Ashes 3rd Test: Travis Head’s explosive 77 helps Aus set England a target of 251 (Day 3, Stumps)


Leeds [UK] : After rain kept the players off the field for the majority of the day, Travis Head’s fireworks with the willow in the 34 overs bowled thereafter enlivened proceedings under grey skies till the close of play on Day 3 of the third Ashes 2023 Test at Headingley on Saturday.

At the end of Day 3, England, chasing 251 to stay alive in the series, managed to post 27/0 on the board, with Zack Crawley and Ben Duckett unbeaten on the crease at their individual scores of 9 (11)* and 18 (19)* respectively. With only a handful of overs left to play on Day 3, Ben Duckett drew cheers from the Barmy Army with some delightful strokes.

Before Duckett took the crease, it was Travis Head who hogged the batting honours on a rain-hit day to ensure his team had a total to defend going into the Day 4.

Mitchell Marsh and Head strode out in the opening session on Day 3, with a clear objective to drive the lead and play the hosts out of the series. The duo resumed their partnership with the visitors staring down the barrel at 116/4.

The right-left batting pair began the day steadily before Marsh’s dismissal marked the beginning of a slide that saw Australia skittled out for 224 in their second dig.

Chris Woakes, who was brought into the attack by England skipper Ben Hopes in the desperate hope of a turnaround, found success by bowling a disciplined line and length.

Marsh. who seemed to have made up his mind to not play deliveries too far outside off, fell to a moment of indiscretion as he was caught in two minds on whether to commit to a shot outside off or let the ball through.

The batting ended up kissing his glove before landing safely into the hands of Bairstow behind the wickets. The centurion from the first innings departed for just 28 (52) in the second dig.

Alex Carey came in and looked breezy with the bat. He struck a boundary off Woakes but soon lost his wicket in a similar fashion as Marsh.
He tried to leave a ball, which ricocheted off his gloves and clipped the bails. Carey fell for 5 (14).

With Australia losing their last recognised batter, Head decided to open out and unleash himself on the English attack.

Starc also joined the party as he pulled off two boundaries in a row. The first one had an element of luck about it as the ball flew past Bairstow for four byes.

The next, however, was a sumptuous drive that screamed to the fence of tearaway Mark Wood.

However, Wood had the last laugh as he dismissed Starc for 16 (19). Pat Cummins was next to be sent back as Wood dismissed the Aussie skipper for 1(8).

With wickets falling in a heap at the other end, Head kept up his onslaught on Woakes and Wood, bringing up his 50 with a four.

Broad came into the attack to dismiss Todd Murphy, trapping him right in front of the wickets for 11(10).

Head was the final batter to fall as he tried to clear the boundary but ended up hitting it straight into the hands of Duckett for a valiant 77(112).

England will need a further 224 runs on the final two days with still 10 wickets in their hands.

Brief Score: Australia 263 & 224 (Travis Head 77, Khawaja 43 ; Broad 3-35) vs England 237 & 27/0 (Ben Duckett 18* , Zack Crawly 9*).

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