The Ashes 2019 – Third Test Day 1: Archer blitzes through, unlikely heroes hold firm

I sit on the sunny grassy banks of the Yarra River, casting my eye out along the Melbourne skyline and the glorious sunshine. Spring is soon coming, and the weather is taking a turn for the better.

 

This is in stark opposition to the English conditions in Leeds just hours ago, where my mind is cast back to the first day’s play of the third Ashes test overnight.

 

There were hints of that fatal day in Trent Bridge just four years ago where Stuart Broad ravaged through an Aussie line up that was found to be all bark and no bite. The weather was clouded over intensely. Of course, the coin fell the home team’s way and they were happy to walk out with vests on in a pack of eleven.

 

Harris and Warner were the first up to try and negate Broad and the new kid on the block in Archer. He’s the talk of the town, bashing kids around in practice with a Steve Smith style set up and then sending down thunderbolts that are scaring Aussie batsman who faced Mitchell Johnson. Langer refused to play into the pace game, meaning Starc was left out once more.

 

Warner played an innings more accustomed to Rory Burns, nicking and nudging while missing over ten Broad bullets. Unfortunately, Harris witnessed all of this and was then unlucky to edge a brutal Archer delivery. His misery was then compounded when the other players jogged off behind him to get out of the drenching rain.

 

Khawaja came out with Warner and struggled just as much. He was often beaten by Broad, who was managing to bend the Duke around corners in a fashion similar to that dark day in 2015. On his most innoucuous of balls, Broad strangled Khawaja down the leg side. Australia, at 2/25, were in serious danger, especially without their messiah.

 

But in his place came Labuschagne, trudging on with a bounce and a youthful energy. He wasn’t weighed down like Warner, yet it took him plenty of deliveries and a rain break before he got off the mark. Warner continued to miss the majority of strokes he tried to play, until Root instilled another slip and the opener jammed down on a ball to send it through the vacant cover region. His drives began to come off convincingly, and the odd pair stumbled their way to a solid position at 2/100.

 

Warner found his way to 50, and looked like stepping up in horrid conditions when Australia needed him most. The adage of Smith and Warner carrying the nation was set to return. The headlines were being written – Labuschagne was going to join him in a coming of age moment for Australian cricket.

 

Then Archer came on, with his cheeky grin and relaxed jog to the crease. His effortless action, appearing no different to his first spell where speed was substituted for control, produced thunderbolt after thunderbolt. He got the Duke to talk, his height caused the Aussie batsmen all types of discomfort. Warner was the first to perish, nicking a wonderful outswinger. Labuschagne continued to fight on – is there something about an Australian number four and the need to carry the team along to sufficient totals?

 

Head, a measured batsman, seemed ready to tackle Archer. But he didn’t account for Broad’s return, and a majestic wobbling delivery that nibbled away to take off stump. When Wade watched in horror as an Archer ball bounced off his thigh guard and onto leg stump, Australia were back in a rain-covered pit.

 

Paine couldn’t do a rescue job, falling quickly. Cummins and Pattinson, both handy batsmen in their own right, were quickly removed by Archer. The young pace bowler’s second spell was utterly explosive, and granted him a six wicket haul in just his second test. For such a youthful man with immense talent, he is frustratingly cool. Something tells me this won’t be the first Ashes series he rips apart.

 

With the clouds darkening even more, Archer blew out the tail once Stokes picked up Labuschagne through a wild full toss. Despite falling in an embarrassing fashion, the Queenslander has proven his worth as a test batsman. When Smith returns, it’s hard to see him being left out. This could be the start of a gritty middle order batsman with Aussie grit and compact strokes. Australia are on the ropes. But maybe, just maybe, Labuschagne and Archer may be the bat v ball rivalry that will rival some of the great Ashes individual contests. He’s at least made sure Australia haven’t suffered the same dismal times like we witnessed at Trent Bridge last time round.

 

Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.

 

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Comments

  1. Hasn’t Jofra Archer been a revelation ? I have vague memories of John Snow causing havoc here in 1970-71, such as when he picked up 7 for, also broke Graham McKenzie’s nose, on the way to skittling us for 116 @ the SCG. I wasn’t born when Frank Tyson was around, but he like Archer and Snow would be the only English bowlers post bodyline to really scare the Australians.

    When England came here in 1954-55 Tyson had only played one test. In the opener at the ‘Gabba’ he conceded a ton, then it all changed. Next up @ the SCG he ran riot. Match figures of 10-130, including 6-85 in our second dig. We were chasing 223 to win, started the final day 2-72; lost by 38 runs ! Tyson destroyed us. It may be worth mentioning he’d been earlier hit in the head during the English second innings by a Ray Lindwall bouncer; no helmets then. He got his revenge.

    Next up the MCG on a difficult pitch. We entered the final day 2-75 chasing 240. Again Tyson did the job taking 7-27. After losing the first test England won the next two ,with Tyson taking 19 wickets in these matches.

    England won the series 3-1, retaining the Ashes. How will Archer go wicket wise this series? Can Australia retain the Ashes?

    Glen!

  2. Daryl Schramm says

    A good, accurate report Sean. The 179 was looking good after England replied with 67. The lead will useful.

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