Archer puts England on top against Australia on Day 1 - GulfToday

Archer puts England on top against Australia on Day 1

Archer puts England on top against Australia on Day 1

England’s Jofra Archer (third right) holds up the ball as he celebrates with team-mates after taking six wickets against Australia during their third Ashes Test on Thursday. Reuters

Jofra Archer continued the brilliant start to his Test career by taking 6-45 and sparking Australia’s collapse from 136-2 to 179 all out on a stop-start opening day of the crucial third match of the Ashes series on Thursday.

Archer, English cricket’s newest superstar, didn’t produce the express pace he had on his test debut at Lord’s in the drawn second test last week but took advantage of benign conditions for seam and swing bowling to run through Australia’s creaky batting lineup.

Fill-in batsman Marnus Labuschagne delivered a fine impersonation of the absent Steve Smith, who was missed because of delayed-onset concussion, by scoring 74 and David Warner struck 61 to finally get among the runs in this Ashes after four single-figure returns. The pair put on 111 for the third wicket, a stand that saved Australia from slumping to a humiliating score at cloudy Headingley.

Only one other player - captain Tim Paine (11) - reached double figures as Smith’s absence proved telling. With 378 runs from three innings, Smith has been a thorn in England’s side but he missed out because of the effects of being struck on the neck by a delivery from Archer on Saturday.

Archer caused a different kind of damage five days on, wrapping up the innings by trapping Nathan Lyon lbw for 1 off what proved to be the last ball of the day. That completed Australia’s implosion, the tourists losing their last eight wickets for 43 runs.

About three hours of play was lost to rain, while the teams also went off for bad light midway through the afternoon - prompting boos from spectators because the floodlights were on - on a changeable day of weather in northern England.

Earlier, Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja both fell cheaply before Australia reached 54-2 at tea.

Only 18 overs in an original day’s allocation of 90 had been bowled when bad light forced an early tea, with David Warner 26 not out - his first double-figure score in five innings this series -- and Marnus Labuschagne seven not out.

Rain had previously stopped play at 2.45 pm (1345 GMT) after delaying the scheduled start by more than an hour.

And there was further frustration for both England and a crowd who had waited patiently to watch cricket when, after play resumed, only 3.1 more overs were possible before the umpires suspended play for bad light even though the floodlights were on full blast.

After a grinning Warner and Labuschagne sprinted off the field, umpires Chris Gaffaney and Joel Wilson were booed as they returned to the pavilion.

Wilson was later seen having an animated conversation on the dressing room balcony with several England players and backroom staff.

England, looking to level the five-match series at 1-1, had seen captain Joe Root win the toss in the hope of making the most of overcast, bowler-friendly conditions.

Australia had dropped opener Cameron Bancroft, who had made just 44 runs in four innings, and brought in Harris to partner Warner at the top of the order after England had enjoyed the better of a rain-affected draw in the second Test at Lord’s.

Both left-handed batsmen struggled against England’s new-ball attack of Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer.

The experienced Warner was repeatedly beaten by Broad jagging the ball off a length, while the express Archer, in his second Test, went past Harris’s outside edge.

Archer, bowling from around the wicket, squared him up with an 87.3 mph delivery that saw Harris get a thin edge through to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow -- like Root appearing on his home ground.

Moments after Harris had fallen for eight, with Australia 12-1 off four overs, the umpires took the players off the field because of rain.

It took Warner 14 balls to get off the mark as he continued to struggle, although Broad may have bowled a fraction too short with several deliveries beating the outside edge without really challenging the batsmen.

But he did take a wicket when Usman Khawaja, the third left-hander in Australia’s top three, made thin contact with an intended leg glance and was caught behind as he too fell for eight.


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