Australia’s ton-up Marsh has return to remember in 3rd Ashes Test

australias ton up marsh has return to remember in 3rd ashes test

Mitchell Marsh’s run-a-ball 118 was the cornerstone of Australia’s 263 on the first day of the third Ashes Test at Headingley on Thursday after the tourists collapsed either side of his blistering century.

England fast bowler Mark Wood took 5-34 as the hosts backed up captain Ben Stokes’ decision to bowl first on a green-tinged pitch.

Australia skipper Pat Cummins then reduced England to 22-2 before all-rounder Marsh, playing his first Test in nearly four years, had Zak Crawley (33) well caught at first slip by David Warner in the latest example of the tourists’ superior fielding.

At stumps, England were 68-3 — a deficit of 195 runs — with Joe Root 19 not out and Jonny Bairstow one not out on their Yorkshire home ground.

But it was also another day of missed opportunities for England as Root dropped a regulation first-slip catch off Chris Woakes when Marsh had made just 12, while wicketkeeper Bairstow failed to hold a legside chance when Travis Head was on nine.

Australia would have been 98-5 but for Root’s error and it was one England could ill-afford at 2-0 down in the five-match series.

Marsh cashed in a superb hundred while sharing a stand of 155 with Head, whose 39 was the second highest score of the innings.

Only selected after fellow all-rounder Cameron Green was ruled out with a hamstring strain following Australia’s 43-run win at Lord’s last week, Marsh was appearing in his first Test since facing England at The Oval in 2019.

‘Hard work’

“There’s always times when you spend a bit of time away from the game where you think you might not get back,” Marsh told reporters.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work, I chose to have ankle surgery and miss last summer to get on this tour knowing I was going to be Greeny’s understudy. Really proud to get back.”

But from 240-4, Australia lost their last six wickets for 23 runs as Durham quick Wood, in his first Test since playing away to Pakistan in December, ripped through the tail.

His wickets were badly needed by England, a bowler down after Ollie Robinson limped off shortly before tea with a back spasm.

“It was a great feeling to take five wickets,” Wood told Sky Sports. “It was the first time in front of my mum and dad so I’m delighted.”

He added: “We felt a couple of wickets away, but Mitch Marsh played fantastically well and was difficult to bowl at.”

Marsh drove and cut England’s quicks with authority before lofting Moeen Ali for six to go to 99.

A single off the spinner saw Marsh reach his hundred in just 102 balls including 15 fours and three sixes.

It was his third hundred in 33 Tests, all his centuries coming against England.

The 31-year-old was eventually out when he inside-edged Woakes off his thigh to Crawley at second slip.

Australia, 240-5 at tea, then collapsed in a hurry with Root catching Head off Woakes the ball after he had dropped Alex Carey.

The 33-year-old Wood took the fielders out of the equation by clean bowling Mitchell Starc and having Cummins plumb lbw for a second-ball duck.

Wood ended the innings by bowling Todd Murphy for the fourth five-wicket haul of the injury-prone paceman’s 29-Test career, but first in England.

Jeers to cheers

The hangover from England’s controversial defeat at Lord’s continued, with Australia players booed by spectators still upset by the dismissal of Bairstow, given out stumped when he thought the ball was dead, in the second Test.

But the jeers turned to cheers as Stuart Broad removed Warner fifth ball for the 16th time in Tests, with the aid of a fine slip catch by Crawley.

Wood, showing what England had missed in his absence, then bowled the usually obdurate Usman Khawaja (13) with a 95 mph delivery that flattened the opener’s leg stump.

Steve Smith walked out in his 100th Test fresh from a hundred at Lord’s but fell for 22 when caught behind off Broad, the senior bowler in an attack without the rested James Anderson.

Authored by Afp via Breitbart July 5th 2023