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Archer decimates Aussies as England take command

 

Star man: Jofra Archer celebrates taking the wicket of Marcus Harris at Headingley
Star man: Jofra Archer celebrates taking the wicket of Marcus Harris at Headingley

By Rory Dollard

Man of the moment Jofra Archer claimed a brilliant six-wicket haul at Headingley as England bundled Australia out for 179 on a rain-affected first day of the third Ashes Test.

Archer whipped up a frenzy of excitement with a thrilling debut performance in last week's draw at Lord's but was even more effective under murky skies in Leeds, claiming six for 45 as the tourists lost their last eight wickets for 43.

Only 52.1 overs were possible as the weather wrecked the first half of the day but with David Warner's dicey 61 and Marnus Labuschagne's battling 74 the only knocks of any note, that was enough for Archer.

His first performance in England whites saw him crank the speed gun up past 96.1mph and clatter three different batsmen on the head but this was a subtler showing of cerebral seam bowling.

Not once breaching the 90mph barrier and using the short ball sparingly, he instead probed away in more traditional areas, harvesting four outside edges and a deflection into the stumps to toast a maiden five-wicket haul.

Returning to send down the final over of the day and Australia nine down, he capped a thrilling performance by pinning last man Nathan Lyon lbw.

After a frustrating 70 minutes waiting for play to start a sliver of a session - just four overs - was deemed possible between rain showers.

Luckily for England it culminated in a wicket, Archer shaving the bat of recalled opener Marcus Harris with one that demanded a shot then kicked off a length.

Harris made just eight but might easily have outlasted his partner Warner, who was beaten on the outside edge five times in Stuart Broad's first two overs as the veteran circled his prey from round the wicket.

Usman Khawaja was next man down for eight, feathering a rare loose delivery from Broad down the leg-side to give him a richly-deserved wicket in unexpected circumstances.

New man Labuschagne, again stepping in for the concussed Steve Smith, struggled in his first exchanges with Archer, beaten twice on nought before another rain delay.

With conditions brightening up play resumed with Australia 54 for two and ready to lay into change bowlers, Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes.

In the space of 11 overs the pair shipped 70 runs, including 40 in boundaries, Warner visibly growing in confidence with every clean connection and Labuschagne offering willing support.

Even so, Warner was not yet at his snarling best, with the shot that took him to 50 spraying unintentionally over backward point off Stokes and the hundred partnership coming from a badly executed uppercut.

The game was nonetheless slipping until Root called back his strike bowlers, who took the next three wickets for three runs.

Archer finally proved that Warner's bat did indeed have an edge, going a fraction straighter and generating just enough off the pitch to hand Bairstow his third catch.

Australia's next two batsman bagged ducks as England made it three wickets for three runs, Travis Head was unpicked by a Broad delivery and Matthew Wade bowled by Archer.

There was partial redemption for Woakes and Stokes, who returned to win lbws against Tim Paine and Labuschagne respectively. The latter had carved out a dogged top-scoring effort before departing in ignominious fashion, losing a full toss from Stokes, being knocked to the deck and learning his fate while on all fours.

But this was Archer's story. He picked up his fourth when James Pattinson sent a nick to Root at head height and made it five for the first time in international cricket when Pat Cummins feathered another tester in the channel.

Root briefly withdrew his star man before offering him the final over of the day, Archer needing a solitary ball to get the better of Lyon.

Scoreboard

England v Australia (Third Ashes Test, Headingley)

AUSTRALIA 1ST INNINGS

D A Warner c Bairstow b Archer 61

M S Harris c Bairstow b Archer 8

U T Khawajac Bairstow b Broad 8

M Labuschagne lbw b Stokes 74

T M Head b Broad 0

M S Wade b Archer 0

T D Paine lbw b Woakes 11

J L Pattinson c Root b Archer 2

P J Cummins c Bairstow b Archer 0

N M Lyon lbw b Archer 1

J R Hazlewood not out 1

Extras b4 lb2 w5 nb2 13

Total (52.1 overs) 179

Fall: 1-12 2-25 3-136 4-138 5-139 6-162 7-173 8-174 9-177

Bowling: Broad 14 4 32 2; Archer 17.1 3 45 6; Woakes 12 4 511; Stokes 9 0 45 1

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