The Australian bowlers were at their level best in the last session on Day 2 of the ongoing third Ashes Test against England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The visitors didn’t get even a second of breathing space as Aussie pacers owned the last hour of the day where they kept asking tough questions from the England batters.
After bundling out Australia for 267, England were 82 runs behind and needed a strong reply from their batters to continue the momentum. However, the Aussies had some other plans as they completely dominated in the last hour of play.
It all started with a double blow affected by pacer Mitchell Starc on consecutive deliveries in the fifth over of England’s second innings. Starc steamed in and removed opener Zak Crawley (5) with a stunning outswinger before getting rid of Dawid Malan on a golden duck. The left-armer almost got to his hat-trick after beating English skipper Joe Root off the outside edge.
The epic Starc’s over was repeated by debutant Scott Boland when he came to bowl the 11th over of the innings. Boland dismissed opener Haseeb Hamid (7) on the third ball of his over, and only one ball later, he removed nightwatchman, Jack Leach by shattering the latter’s stumps to reduce England at 22/4. The tourists added nine more runs to finish the second day at 31/4 in 12 overs, with England still 51 runs behind.
Earlier, James Anderson registered his best-ever figures on Australian soil, picking up four wickets while conceding 33 runs in 23 overs, including 10 maidens. Anderson, who had dismissed David Warner on the first day, got rid of Steve Smith (16), Marcus Harris (76), and Pat Cummins (21) to complete his four-for.
Apart from Anderson, Ollie Robinson (2/64) and Mark Wood (2/71) picked up two wickets each, while Ben Stokes (1/47) and Leach (1/46) bagged one wicket apiece.
Here is how Twitter reacted:
England didn't even have a batsman ready.
Absolute comedy capers. #Ashes
— Tim Michell (@tim_michell) December 27, 2021
— Trent Copeland (@copes9) December 27, 2021
I know Boland and Starc took the wickets but blimey… Cummins isn’t ever not a threat. Just consistently brilliant. #ashes
— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) December 27, 2021
They’re on their feet for Scotty Boland as he wanders down to field in front of Bay 13 #Ashes
— Andrew McCormack (@_AMcCormack7) December 27, 2021
Have seen faster, more furious bowling from Australians against England than Pat Cummins but for consistent threat game after game, he's been sensational for three successive series now. Unreal.
— Will Macpherson (@willis_macp) December 27, 2021
Uff James Anderson first and now Pat Cummins. It’s felt like being at the Woodstock of fast bowling today at the MCG, without the intoxicants #Ashes
— Bharat Sundaresan (@beastieboy07) December 27, 2021
Remember how we used to be in those tug-of-war competitions? Once the big fellow at the back started to move, we were gone. England are like that, playing like they have nowhere to go.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 27, 2021
Four down at stumps.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) December 27, 2021
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) December 27, 2021
An incredible day of Test cricket, England on top, then Australia take the momentum right back!!
England minus 51-4 at stumps on Day 2
Poor Joe Root, so much on his shoulders#Ashes
— ThePoppingCrease (@PoppingCreaseSA) December 27, 2021