Ashes 2017-18, 3rd Test, Day 2 – 5 Talking Points

Ashes 2017-18, 3rd Test, Day 2 – 5 Talking Points

England started the day at a high and ended up giving Australia the edge.

Craig Overton
Craig Overton of England celebrates getting the wicket of Cameron Bancroft. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

England finished day 1 on a high. They managed to fight back after their captain walked back cheaply. Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow stuck in there and stitched a fightback. A good 174-run partnership towards the end of the day helped England gain some good psychological advantage. Malan’s century was the highlight of the day.

That said, the second day started even better for England. Bairstow who finished the day on 75 completed a gritty century. His celebrations raised many eyebrows though. However, the celebrations didn’t last long as a flurry of wickets saw England lose a good advantage. They crossed 400 and were bundled up rather quickly. There were many events that caught the eye on Day 2 as the third Test begins to take shape. Let us have a look at the five such instances.

1. The headbutt celebration

Jonny Bairstow completed his much awaited century. His 4th in 48 Test innings. He batted with grit and vigour to get there. However, his celebrations might trigger the Aussies. Not long ago he was reported to have headbutt the Australian opener Cameron Bancroft but the cricketer had rubbished the reports. Bairstow isn’t over it yet and after completing his century gave his helmet a nice headbutt.

The celebration was picked up by the commentators as well. However, his performance with the bat was fantastic as he overcame the slump in his form. Bairstow had scored only 108 runs in four innings but now with this century is back in form.

2. Malan and Ali fall in quick succession

Dawid Malan scored a brilliant century yesterday and carried on today for an hour or so. He looked extremely good but lost his concentration. He had played Lyon to perfection until that delivery. The southpaw tried to lift the off-spinner over the leg side but got a leading edge and Peter Handscomb accepted the gift. Lyon finally got his man.

Moeen Ali has been terrific for England since his inclusion in the Test squad but he failed to open his account in the third Test. He was done by the pace and bounce of WACA. A fast short delivery climbed upon him and he edged one to the slip cordon. Cummins was the beneficiary here. The rest of the English lineup also followed these two.

3. England tail fails to wag

England’s lower order has failed miserably in the last two Tests and the story continued at WACA as well. Jonny Bairstow and Dawid Malan had done their job and England was in a strong position but the tail-enders couldn’t add more than 35 runs. Woakes, Overton, Broad, and Anderson all managed to score only 22 runs.

This shows how poor they were. Woakes scored 8 runs while Overton managed to score 2, Broad scored 12 while Anderson was dismissed without troubling the scorers. However, England got past 400 and that will be a great psychological advantage.

4. Overton shines with the bowl

Craig Overton was the only one who seemed to get some lateral movement off the pitch. He was bowling extremely well even after getting hit for an odd boundary here and there. He got David Warner first. A good length delivery bouncing as high as one can at the WACA, Warner pushed at it, just like he does and nicked one behind to the keeper.

Overton managed to snatch another wicket. Bancroft was the victim this time. It was a great delivery that nipped in sharply and hit Bancroft on the pads. The umpire turned the appeal down at first but the review showed it otherwise. The three reds meant the Aussie opener was walking back and Australia were reeling.

5. Smith and Khawaja steady the ship

Warner and Bancroft were dismissed cheaply. Australia were in trouble at 55 for 2 but in came their captain and the pitch magically started behaving differently. Smith struck a few boundaries and the body language of the English decayed as he continued. Khawaja scored a valuable fifty but was dismissed by Woakes.

He continued to play his strokes and was hitting the bowlers at will. He was striking at a strike rate of 80 at one point and continued to do so until the very end. Smith finished on 92 as Marsh played 36 deliveries for his 7 runs. Australia finished the day on 203 for 3 in a strong position. They still trail England by 200 runs.