairstow (12), was out moments later, gifting Australia another catch.

IMAGE: England captain Ben Stokes reacts after getting hit by a short ball from Mitchell Starc. Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

Stokes, whose incredible century at Lord's in the second Test was in vain as England fell 2-0 behind in the series, appeared to be visibly uncomfortable with his troublesome knee injury, but soldiered on to stem the flow of wickets.

IMAGE: Australia's players celebrate after Mitchell Starc claimed the wicket of Jonny Bairstow. Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

Alongside the recalled Moeen Ali, the pair put together a partnership of 44 at a steady scoring rate, before the returning spinner wildly hooked the ball straight to Steve Smith to give Australia captain Pat Cummins his fourth wicket of the innings.

Chris Woakes (10) tried to up the ante with some big shots, but got a top edge through to wicket keeper Alex Carey on the last ball before lunch to leave the hosts seven down and staring down the barrel of another defeat.

IMAGE: Chris Woakes is hit on the helmet by a bouncer from Mitchell Starc. Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

Trailing by such a margin, in a match England have to win to prevent Australia retaining the Ashes with two matches to spare, another captain's innings in the afternoon session is needed to keep alive home hopes.

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