Cricket

Aussie hopes rest on low scores

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AUSTRALIA is hoping the low scores can continue if it is to protect its 1-0 lead after a dramatic  opening day’s play on a Headingley seamer, England’s new sensation Jofra  Archer maintaining his Lord’s form with his first five-for in Test cricket. KEN PIESSE reports:

GEOFF Boycott is a legend in these parts and as cricket’s bad boy David Warner was booed off Headingley during the twilight session, having made the luckiest 61 of his life, he had an immediate ally in the iconic Yorkshireman now almost an octogenarian and still commentating.

Dismayed by the lack of grace shown by his old crowd,  Boycott called: “Coom on Yorkshire, you are better than thaat .”

Few Australians have ever been as fortunate as Warner who played and missed 11 times in the first 40 minutes of this pivotal Test match.

Batting was incredibly difficult on a fresh pitch and under grey skies. Warner and everyone else were made to look like novices as Stewart Broad and Jofra Archer again mowed through the Aussie top order.

A century stand between Warner and Marnus Labuschagne was almost an aberration given that the other four top order players, including Ashes debutant Marcus Harris, were all dismissed in single figures.

After four consecutive failures, Warner was hesitant and rode his luck like no one I’ve seen since Steve Waugh in Barbados 20 years ago. On his way to 199, Waugh played and missed at Ambrose and Walsh 19 times on a juicy Kensington Oval wicket in the pre-lunch session.

The opening day conditions were just as testing as Broad swerved the ball in menacing fashion from his  intimidating opening overs.

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Warner’s  previous scores had been 2, 8, 3 and 5 and another failure today would have seen his place questioned for Old Trafford,  but he rode his luck, scoring two fives on the way to a much needed 50.

Finally he was out to the new English sensation Archer, who again varied his pace cleverly.

Shaking his head in irritation he walked back to the Kirkstall End stand to widespread boos from the crowd, which was again at near capacity despite the Thursday start.

Pre-match, Australia’s captain Tim Paine had called on Australia’s most senior batsmen Warner and Usman Khawaja to rise to the  occasion given the absence of No.1 batsman Steve Smith. Khawaja made just eight before again falling to a wicketkeeper’s dismissal for the eighth consecutive occasion in Tests against England.

https://youtu.be/NU_a9apsjbQ

All eight dismissals were Jonny Bairstow’s: seven catches and one stumping.

The pitch is not quite as fast as at Lord’s and Australia’s 179 might even be a winning score given the footmarks which have already developed to aid the senior spinner in the game, Australia’s Nathan Lyon.

On a day of tough, hard Test cricket, punctuated by many breaks for weather and poor light, Australia made three changes from the eleven at Lord’s, only one enforced with Labuschagne replacing the concussed Steve Smith.

Peter Siddle was rotated for his Dandenong teammate James Pattinson while Harris, the boom player in Sheffield Shield ranks last summer, replaced  fellow opener Cam  Bancroft.

Australia  179 (Warner 61, Labuschagne 74. Archer 6/45, Broad 2/32).  Stumps, day one, Headingley

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Author: Ken Piesse

KEN PIESSE has covered cricket and football for more than 30 years in Melbourne. He has written, edited and published more than 70 sports books. Signed copies of his latest cricket book Heroes of the Hour, cricket’s quintessential moments from Bradman and Lillee to Warne and Steve Smith, is available from www.cricketbooks.com.au

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