Marnus shows cojones, but Aussies left reeling

Jofra Archer's maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket overshadowed fighting knocks from David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne as the rest of Australia's batting line-up showed little resistance on day one of the third Ashes Test.

Captain Tim Paine's team lost 8/43 to be dismissed for just 179 at Headingley as Archer's 6/45, once again, stole the show.

The late flurry of wickets justified England captain Joe Root's decision to bowl first under grey skies, and batting conditions are forecast to be friendlier when his team struts to the crease tomorrow.

 

 

 

FORGET SUPER SUB … MARNUS IS JUST SUPER

Who goes out for Steve Smith in Manchester? Because it won't be Marnus Labuschagne.

The "super sub" posted back-to-back half-centuries - Smith like - and, unlike every other Australian batsman, looked comfortable from just about ball one. Labuschagne played some beautiful strokes and looks one heck of a talent.

 

Marnus Labuschagne top scored for Australia with a knock full of control and quality.
Marnus Labuschagne top scored for Australia with a knock full of control and quality.

 

But there was one nervous moment … when Stuart Broad's quick one cannoned into the region no male likes to be hit.

Labuschagne dropped to the ground and rolled around in agony for a few minutes. Dr Richard Saw even sprinted out to check on him, but Peter Siddle found it hilarious on the balcony. With Smith to return, you suspect one of the other batsmen would now be nervous about their selection, albeit with an innings to go at Leeds.

Any of Usman Khawaja, Matthew Wade or even Travis Head could be vulnerable.

 

SELECTION SHOCK

Australia ran out of patience with Cameron Bancroft, punting him for Victorian Marcus Harris. Marnus Labuschagne came in for Steve Smith (concussion) while James Pattinson replaced Peter Siddle.

 

Marcus Harris was a surprise inclusion to open for Australia at Headingley.
Marcus Harris was a surprise inclusion to open for Australia at Headingley.

 

Coach Justin Langer was in the nets with Bancroft late on Wednesday, urging him to adopt a T20 mentality and free the arms. It was a late call to drop 'Bangers', given JL said on Tuesday that the top six was set and then captain Tim Paine said on Wednesday only a bowling change was likely. Harris's inclusion gave the Aussies five left-handers in the top six, with Marnus Labuschagne the odd man out.

 

ALASTAIR COOKS MARCUS

Sir Alastair Cook opened the batting for England in 159 Test matches. So when he is dumbfounded by Marcus Harris's lack of game awareness you stand up and take notice.

 

 

A Jofra Archer ball cannoned into Harris's midriff as rain tumbled early in the morning. Harris simply got on with it, and got out next ball, when he nicked another Archer beauty straight to Jonny Bairstow.

Then, players and umpires followed Harris off as rain halted play. Cook couldn't understand why Harris didn't fall to the ground and call for the physio when he was hit. If Harris had done that he'd have survived the rain delay instead of falling for eight runs.

 

CROWD FURY AT ANTIQUATED RULES

Play was twice delayed before a ball was bowled and then fans endured two more rain delays and a bad light walk off - all before 4pm.

It was infuriating for the days one crowd nudging 20,000, particularly as very few were cradling erect umbrellas. The rain was barely more than a drizzle while the bad light was laughable.

 

 

In fact, after the second rain delay England captain Joe Root and his players refused to walk off for a few minutes, stunned at the umpires' decision.

The loss of overs under grey skies dampened his wicket-taking threats, frustrating a skipper that had won the toss and elected to bowl. Thankfully, they got back on the field at 4.30pm after taking tea. And for the record, Aussie skipper Tim Paine would've batted first anyway. It was a good toss to lose.

 

BROAD MAGIC

Stuart Broad's first two overs to David Warner were spine-tinglingly good.

Warner played and missed four consecutive times to finish the second over and soon after survived a close lbw shout, scoring just one run from his first 19 balls.

How Broad went unrewarded was unfathomable.

 

 

In fact, England had five slips and a gully set up for Warner, such was its confidence an edge was coming. Broad's early breakthrough came from arguably his worst ball, when Usman Khawaja feathered one down leg-side to the keeper. It was the eighth consecutive time Khawaja has been caught behind, all by Jonny Bairstow, against England. But it was a withering spell from Broad, well complemented by Jofra Archer at the other end.

 

 

ARCHER LOSES FIZZ

Jofra Archer bowled nine straight overs - albeit interrupted by rain delays - from one end to start Australia's innings.

They weren't as threatening as Lord's with the sped demon's pace well down.

 

Jofra Archer finished with six wickets to his name but his radar was off in his opening spell.
Jofra Archer finished with six wickets to his name but his radar was off in his opening spell.

 

Yes, Archer was pitching the ball up more, but Michael Holding and Ricky Ponting suspected he was drained.

"The pace he bowled for so many overs (at Lord's) could have a lasting effect this Test match," Holding said.

Ponting was surprised that Archer's usual "exceptionally quick" yorker was absent. "Surprise the batsman with a bit of extra pace, even one or two balls per over," he said. That only made Archer's heroics even more impressive.

The fear factor diminished but the effectiveness was cranked right up.

 

AUSTRALIA'S HOUR OF POWER

Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes … what happened? A messy hour after tea saw England concede 0/79 in 13 sloppy overs.

 

Warner and Labuschagne piled on the runs in a brief period of dominance for Australia in the middle session.
Warner and Labuschagne piled on the runs in a brief period of dominance for Australia in the middle session.

 

Boundaries became effortless as England leaked runs with David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne seizing control. The offenders were Woakes and Stokes.

By stumps that pair had contributed 2/96 (21 overs), compared to Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer's 8/77 (31.1 overs).

 

… AND ENGLAND'S 17 BALLS OF HEAVEN LEADS TO ….

Then Archer and Broad went whack, whack, whack as Australia lost 3/3 in an unexpected stumble. Warner finally departed for 61 and then Matthew Wade and Travis Head departed for ducks. It was a blistering three overs that swung the match, and it didn't end there.

 

… KILLER COLLAPSE THAT STUNS AUSTRALIA

Australia lost 8/43 to be bowled out for just 179. In fact, after Warner (61), Labuschagne (74) it was the extras who top-scored (13) with the rest of Australia's batting card resembling a phone number. Archer-mania went berserk, even if he wasn't hitting the high speeds of Lord's.

 

 

UMPIRES MAKE THREE MORE GAFFES

Three reviews, three umpire decisions overturned - all from Chris Gaffney. Oh, boy.

 

 

Early in the day Usman Khawaja was given not-out when he feathered a Stuart Broad delivery down legside to Jonny Bairstow. England captain Joe Root was certain he heard a noise, which was confirmed as Khawaja departed for just eight runs.

Then, Stuart Broad thought he had David Warner caught behind, and so did the same umpire, Chris Gaffney, again. They were wrong, as Warner reviewed and survived on 61 runs.

Finally, an lbw shout on Tim Paine was reviewed and Chris Woakes had his first wicket for the day.

 

NO ALARM FOR ARCHER

Jofra Archer plays by his own rules and won't let his introduction to Test cricket halt that. The Barbados-born bling-wearer wandered into Headingley at 9.50am for the first day of the third Test.

Yes, just 40 minutes before the scheduled toss time, and with every other player's preparations well under way. Then while fielding at mid-on, Archer tied his sweater around his waist. It's not hard to see why he's a fan favourite.

 

FIVE IS THE NEW FOUR

David Warner's third-session run-spree was helped by some generous England fielding. Warner added two scores of 'five', both courtesy of four overthrows.

 

Warner was the beneficiary of some errant England fielding.
Warner was the beneficiary of some errant England fielding.

 

When you enter the third Test having failed to get out of single digits, you'll certainly take those.

Mind you, they weren't quite as costly as the four overthrows that came courtesy of a deflection from Ben Stokes' bat in the death overs of last month's World Cup final. Warner became the first Aussie since 1980 to add a pair of fives to his score.

 

"CUT IT OUT FOLKS, IT'S PATHETIC"

England commentators didn't hold back at their own fans when Warner was finally removed. After playing a stoic innings - Warner survived 11 plays and misses to reach 61 - the opener finally edged a Jofra Archer delivery behind.

The boos then rang around Headingley, much to the disgust of several radio commentators. "Cut it out folks, it's pathetic. Cut it out. If you can't applaud him, keep quiet. That's ridiculous. Come on Yorkshire, you're better than this," they called.

 

 

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