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Ashes: England already looks like a RABBLE just two days after the series Down Under

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If England’s first day horror show at the Gabba wasn’t enough to satisfy their creepiest critics, they found new ways to screw things up on the second day.

At stumps, Australia had recovered from relative discomfort at 195 for five to reach 343 for seven, thanks to a remarkable 85-ball hundred from Travis Head. They should easily win from here.

But equally worrisome for England was the state of their bowling attack, just two days after the series’ potential 25.

England found new ways to screw things up on the second day of the Ashes in Brisbane

Australia recovered to reach 343 for seven, thanks to a remarkable hundred from Travis Head

Australia recovered to reach 343 for seven, thanks to a remarkable hundred from Travis Head

It first became clear that Ben Stokes’ body had not reacted to his return as he would have liked. He flexed his right shoulder during the first session, and soon pulled up after chasing his own misfield to the limit.

England insisted he was fine despite clear evidence to the contrary – and he couldn’t bowl at all between lunch and tea.

When he was finally brought back, in the final session, he immediately donated three limits to Head. Chris Silverwood and Joe Root will soon have to decide how to manage their star all-rounder. Based on this evidence, he is more of a hindrance than a help.

Worse was to come when Ollie Robinson, who had done an excellent job on his first day with the ball in Ashes cricket to take three wickets, left the field after his 18th over – after slowing to 72mph while falling over the back of his right thigh. rubbed. He later said he had left “for strapping and maintenance.”

Ben Stokes' body had not responded to his return and he was unable to bowl between lunch and tea

Ben Stokes’ body had not responded to his return and he was unable to bowl between lunch and tea

Worse was to come when Ollie Robinson rubbed the back of his right thigh

Worse was to come when Ollie Robinson rubbed the back of his right thigh

Then there was Jack Leach, who was early targeted by David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne—and never recovered.

He cleared Labuschagne for 74, caught from a loose cut by Mark Wood at back point to end a second-wicket tie of 156. But the reprieve was short. By the end, he had numbers of 11-0-95-1, possibly kicking himself out of the series.

He’s not a bad bowler: a pre-series test report of 62 wickets at a split under 30 told us that. But after being beaten by India’s Rishabh Pant in Chennai in February, he has now been treated with disdain in two of England’s biggest overseas tests in 2021.

Earlier in the day, a few hundred yards away, Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad were bowling in the Gabba nets when disbelief grew at the decision to let them both out. England has traditionally made a hash of it in Brisbane, but this test is right up there.

Then there was Jack Leach (L) who was targeted early on and never really recovered from it

Then there was Jack Leach (L) who was targeted early on and never really recovered from it

Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad were bowling in the Gabba nets when disbelief grew at the decision to leave them both out

Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad were bowling in the Gabba nets when disbelief grew at the decision to leave them both out

The morning had begun promisingly enough for Root’s side—even if they had opened their curtains to find that the gloom of the first day had been replaced by bright, almost harassing sunshine.

In the sixth day of the day, Robinson let Marcus Harris overtake low by Dawid Malan on the third slip for three, and it looked to be 30 to two when Stokes – with his fourth delivery in Tests since March – made one through the Warner defence. cut.

But replays revealed a major no-ball, giving Warner – 17 at the time – a deferment of payment. The drama wasn’t over yet as it soon became apparent that each of Stokes’ first three deliveries had not been balls either, but hadn’t been called off by the umpires.

For a time, the finger of blame was pointed at third umpire Paul Wilson. Since last year, it has been the job of the third official to guard the frontline and lighten the burden of his colleagues on the field with the help of technology.

After Robinson fired Harris, Stokes thought he bowled David Warner (above)

After Robinson fired Harris, Stokes thought he bowled David Warner (above)

But replays revealed a major no-ball, giving Warner - 17 runs at the time - a reprieve

But replays revealed a major no-ball, giving Warner – 17 runs at the time – a reprieve

In another twist, however, the technology was found to be faulty, forcing match officials to revert to the old system of controlling only wicket-taking deliveries. And the saga turned downright farce when it turned out that Stokes had been overrun 14 times in his five overs before lunch. Only once was he called on the field.

Meanwhile, Warner – who has a history of making big runs after a no-ball delay – and Labuschagne set out to turn a quiet morning across England into a minor car accident, thrashing 42 of the last five overs of the session when they hit Leach. came in .

Rory Burns, who has a test to forget, then dropped Warner at 48 on the second slip in the first left after Robinson’s lunch, before Haseeb Hameed missed a shy up close as Warner, now at 60, was stranded on the grass lay.

But England fought back on both sides of the tea. The tenacious Wood left Steve Smith for 12 – his cheapest Ashes layoff in four years – before Robinson spooned Warner to Stokes halfway for 94, then threw Cameron Green, who brought his arms to his first ball.

Rory Burns, who has a test to forget, then dropped Warner at 48 on the second slip

Rory Burns, who has a test to forget, then dropped Warner at 48 on the second slip

Haseeb Hameed missed a shy up close when Warner, now 60, stranded on the turf

Haseeb Hameed missed a shy up close when Warner, now 60, stranded on the turf

When Woakes let Ollie Pope catch Alex Carey for 12 on a toe-ended pull, Australia was 236 for six, leading by 89.

But England began to burst at the seams, and Head cashed in excitingly. Having entered the tea interval with no zero deliveries, he technically became the first to score a Test hundred during a session at the Gabba, bringing in three. figures with a slash through the covers of Woakes.

Root had caught Cummins on leg slip for 12, but England’s chaotic day was summed up when a beamer from Wood slammed into the jaw through his glove, Malan stumbled – apparently with a tight hamstring – and Jos Buttler put down an inside rim as Mitchell Starc drove to Wood.

This series is only two days old, but England already looks like a mess.

On either side of the tea, however, England fought back, but in the end the side looked a mess

On either side of the tea, however, England fought back, but in the end the side looked a mess

TOP SPIN AT THE TEST

1) Travis Head reached his third Test hundred in just 85 balls – making it the joint third fastest Ashes century in history.

Only the Australian Adam Gilchrist (57 balls in Perth in 2006-07) and the English Gilbert Jessop (76 in The Oval in 1902) were faster. Australia’s Joe Darling also reached 100 at 85, in Sydney in 1897-98.

2) Head became the first to score a Test 100 during a session at the Gabba. Although he walked out to bat for tea, he didn’t have to deal with a delivery until after the break.

3) Jack Leach’s numbers of 11-0-95-1 were just below an unwelcome record. Only Pakistan leg spinner Yasir Shah has pitched more than 10 overs in a Test innings at a higher economy-rate.

At Sydney in 2016-17, he finished 14-0-124-1 – a pace of 8.85 and ahead of Leach’s 8.63.

4) David Warner has made a habit of cashing in after being sent off by a no-ball. On four previous occasions, the Australian opener has progressed to a Test century after a postponement, including against England in Melbourne in 2016-17, when he was given a life at 99 after Tom Curran went too far. On the second day here, he broke the series by falling for 94.

5) Steve Smith’s layoff for 12, caught behind Mark Wood, was his cheapest in 12 Ashes innings, dating back to November 2017 in Adelaide when he made six.

Between that knock and this one, he’d plundered England’s attack for 1,461 runs in two runs at an average of 121, a run of six hundred.

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