Search

The Ashes: Smith leads Aussie fightback after England collapse

PUBLISHED: 10:36 15 December 2017 | UPDATED: 10:36 15 December 2017

Australia's Steve Smith plays a shot as England centurion Jonny Bairstow looks on (pic Jason O'Brien/PA)

Australia's Steve Smith plays a shot as England centurion Jonny Bairstow looks on (pic Jason O'Brien/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

England failed to cash in on centuries from Middlesex’s Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow as familiar problems persisted on a fluctuating second day in the third Ashes Test.

England's Dawid Malan walks off after his innings of 140 at the WACA (pic Jason O'Brien/PA) England's Dawid Malan walks off after his innings of 140 at the WACA (pic Jason O'Brien/PA)

Joe Root called for “special” contributions and a sustained overall performance as England’s campaign approaches a tipping point in Perth, with the urn already on the line at 2-0 down in the five-match series.

Malan’s 140 and Bairstow’s 119 served up the quality in an England Ashes record fifth-wicket stand of 237.

But then after the tourists lost their last six wickets for 35 in their first innings 403 all out, Steve Smith’s unbeaten 92 and Usman Khawaja’s 50 helped Australia to 203-3 at stumps.

Smith was flawless and batted on another level, despite minor vagaries of bounce already as cracks began to appear at the WACA.

Khawaja, however, had luck on his side – notably when Root failed to sight a head-high chance at second slip after an edge off Chris Woakes on 28.

Australia’s third-wicket partnership realised 124 and England had to get through the last hour without Craig Overton – off the pitch with a sore side – after his two afternoon wickets kept them competitive.

England had a curious morning, which began with four consecutive maidens, courtesy of Mitchell Starc (4-91) and Josh Hazlewood (3-92); yet the first hour ended with four overs which cost 36 runs.

Bairstow completed his hundred in 185 balls, triggering a redemptive and cheeky celebration as he followed several punches of the air with a headbutt for the helmet he had just shed.

The reference to his unconventional greeting for Australia opener Cameron Bancroft, in a Perth bar seven weeks ago, was lost on no one in the ground and lapped up by most, whatever their partisan persuasion.

Sadly for England, it was the precursor not to further riches but one of their trademark collapses.

Malan was furious with himself for mistiming an attempted big hit at Nathan Lyon close enough for substitute fielder Peter Handscomb to take a diving catch at point.

Moeen Ali was then summarily bounced out for a second-ball duck by Pat Cummins, Woakes got too much on a flick all the way down to fine-leg off Josh Hazlewood, and then Bairstow’s intent cost him when he aimed across Starc and lost his middle stump.

The rest was details, and none that favoured England as their tail folded.

Australia’s reply began ominously, with the new ball rarely hitting anything but the middle of David Warner and Bancroft’s bats.

But Overton made a surprising intervention when he found lateral movement and Warner’s outside edge for a caught-behind dismissal, then beat Bancroft on the inside for lbw after captain Root rightly called for DRS.

Overton might already have had three wickets, had he clung on diving to his left for a very tough return catch offered by a scoreless Khawaja second ball.

It was barely a half-chance, but in England’s current circumstance was at the level they must reach to stay in this series, as Root has correctly identified.

Woakes got his angles spot on to eventually part Smith and Khawaja with a marginal lbw against the left-hander.

But Australia had still regained the initiative by the time Shaun Marsh survived off Moeen as Bairstow and Mark Stoneman converged in vain on a clear-cut chance which looped up off the boot of short-leg just before the close.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hackney Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hackney Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hackney Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hackney Stories

Yesterday, 18:30

Everton have completed the signing of Theo Walcott from Arsenal in a deal worth £20 million on a three-and-a-half year contract.

Yesterday, 18:03

Shedding further light on illegal schools remains a chief priority for Hackney Council in the face of criticism from the Jewish community.

Yesterday, 15:31

When I gave up meat as a first-year student, I did so not just because of nascent first-world guilt about the environment and factory farming, but because it was cheaper.

Yesterday, 15:00

Spurs have won eight of their last 10 games in all competitions and suffered just one defeat during that period - at the Etihad last month

Yesterday, 14:30

The team at Newington Green’s popular Alma has opened a new pub, Be-Bop-A-Lula, in Green Lanes. It’s great. James Morris isn’t surprised.

Yesterday, 13:02

In an article from our ‘Year in Sport’ pull-out, we look back on Leyton Orient’s 2017 and explain why this year provides renewed hope

Yesterday, 12:13

Iftekar Hossain tells Emma Bartholomew about his journey from Dubai and Bangladesh to running the Hoxton pizzeria that’s just been named north London’s ‘best takeaway’ in the British Takeaway Awards

Yesterday, 11:24

Parents in Stoke Newington say road closures in the area designed to get people walking and cycling will increase pollution at their kids’ school – by diverting cars past it.



Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read sport

Show Job Lists