Ashes 2021-22: 5th Test, Day 1 – Travis Head nullifies England’s good start

Hobart made its Ashes and pink-ball debut and the opening day witnessed the fascinating play. England, after opting to bowl, had Australia on the ropes in the first hour of the day. But the hosts came back stunningly thanks to Marnus Labuschagne, Travis Head and Cameron Green who scored runs at a fair clip.

Rain washed out the majority of the final session with only 59.3 overs of play possible. Australia ended the day on 241/6 with Alex Carey and Mitchell Starc batting in the middle. For England, Sam Billings made his Test debut and became the 700th cricketer to play for his country in the whites.

Here are some of the talking points:

England picking three wickets upfront

For the first time in the series, England dominated the start of the Test match. Their pace bowlers made the most of the green pitch on offer as the ball swung a lot. David Warner bagged a 22-ball duck with Ollie Robinson finding the edge of his bat. Stuart Broad then sent back Usman Khawaja for just six while Robinson nipped out the crucial wicket of Steve Smith who also bagged a duck. Australia were reeling at 12-3 at one stage then and looked in all sorts of trouble.

Labuschagne finds himself in a tangle before getting out bowled

Marnus Labuschagne and his batting antics look great when they come off. But it was one of those odd days when his early shuffle led to him strangling himself before playing a shot. Looking at his shuffle, Broad delivered a ball at his stumps. Labuschagne tried to play his usual flick by putting his front leg across. However, he ended up hitting his bat to his pad and fell off awkwardly. At the same time, the red cherry thudded into the stumps. Labuschagne did well to score 44 off just 53 deliveries.

Travis Head’s counter-attacking ton and his partnership with Cameron Green

Travis Head has found his mojo in the second coming definitely. He came out to bat when Australia were reeling at 12/3 and the left-hander counter-attacked superbly. He took the England bowlers head on and found gaps at will. Mark Wood especially was at the receiving end. Despite losing Labuschagne after a quick start, Head continued playing his shots. In the process, he also got to a stunning century off just 112 deliveries. He got out on the very next ball but had done his job for the team by then.

At the same time, Head got an able ally in Cameron Green when Australia were 83/4 and the duo added 121 runs in around 26 overs of play. Green also scored 74 runs off 109 balls with 8 fours to his name.

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