LEEDS: Josh Hazlewood took five wickets as England were bowled out for just 67 on the second day of the third Test at Headingley yesterday to leave Australia on the verge of retaining the Ashes.
This was England’s lowest Ashes total since 1948 and the fourth time in 18 months they had been dismissed for under a hundred in a Test.
Fast bowler Hazlewood took 5-30 in an England innings wrapped up inside 28 overs.
Australia, looking to go 2-0 up with two to play in this five-match series – then strengthened their grip to be 171-6 in their second innings at stumps, a commanding lead of 283 runs.
Marnus Labuschagne, whose first-innings 74 was seven more than England managed between them, was 53 not out.
It was his third straight fifty of the series following his 59 in the second innings of the drawn second Test at Lord’s after coming into the side as a concussion substitute for star batsman Steve Smith.
A miserable day for England also saw captain Joe Root out for a duck on his Yorkshire home ground before he dropped a routine slip catch when Labuschagne had made 14.
England’s woes were compounded after tea when rising star Jofra Archer – who had taken 6-45 in Australia’s first-innings 179 – limped off midway through an over with cramp, although he did return to the field.
Labuschagne was dropped for a second time, on 42, when wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow failed to hold a tough low chance diving to his right.
Earlier, Joe Denly, with 12, was the only England batsman to reach double figures.
By staging both the World Cup and the Ashes with a short turnaround between the two showpiece events, England had denied several batsmen first-class preparation for the very different demands of Test cricket.
By contrast, a number of Australians had appeared for English county sides – Labuschagne, the only batsman to so far score 1,000 first-class runs this season was with Glamorgan – or featured on the Australia A tour of England.