Leeds: The third Ashes Test between England and Australia got off to an exhilarating start as thirteen wickets tumbled on the opening day at Headingley. After being bowled out for a modest 263, Australia made a swift comeback by dismissing three English batsmen, leaving the hosts at 68/3 at stumps.
The day’s play witnessed two remarkable comebacks that stole the spotlight. Making his first Test appearance since 2019, Mitchell Marsh played a pivotal role for Australia with a scintillating century. However, Cameron Green was sidelined due to an injury, dampening Australia’s spirits.
England started their innings with Ben Duckett and Harry Brook, both of whom were recalled early after their impressive performances at Lord’s. However, they fell victim to the bowling attack of Pat Cummins, leaving England at a shaky 22/2. Zak Crawley and captain Joe Root then steadied the innings, but Crawley’s edge was caught by Marsh off the bowling of Cummins.
Root and Jonny Bairstow held their ground until the end of the day’s play, but England finds themselves trailing by 195 runs with the series on the line. They will be eager to take the lead in the first inning to put pressure on the Australians.
Earlier in the day, England’s bowlers, led by Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes, made an immediate impact by taking four quick wickets. Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne were the only Australian batsmen to provide some resistance, while the rest of the lineup faltered. Broad’s tight bowling yielded two wickets, conceding only 20 runs in his five overs.
The opening over set the tone for England as Broad claimed the wicket of David Warner with a sharp catch by Zak Crawley at slip. Warner could only manage four runs off five balls. Mark Wood delivered a thunderous 95mph delivery to dismiss Usman Khawaja, uprooting the leg stump and leaving him out for a low score.
Broad struck again in the 24th over, removing the dangerous Steve Smith with a nick that was expertly caught by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow. Smith contributed 22 runs, including a boundary and a maximum, before departing.
Australia’s recovery came in the form of a resilient partnership between Travis Head and the outstanding Mitchell Marsh. They built a crucial 155-run stand, defying England’s bowlers and stabilising the innings. Marsh’s aggressive batting allowed him to reach a magnificent century off just 102 balls. However, Woakes ended his brilliant innings on 118, providing England with a much-needed breakthrough.
As the third Ashes Test heads into the second day, both teams will be looking to gain an advantage in this crucial encounter. England’s bowlers will aim to wrap up Australia’s innings swiftly, while the Australian bowlers will be eager to capitalise on their team’s strong position and restrict the hosts’ first-innings total.