Following a swashbuckling start to England’s innings, the visitors wrestled back the momentum in the final session with three quick scalps. It was Australia’s batting hero, Steve Smith, who pulled off a stunning catch to dismiss former England skipper Joe Root to deliver a massive blow to the home side.
England came out all guns blazing after making quick work of the Australian lower order despite Steve Smith’s momentous 32nd Test century at the home of cricket. While the home side lost two quick wickets in the form of a well-set Ollie Pope and Ben Duckett, Australia struck gold with their short-ball ploy against Joe Root.
The former England skipper, who was handed an early reprieve against a short-ball after Cameron Green had overstepped, had to depart after mistiming a pull shot. Taking on a well-directed bouncer from Mitchell Starc, Root top-edged the ball towards Steve Smith, who dove full length to take a stunning catch.
— Vaishnavi Iyer (@Vaishnaviiyer14) June 29, 2023
Steve Smith takes a stunner to send back Joe Root for 10(19).
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— CricTracker (@Cricketracker) June 29, 2023
Australia’s short-ball ploy rattles the hosts
Australia were expected to make early inroads during England’s batting innings as the surface has something for the pacers even on the second day of the Test. However, the home side’s relentless approach with the bat, coupled with Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood’s erratic spell, saw the English openers make merry in the second session.
While Zak Crawley fell just two short of a brisk half-century, his opening partner, Ben Duckett missed out on a glittering century by the same margin. Despite being under the pump for much of the day, Australia returned the favour by dismissing three English batters in one hour. The Australian pacers even tested English skipper Ben Stokes with their short-ball ploy, with Stokes taking a couple of hits to his body.