Jofra Archer claimed a maiden Test five-for as a late flurry of wickets saw England bowl Australia out for 179 after an otherwise frustrating, rain-filled first day of the third Ashes Test at Headingley.
Faced with ideal, overcast bowling conditions, England bowled brilliantly early on and were unfortunate not to take more than two wickets in among several stoppages to rain and bad light in the first two sessions.
Numerous unplayable deliveries flew past the outside edge of Australian batsmen, but weren’t taking it, and David Warner (61) and Marnus Labuschagne (74) would cash in on an increasingly ragged England effort in the field as their frustration built, sharing in a century stand for the third wicket.
But a second burst from Archer in the evening brought a flurry of wickets – eight falling for 43 runs – as he first claimed key man Warner to break the partnership and then mopped up the tail to finish with 6-45 from 17.1 overs, in only his second Test cap.
After a delayed start to proceedings due to the inclement Leeds weather, Joe Root opted to insert Australia upon winning the toss and Archer found Marcus Harris’ outside edge – out for eight on his Ashes debut – with the final delivery of the fourth over, just as the rain returned and called the players back off.
Upon the restart, Stuart Broad (2-32) was finally rewarded for another superb, probing spell with the new ball in this series as Usman Khawaja (8), ironically, clipped one of his poorest deliveries down the legside behind to Jonny Bairstow – initially not given, but overturned on review.
That reduced Australia to 25-2, but the stop-start nature of the day seemed to affect the rhythm of England’s bowlers and, after a further rain break and a spell of bad light that brought about an early tea, Australia capitalised.
Warner and Labuschagne put on 111 together, and in quick time too, taking both Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes’ opening spells of seven and five overs for more than a run-a-ball.
Warner registered his first double-figure score of the series, battling through to a 30th Test fifty, though not before he had played and missed at as many as 12 of his opening 26 deliveries faced – Broad beating his bat with five-straight at one stage.
Broad was again the unfortunate party when Warner was given out caught behind in the final session, only for the decision to be overturned with no nick detected on replay. But, Archer finally did find the edge a mere five balls later.
Warner’s wicket was the first of three to fall for three runs, inside three overs, as Travis Head and Matthew Wade both departed for ducks, albeit in greatly contrasting fashion.
Wade was unfortunate to see the ball deflect off his pad and dribble on his stumps, while Head was bowled by an absolute beauty from Broad that pitched in line, moved away and kissed the top of off-stump.
Woakes (1-51) returned to remove the Australian skipper Tim Paine (11), trapped in front after a wisely-used review, before Archer ran through the tail.
The tearaway England quick had actually been somewhat underwhelming and certainly not at his quickest in his opening spell but was back consistently operating above 90mph late in the day, proving too hot to handle for James Pattinson (2) and Pat Cummins (0) as he claimed a maiden Test five-for.
With England trailing 1-0 in the five-match series, Root had identified this Test as “must-win” due to the absence of Steve Smith – averaging 126 in the series but missing here due to a delayed concussion from an Archer blow to the head in the second Test at Lord’s.
But, once again Labuschagne was hugely impressive in debutising for Smith, registering a second-successive fifty following his first as a concussion substitute just a few days ago.
In stark contrast to his sublime knock, his innings would end in rather ungainly fashion as he fell lbw to a full toss from Stokes (1-45) that floored him in the fading light and then, in the final over of the day, Archer too pinned Nathan Lyon (1) in front to take his sixth and skittle Australia.
Watch day two of the third Ashes Test between England and Australia, at Headingley, live on Sky Sports The Ashes (channel 404) from 10am on Friday.
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