The Ashes: England make strong start chasing 251 to win third Test and keep hopes of series victory alive | Cricket News


England made a fast start chasing 251 to win at Headingley and keep their Ashes hopes alive after Chris Woakes, Mark Wood and Stuart Broad each struck twice with the ball on an electrifying third evening.

Zak Crawley (8no) and Ben Duckett (11no) rattled along to 27-0 from five overs under sunlight – which had replaced the persistent rain from earlier in the day – as the requirement was whittled down to 224 thanks to three Duckett boundaries and one for Crawley.

Wet weather wiped out the opening two sessions on day three of the third Test and then returned after just one over once play eventually began at 4.45pm with Australia 116-4 and ahead by 142.

The second stoppage proved only fleeting and when the cricket resumed fans were treated to a scintillating two and a half hours, in keeping with the rest of a spellbinding series, as Australia were bowled out for 224 under initially leaden skies after adding 108 to their total, thanks principally to Travis Head’s 77.

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Australia are 2-0 up in the five-match contest and will secure a first series victory in England in 22 years if they win in Leeds, with England needing to triumph in the final three Tests to regain the urn Australia have held since drubbing their opponents 4-0 in 2017-18.

England seamers star but Stokes’ first-innings knock crucial

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Watch all six wickets to fall on day three of the third Ashes Test at Headingley in just 90 seconds!

Woakes (3-68) dismissed first-innings centurion Mitchell Marsh (28) and Alex Carey (5), while Wood (3-66) accounted for Mitchell Starc (16) and Pat Cummins (1) to reduce the Baggy Greens to 170-8.

Australia’s lead was 196 at that point but Head and Todd Murphy (11) then put on 41 for the ninth wicket before Murphy was pinned lbw by Broad (3-45) during a terrific over.

Broad then polished off the innings with half an hour left in the day when he had Head pouched at deep midwicket – the Australian falling shortly after creaming Wood for back-to-back sixes.

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Watch each of Ben Stokes’ five sixes – all off Australia spinner Todd Murphy – as he scored 80 from 108 balls at Headingley in England’s 237 all out

England’s bowlers have given them a chance of victory but it was captain Ben Stokes who kept them in the game a day earlier as he struck an innings-reviving 80 from 108 balls while battling a glute issue, propelling his side from 142-7 to 237 all out as they conceded a first-innings deficit of just 26 runs.

Recent history suggests Headingley is a great place to chase with West Indies knocking off 322 in 2017; a Stokes-inspired England reaching 359 against Australia in that remarkable 2019 Ashes Test; and the hosts scoring 269 versus New Zealand last summer.

The pitch is showing signs of variable bounce and Australia possess a fine bowling attack, albeit one shorn of off-spinner Nathan Lyon after his series-ending injury in the second Test at Lord’s.

Still, memories of Stokes’ 135 not out in Leeds four years ago will be in Australia’s minds – as will his stunning 155 at Lord’s last Sunday – and despite the England skipper being far from fully fit you would not bet against him playing the decisive hand at Headingley again.

Headingley run chases
Headingley chases

Rain wipes out two sessions before third electrifies

The fast-forward nature of this game – 24 wickets tumbled across the opening two days – meant even a complete day-three washout was unlikely to have prevented a positive result.

A cricketless Saturday looked entirely possibly at one point but the rain relented in time for the hosts to get the ball in their hands in ideal bowling conditions and they duly pounced.

Sky Sports’ Mark Butcher had said there could be some “indecision” from Australia and both Marsh and Carey were out as they looked to leave – Marsh gloving behind, Carey chopping on.

Travis Head (PA Images)
Travis Head’s 77 propelled Australia to 224 all out in their second innings

Starc then ballooned Wood behind square on the on-side where Harry Brook settled under the steepling catch having rushed round from short leg, before Cummins snicked behind to Jonny Bairstow.

Head’s heavy hitting ensured Australia added a further 54 runs from that point – 43 of them coming off his bat.

Watch day four of the third Ashes Test live on Sky Sports Cricket on Sunday. Build-up from 10.15am, first ball at 11am. You can stream the men’s and women’s Ashes series on NOW.


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