Travis Head hit his fourth Test century as Australia recovered from the early losses to ensure they reached a strong position against England in the Hobart Ashes Test.
Australia was in a dire position on day 1 of the Ashes Test against England in Hobart. They had lost David Warner and Steve Smith for 0 for the first time in 244 innings of Test cricket for Australia. Marnus Labuschagne, the batsman with the most exaggerated shuffle, slipped and was bowled behind his legs by Stuart Broad. But, Travis Head, just like he did in Brisbane, stepped up and countered in grand style. Aided by Cameron Green’s steady knock, Australia reached 231/5 in the Hobart Pink Ball Ashes Test. Day 1 was marred by rain both at the start and end.
The toss itself threw up some surprises, notably from England. They left out James Anderson and brought in Chris Woakes. The omission of Anderson probably means that the Sydney Test was the last time Anderson played Down Under. Ollie Robinson came back to replace Jack Leach. Sam Billings and Ollie Pope replaced Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler, both laid low with injuries. Rory Burns also replaced Haseeb Hameed For Australia, Usman Khawaja remained in the side. Travis Head replaced Marcus Harris.
With cloudy skies and a green pitch reminiscent of Leeds rather than Hobart, Australia started on a poor note. When play resumed, David Warner fell for a 22-ball duck. Marnus Labuschagne was dropped on 0 but England chipped away. Broad sent back Usman Khawaja for 6 but England got the big wicket of Steve Smith for 0. It was only the second time in his 12-year Ashes career that he was dismissed for 0.
Labuschagne counter-attacked in grand style and scored at a strike rate of 100. He regularly found the boundaries of Mark Wood and raced closer to a fifty. Travis Head was also scoring at a breakneck speed as he took the attack to the England bowlers. But, just before the Dinner Break, Labuschagne was involved in a bizarre dismissal. He shuffled to the offside as Broad bowled a full ball. But, he slipped and the ball crashed into the middle stump. On-air commentators and social media individuals stated that it was the most bizarre dismissal they had ever seen.
After the Dinner Break, Travis Head notched up his fifty with two fours off Chris Woakes. After getting beaten, Green settled into his rhythm and targeted the England bowling. Both stitched a solid stand, with Head nearing a ton and Green a fifty. Head notched up his century with a couple off Woakes but he immediately fell the next ball. Green reached his fifty after the Tea Break and he opened up with two boundaries off Mark Wood. The all-rounder continued to pummel the England bowling but in the quest for aggression, he gifted his wicket to Mark Wood for 74.
However, the rain delay in the final session was prolonged and play will resume early on day 2. This is the first time that Hobart is hosting the Ashes Test, after Perth lost out on the opportunity due to strict quarantine rules.