After the disappointing performance with the ball, it was now the English batter’s turn to repeat the batting collapse. apart from Joe Root and David Malan, England batters did not have any clue against the Australian bowlers who bowled the right line and length on a track that is still very good for batting.
Resuming from their overnight score of 12 for 2, Root and Malan hung in during a tight bowling spell in the morning and then went on to add a fighting 138 between the two, a reminiscent of the recent partnership of 162 that they played in the Brisbane Test Match. The two survived the first session and it looked like England will be dominating the day until a back-of-a-length ball from Green caught Root’s nick after lunch.
Root has so far performed brilliantly on the Australian tour, a sharp contrast to his innings in the earlier Ashes in Australia. Dawid Malan slashed Strac to a boundary on the onside before a wild cut shot close to his body went flying to the slip cordon in the safe hands of captain Steve Smith who made the right move of bringing Starc on in place of Green, who was putting the batsman under pressure.
At one point of time, Ollie Pope and Ben Stokes were unable to score a run of nearly 40 deliveries of the overs of Nathan Lyon and Cameron Green. As per Warne’s prediction, Nathan Lyon did come in handy and his spinning deliveries from the right patch caused much trouble to Ollie Pope, who couldn’t resist coming down the track to tackle the spin and eventually edged straight to Marnus Labuschagne at short square leg.
It would not be wrong to say that Buttler has had a nightmare in this test match till now. Apart from a full diving screamer of Marcus Harris, nothing has gone the wicketkeeper’s way as he not only dropped Labuschagne on two occasions but also got on a duck. Ben Stokes contributed 24 of 40 balls however the batsman went out of non-strikers and was the 9th wicket which went down.
Voicing his disappointment for the English Side on Twitter, Michael Vaughan said that Australia are a ‘lot better’ in all facets of Test Cricket and that there is no point in making excuses.
Australia did not enforce a follow-on and have gathered a lead of 282 runs at the loss of one wicket. It does look that the match is heading towards one conclusion only until the weather god can interrupt and save England. England are trailing behind 1 – 0 in this 2021 Ashes series and it looks like an uphill task for the visitors to come back into this series.