Leeds: Thirteen wickets fell on day one of the third Ashes Test between England and Australia as the hosts finished on 68/3 in response to Australia’s 263.
Two memorable comebacks hogged headlines on a riveting day of Ashes cricket. Mitchell Marsh, playing his first Test match since 2019 with Cameron Green nursing a niggle, smashed his third Test hundred to help Australia recover from a wobbly start.
But, Mark Wood’s searing pace proved to be too hot for Australia’s lower order as the visitors lost six wickets in the space of 8.3 overs to be bowled out for 263.
In response, Pat Cummins sent back Ben Duckett, who had made two half-centuries at Lord’s, and Harry Brook back early. From 22/2, Zak Crawley and Joe Root lifted England with some positive batting, but Marsh’s excellent day continued as the medium pacer found Crawley’s edge.
Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow carried England to stumps, but the hosts are still trailing by 195 runs and will want to take a lead in the first innings with the series on the line.
For Australia, Marsh appeared to be batting on a different wicket to the rest of his mates as he middled his shots with ease.
He was helped earlier on in his innings when Joe Root shelled a catch at first slip off Chris Woakes. From there, Marsh became more confident and scored at run-a-ball with Travis Head providing strong support at the other end.
The duo resuscitated the innings from 85/4 and took the team past 200. Head played with more caution than usual with Marsh pressing the accelerator to keep England on their toes.
The all-rounder completed his ton off 102 balls, but a wicket came against the run of play for England when Woakes had the centurion caught at slips at the stroke of tea.
Head fell immediately after the break, with Woakes once again creating the breakthrough.
With the two settled batters back in the hut, England unleashed Wood, who had earlier messed up Usman Khawaja’s stumps with a delivery clocked at 94.6 miles/hour.
The fast bowler went on to decimate the tail, taking four wickets in the next 14 balls he bowled, including that of Mitchell Starc and skipper Pat Cummins in the same over.
Wood finished with impressive figures of 5/34 while Woakes shone with three key wickets.
Earlier, Australia made three changes to their playing XI from the Lord’s Test with Scott Boland, Todd Murphy and Marsh coming in for Josh Hazlewood, the injured Nathan Lyon and Green.
Put in to bat, the visitors were met with tough conditions as England’s seamers found prodigious movement off the deck.
David Warner nicked Stuart Broad through to the slip cordon to be dismissed by the fast bowler for the 16th time in Test cricket.
Wood, meanwhile, sent Khawaja packing with a pacy delivery and Steve Smith, playing his 100th Test, walked in. Labuschagne and Smith found the going tough with Woakes and Ollie Robinson hitting the right channels.
Labuschagne eventually edged Woakes to Root at first slip and Broad had Smith caught behind soon after — the batter taking a review with him — to leave Australia four down at lunch. From there, Marsh and Head took over to build a decent total before Mark Wood led England’s strong comeback.