Australia’s dominance in the final Test of the Ashes continued on day two when, despite being knocked out, they toppled England openers cheaply.
At the dinner break, England had their backs to the wall after a giddy start to the inning that saw Rory Burns run for a duck and Zak Crawley caught in the short leg of Pat Cummins. England reached the break on 34 for two in response to Australia’s 303.
Opening for the first time together, Crawlkey and the recalled Burns got off to a horrible start. It was one of those rare outs where both batters were at fault. There might have been only one there, but Crawley left, then hesitated, then left. Burns was caught off guard and was never very interested in running; there was no diving. That left him an inch short when Marnus Labuschagne’s close-range throw for offside crashed into the stumps.
Burns was off for a duck, his seventh in 12 months and eighth in 22 innings. At that time, it could already have been given. With the last ball from Mitchell Starc’s first shot, Burns appeared to play and miss the off-stump side. There was a half call from Australia, but no response from the referee. For Australia, there was no cost. A six-ball duck remained a six-ball duck.
Crawley again played some attractive shots but was fired for 18 as Centurion Travis Head jumped short legged to take a clean catch. This brought Joe Root in early, and he was troubled by Cummins’ consistency.
While on the face of it England finishing Australia’s last four wickets for 62 was no disaster, the hosts got all the momentum in the innings breaks thanks to a run of six from Nathan Lyons.
Mark Wood, after picking up Cameron Green on the first night, fired Starc and Cummins with his shortball tactic. It didn’t work against Lyon, who threw three beautiful sixes, including one sailing off the ground.
Chris Woakes beat Alex Carey, whose struggles continued, but Scott Boland joined Lyon to add 33 more for the final wicket. Stuart Broad concluded the innings bowling in Lyon.