Australian batter David Warner has fallen agonisingly short of an Ashes century, with his knock ending in “terribly unlucky” circumstances.
Welcome to news.com.au’s live coverage of the second day of play in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba.
England have kept themselves in the contest by taking 4/29 in a damaging passage of play after the Poms were rolled for just 147 inside two sessions on the opening day of the series.
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There was hope for the tourists early on the morning of Day 2 with Ollie Robinson removing Marcus Harris for just three runs.
It left the Aussies 1/10 in the sixth over, and it could have been 2/30 with David Warner clean bowled by Ben Stokes on a no-ball.
Instead, Australia moved to the commanding position of 1/113 at lunch — trailing England by just 34 runs with nine wickets still in the sheds.
It only got worse for England after lunch, with a lengthy series of dropped catches, missed run-outs and botched reviews frustrating the visitors.
But the wickets of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith somewhat brought England back into the contest, before Warner fell agonisingly short of a Test century after the tea break.
Skipper removes rival skipper
The battle between Pat Cummins and Joe Root was one of the most highly-anticipated contests leading into the Ashes series.
However, nobody anticipated Root would be the one dismissing the rival captain.
Cummins is back in the sheds for 12 after flicking a full delivery from Root to Haseeb Hameed at short leg.
Australian teammate Mitchell Starc joins Travid Head in the middle, with the left-hander 14 runs shy of a third Test century,
Head silences doubters
South Australian batter Travis Head has brought up the eighth Test half-century on his return to the national side, bringing up the milestone in 51 delivered at the Gabba.
As wickets tumbled from the other end, Head continued punishing England’s wayward bowlers on his way to the minor milestone, keeping the scoreboard ticking along in Brisbane.
Meanwhile, England spinner Jack Leach is copping plenty of criticism for his inconsistent bowling — he’s currently leaking eight runs per over.
And to make matters worse, Ollie Robinson — England’s best bowler of the day — has gingerly limped off the field grabbing at his leg.
Australia’s team total soon exceeded 300, with Head passing 80 in less than 70 balls.
Debutant Carey dismissed for 12
Australian debutant Alex Carey could only muster 12 runs in his maiden Test innings.
The left-hander slapped a short delivery from England seamer Chris Woakes directly towards mid-wicket, where Ollie Pope claims a smart catch above his head.
New Australian skipper Pat Cummins walks out to a huge roar from the Gabba spectators.
Warner falls short of triple figures
David Warner has fallen just short of a 25th Test century.
The left-hander was six runs shy of a Test ton at the Gabba when England seamer Ollie Robinson deceived the Australian opener with a slower ball.
Warner chipped the Kookaburra directly towards mid-off, where Ben Stokes made no mistake with the catch.
He would have become just the third cricketer to score five Test centuries at the Gabba, joining Australian greats Greg Chappell and Michael Clarke.
“It’s a real shame, he actually deserved a hundred David Warner,” Australian great Shane Warne said on Fox Cricket.
Former Australian spinner Kerry O’Keeffe continued: “Warner is staring daggers at the pitch. He feels he was betrayed by the pitch.”
Robinson suddenly found himself on a hat-trick when he removed Australian young gun Cameron Green the very next ball.
Green left a length delivery that swung back into the right-hander and crashed into the top of off stump, and the Aussies were suddenly five down in Brisbane.
“I can’t quite believe it,” Fox Cricket commentator Isa Guha said.
Debutant Alex Carey survived the well-directed hat-trick delivery, but the English supporters at the Gabba are considerably more vocal after the double breakthrough.
Smith falls just before tea
Australian vice-captain Steve Smith has fallen just before the tea break, with England speedster Mark Wood getting the key breakthrough in the 53rd over.
Earlier, Smith narrowly survived an LBW shout — Wood beat the right-hander’s outside edge, with the Kookaburra crashing into his back leg.
Skipper Joe Root called for the review, but Hawkeye technology suggested the ball had struck Smith outside the line of off stump, and England lost one of their three reviews.
To rub salt into the wounds, the visitors missed yet another run out later that over, with Dawid Malan’s throw from mid-wicket evading the stumps at the nonstriker’s end, gifting Smith another life.
But the 32-year-old knock came to an abrupt end when he feathered a catch through to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler off Wood’s bowling.
Smith departs for 12, and England get their third breakthrough of the day — South Australia’s Travis Head joins David Warner in the middle.
Australia is 3/193 at the tea break, leading by 46 runs — Warner is six runs shy from a Test century.
England still has a pulse
Marnus Labuschagne has thrown away his wicket during a mauling of English spinner Jack Leach.
The No. 3 batsman was dispatching Leach to every corner of the Gabba as he and David Warner put on a partnership of more than 150 runs.
However, Labuschagne was brought undone when he lost his cool and stepped away from a ball that he ended up cutting straight to Mark Wood at gully.
The extra bounce caught Labuschagne off guard and it gave Leach the last laugh, having previously been belted for 0/54 from just seven overs.
It left Australia 2/170.
“That’s possibly a lack of respect,” Aussie legend Mark Waugh told Fox Cricket of Labuschagne’s aggressive strokes.
Aussie test great Kerry O’Keeffe described Labuschagne’s dismissal as “reckless”.
‘Everything is going wrong’: England falling apart
David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne have pushed Australia to 150 after England butchered three chances to remove the Aussie opener.
Warner has been bowled on a no-ball, dropped in the slips and let-off when stranded out of his crease.
The three blunders have left England on the brink of complete collapse.
Warner was dropped in the slips just moments before he brought up his half-century.
Having already been bowled on a no-ball by Ben Stokes when he was on just 17 runs, Warner has moved past 50 after Rory Burns dropped a regulation catch moving to his left at second slip.
Former Aussie test captain Alan Border said Burns had to take the catch to revive England.
“It’s a dolly too,” Border told Fox Cricket.
“That’s as easy and comfortable as you want them.”
In a nightmare for England, Warner was given a third life when Haseeb Hameed could have dismissed him with a genuine run-out opportunity.
Warner slipped after paddling the ball to short-leg and was short of his ground when Hameed’s throw skidded wide of the stumps.
Fox Cricket commentators feared England may already be beaten in the First Test.
“Everything is going wrong when everything needs to be going right to get England back into the test match,” Adam Gilchrist said.
Former test captain Alan Border said: “They’re the moments that turn captains grumpy. That just kills you”.
Labuschagne beats Warner to 50
Marnus Labuschagne has brought up his fifty from just 71 deliveries.
He reached the milestone just a few minutes before the lunch break.
Unbeaten David Warner was restricted to 48 at the end of the first session of play.
The pair also brought up their 100-run partnership in the final over before the break.
Technical failure is real reason behind ‘pathetic’ moment
The real reason for the extraordinary umpiring breakdown leading up to David warner being bowled on a no-ball has been revealed.
Aussie cricket legend Ricky Ponting earlier described it as a pathetic” performance from the officials after England quick Ben Stokes got away with bowling three consecutive no-balls — with none of them being recorded or called.
Channel 7 commentator Alison Mitchell has now reported the reason for the umpire failure is a technical breakdown of the system used by the ICC.
“From the start of 2020 no-balls have been looked at through technology which enables the third umpire to assess every delivery and inform the on-field umpire by signal that a no-ball has been bowled,” Mitchell said on Seven.
“Before this test match the technology provided to the ICC to enable that went down. This test match is being played under the conditions previous two 2020 where the only deliveries reviewed are wicket-taking moments.
“Hence why that ball when Warner was supposedly out was tracked. When we look back and saw they were deliveries prior to that not spotted, that is the responsibility of the on-field umpire.”
It was only his fourth no-ball which knocked Warner over resulted in Stokes being called out. Warner was given a second life after Stokes clean bowled him in his first over of the Test match, on a no-ball delivery.
Warner was brought undone defending forward to a delivery that sailed between his bat and pad and edged onto his off stump.
Stokes was subdued in his celebrations and the umpire immediately had a word with him to let him know the video umpire was checking for a front foot no-ball.
Replays showed Stokes had clearly overstepped the crease.
“Can you believe that,” Aussie Test legend Adam Gilchrist told Fox Cricket.
“We thought we saw some drama yesterday. How big a moment is that going to be?”
Warner was on 17 at the time and his dismissal would have left Australia 2/31.
That was just the beginning of the drama as Channel 7 analyst Trent Copeland exposed Stokes’ no-ball spree.
The English all-rounder was seen bowling four consecutive no-balls to start his first over of the Test with none of them being called by the third umpire.
It was only the wicket delivery, Stokes’ fourth ball. that was reviewed and found to have been a no-ball.
It led to outcry from cricket commentators about the on-field and video umpires failing to police the front foot.
Copeland suggested the on-field umpire should have been communicating with Stokes to let him know he was getting close overstepping the crease.
Aussie Test legend Ricky Ponting was much more scathing.
“By the sounds of things now they are not actually even looking at the front line because it is left to someone off-field to do the calling,” he said on Channel 7.
“If someone upstairs is meant to be checking these, and they haven’t decided that any of those are a no ball, it is pathetic officiating as far as I’m concerned. We saw what happened late in the over … it was a wicket … If it he’d have been called for the no ball the first one he bowled there, then of course he’s going to drag his foot back.
“I’m not sure what’s going on.”
Ugly Harris is worst in history
Marcus Harris’ summer is off to a shocker after he was sent packing on the back of an average poke at a good bouncing delivery from Ollie Robinson.
Harris never looked comfortable as he crept to three runs from 17 balls with David Warner repeatedly walking down the pitch to speak to his partner as he made a rattled start to the innings.
Warner’s words weren’t enough to help Harris, who is ow under renewed pressure to keep his spot in the Aussie XI.
Dawid Malan had to take a nice catch moving forward at third slip after Harris’ prod took a thick edge.
It took Harris’ Ashes record to the unfortunate position of being the worst opener in the history of Ashes cricket.
As first pointed out by news.com.au’s Nic Savage, Harris’ failure on Thursday means he is now averaging 8.71 runs, the worst average for a batsman to have featured in at least four test matches.
In seven innings opening against England, Harris has a top score of 19 and has scored just 61 runs.
‘Speechless’: Conspiracy theory explains England bombshell
Aussie Test great Stuart Clark says the likelihood of the fifth Test being switched to a pink-ball Test could be behind England’s decision to overlook key quicks Stuart Broad and James Anderson.
Meanwhile, former Aussie Test captain Michael Clarke has predicted England’s Ashes campaign is already over, declaring there is no way back for the tourists, despite the series being just one day into a five-Test battle.
England dropped a second selection bombshell on Wednesday morning when Broad and Anderson weren’t picked — the first time in five years England has played with neither bowler.
England are going with Ollie Robinson, Mark Wood and Chris Woakes as their quicks, alongside spinner Jack Leach.
Clark on Thursday morning suggested there is chatter England left its two senior bowlers out as a plan to keep them fresh for the two pink-ball Tests as well as Sydney’s traditional New Year’s Test and Melbourne’s Boxing Day Test.
“They’re as speechless as the rest of us. Nobody can understand that decision,” he said of his discussions behind the scenes in an interview with RSN Breakfast.
“The only thing they could give me yesterday is that the pink ball Test, they’ll both play in that. With the last Test now looking like it will be a pink ball Test. That’s what their plan would have to be.”
The two swing bowlers have previously been lethal under lights with the pink ball.
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