Mark Wood claims five, but Australia fight courtesy of Mitchell Marsh and bowlers

Tags: The Ashes 2023, England vs Australia, 3rd Test at Leeds, Jul 06-10, 2023, Australia A, England

Published on: Jul 07, 2023

Scorecard | Commentary | Graphs

Thirteen wickets fell on the opening day of the third Ashes 2023 Test between England and Australia at Headingley Test on Thursday, July 6 as bowlers had a field day. England pacer Mark Wood, making a comeback to the playing eleven, literally breathed fire, claiming 5/34 in 11.4 overs as Australia were bowled out for 263 in 60.4 overs after being asked to bat.

Despite the dominant performance, it wasn’t England’s day completely. Australia did well to recover from 85/4 to 240/5 courtesy of Mitchell Marsh (118 off 118), also on comeback, before Wood dismantled the lower order as the Aussies lost five wickets for merely 18 runs.

The visitors, however, made a strong comeback with the ball in hand. Skipper Pat Cummins claimed two key wickets, while Marsh added a scalp to go with his hundred as Australia reduced England to 68/3 by stumps. While England trail by less the 200, the loss of three wickets means the absorbing Day 1 was more or less even stevens.

The day began with a familiar scene in Ashes Tests lately - David Warner (4) nicking off to Stuart Broad. England were horrendous with their fielding, dropping four catches. However, Wood and Chris Woakes (3/73) and Broad (2/58) ensured the hosts did not have to pay a heavy price for the same.

Wood, bowling with extreme pace, cleaned up Usman Khawaja for 13. Marnus Labuschagne registered another low score (21), nicking one off Woakes. Steve Smith, who had an early life in his 100th Test, was out for 22, getting an inside to a delivery from Broad.

Marsh was put down by Joe Root early in the second session. He went on to hammer a 102-ball century, featuring in a fifth-wicket stand of 155 with Travis Head (39). Marsh slammed 17 fours and four sixes before giving a catch to slip off Woakes’ bowling, inside-edging a delivery only his thighs, which they popped towards slips.

Wood then ran through the lower order, dismissing Mitchell Starc (2), Pat Cummins (0) and Todd Murphy (13) to complete a memorable five-for on Test comeback. Cummins, however, dismissed Ben Duckett (2) and Harry Brook cheaply (3) to reduce England to 22 for 2.

Zak Crawley and Joe Root featured in a 43-run alliance for the third wicket, but Crawley perished before close of play in disappointing fashion for 33. The opener flirted at one off stump from Marsh and got an edge. Warner at slip did the rest. Root (19 not out) and Jonny Bairstow (1 not out) survived a few tricky overs as England went to stumps three down.

--By A Cricket Correspondent

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