3rd Ashes Test, Day 2: Australia in control as ruthless bowling dismantle England batters

Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland took two wickets each as England close Day 2 at 31-4 in the second innings, still trailing by 51 runs.

Scott Boland celebrates with his teammates; Credit: Twitter/@CricketAus

The second day of the third Ashes Test in Melbourne saw a fighting effort from England bowlers to limit the damage and dismiss Australia for 267. After a poor batting display from England on the first day that saw their first innings fold for just 185, James Anderson led the English bowling attack with four wickets while Ollie Robinson picked up two to restrict Australia’s lead to just 72 runs. However, the Aussie bowlers came out with a ruthless spell of fast bowling to take four wickets with England’s score at just 31 in the second innings at the end of Day 2.

On a green-tinged pitch that offered enough assistance to the pace bowlers, the Aussie pacers exploited the conditions better than the English bowlers. England’s batting has come under scrutiny in every innings of the series so far. The first innings saw many of the England batters throw away their wickets but the late collapse on Monday was different.

Aussie pacers bowled exceptionally well to earn their wickets. Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins were on the mark from the first ball. They were swinging the ball, generating good bounce, seaming all over the arena and the openers Haseeb Hameed and Zack Crawley struggled.

Cummins was unlucky to go wicketless but he along with Starc built the pressure to get the wicket of Crawley. The opener played 15 deliveries before being caught by wicketkeeper Alex Carey for five off Starc.

David Malan came next and was incredibly out first ball to Starc lbw after an unsuccessful review. Hameed managed to survive the initial burst as he somehow dodged and ducked 31 balls before Scott Boland had him caught behind by Carey for 7. Boland then bowled night-watchman Jack Leach for a duck.

At the end of day’s play, Joe Root (12) and Ben Stokes (2) were on the pitch. Going into the third day, they have a huge task in hand if they have to keep the Ashes 2021-22 alive. Australia are ahead in the series by 2-0.

Anderson’s masterclass

Anderson was the pick of the England bowlers as the veteran pacer produced another masterclass of swing and seam at Melbourne Cricket Ground. The 39-year-old had earlier dismissed David Warner at the end of first day and then he got the prized wicket of Steve Smith on Day 2.

However, his most important wicket this time was of Marcus Harris who was Australia’s top scorer with 76. He bowled a phenomenal pre-lunch spell of six overs, five maidens with one wicket for just a single run. Anderson was held back after lunch to give him some rest and the veteran returned to take the wicket of Cummins.

Robinson, Mark Wood and Jack Leach gave ample support to Anderson. Robinson took the first wicket of the day as he dismissed Nathan Lyon before Wood had world’s No. ranked batsman Marnus Labuschangne caught by Root at first slip for just one.

Travis Head was Robinson’s second wicket before Leach and Stokes took one wicket each to end Australia’s first innings.

Sportslumo Desk

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