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Report, 3rd Test Day 2: England batting coach Graham Thorpe said they will not give up hope of saving the third Test against Australia, but a woeful batting display from the hosts on Friday left them with a mountain to climb to regain the Ashes.
Trailing 1-0 in the series and replying to Australia’s far from daunting first-innings total of 179, England’s key batsmen fell cheaply, several chasing aggressive shots, as the hosts were bowled out for 67 at Headingley.
That total was their 12th lowest of all time in Tests and lowest against Australia since 1948.
Joe Denly was the only player to reach double figures, top scoring with 12 runs — the lowest top score for an England batsman in Test history.
Australia, who as holders need one more win to retain the Ashes, lost six wickets themselves on a remarkable second day in Leeds, but Marnus Labuschagne (53 not out) steered them to a lead of 283, which seems beyond a woefully out-of-form England.
In the one-day format, England won the World Cup on home soil last month, with many of the same players who have played in the Ashes.
Yet England’s euphoric fans were brought crashing down to earth in the first Test innings following that triumph, after they were bowled out for 85 by Ireland, who were playing only their third-ever Test match.
Six of the top seven who took to the field in that first innings capitulation, started at Headingley in the third Ashes Test.
Jason Roy averaged over 63 in the World Cup, firing four half centuries and one 100, including 85 against Australia in the semi-final, but was again out attacking a ball he did not need to at Headingley.
Stokes, England’s World Cup final hero, was another guilty of a wild, needless shot when being dismissed.
England’s batsmen still seem to be playing with a one-day format focus. Forty of their 67 runs came as boundaries and nine batsmen hit at least one four.
Stokes was out for eight off 13 balls and Roy nine of 15. In comparison, Australia’s Labuschagne played a much more Test-like innings, leaving the balls he needed to, making an unbeaten 53 off 139 balls.
(With inputs from Reuters)