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Cricket-England seamers wreck Australia top order

Randy Mancini 3 Jan 14
England Nets
FILE PHOTO: Cricket - England Nets - SWALEC Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 7/7/15. A replica of the Ashes urn on the ground. Action Images via Reuters / Philip Brown. Livepic

January 14, 2022

(Reuters) – England reduced Australia to 85-4 as their seamers gave the tourists a dream start in the fifth and final Ashes test at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval on Friday.

Having already lost the series following heavy defeats in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne, England’s all-seam attack reduced Australia to 12-3 inside 10 overs.

Marnus Labuschagne, who capitalised on an early reprieve to make a breezy 44, and Travis Head arrested Australia’s slide with a counter-attacking stand of 71 off 74 balls.

Head was batting on 31 at the break with Cameron Green on two at the other end.

Earlier, England captain Joe Root won an important toss and elected to field under an overcast sky hoping his bowlers would exploit the conditions.

The all-seam attack, minus veteran James Anderson, did not let him down.

Usman Khawaja had forced his retention after his twin hundreds batting in the middle order in Sydney but walked out to open the innings alongside David Warner as Head recovered from COVID-19 to reclaim his number five position.

Ollie Robinson drew first blood in the sixth over when Zak Crawley took a catch in the second slip to send back Warner after a 22-ball duck.

Crawley spilled Labuschagne, yet to open his account, in Robinson’s next over, diving to his left in what could have been a regular catch for Root at first slip.

The England captain was involved in the next dismissal when Khawaja edged Stuart Broad to depart for six.

Crawley did not make a mistake when Robinson induced an edge from Steve Smith, who was dismissed for a duck.

Labuschagne decided to counter-attack to ease the pressure despite his occasional failure to middle the ball and time his shots.

He nonchalantly flicked Chris Woakes for a six before his bizarre dismissal for 43 close to the dinner break.

The right-hander was bowled around his leg by Broad after he had shuffled outside off-stump and slipped over.

(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)