Another day of test cricket, and another day of England leaving the pitch with a sense of frustration and resignation.
After a brilliant start, fans who have had little to cheer about may have begun to dream of a consolation win in a series from hell, but instead it was Australia’s advantage when rain stopped play just after 9 p.m. AEDT.
The phrase ‘a good pitch to win’ can be overused, but it was certainly the case here, Hobart offering one of the greenest crests ever seen on these shores.
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England won that coin toss and sent Australia inside, making the most of the first ten overs, holding the hosts 3-12, and lucky not to be four, when Zak Crawley brought down Marnus Labuschagne while he was in a duck.
No matter how you look at it, England was essentially born at third base today and was sent off at home, a magnificent wasted opportunity.
It’s unclear what the visitors were doing after that brilliant start, as the Aussies essentially decided there was no point in digging in the trenches and instead opted for offense as the best defence.
On the field, England complied, with too many loose balls coupled with very defensive field placements.
Labuschagne went 44 more races than he should have before finally experiencing some bad luck in this series, slipping and seeing a Stuart Broad delivery playing with his stumps.
Labuschagne goes down in staggering dismissal
That brought Cameron Green to the crease, and he and Travis Head went on to add almost a run per ball to the scoreboard, before the latter was meekly dismissed just one ball after celebrating his second century of the series.
Head was far from a guaranteed starter for the Aussies even two months ago, now it’s hard to imagine the team without him, and a bit fortuitous that the only two men to record multiple centuries during this Ashes are the two who were supposed to fight . about a single place in Head and Usman Khawaja.
A bit of game planning finally saw Green hole out Crawley for 74, but by then it was too late: Australia look likely to break 300 once more, a milestone England have yet to reach once since their arrival.
Perhaps day two will bring a change of fortune for England, but even if it does, how long will it last?
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