Another day of Test cricket, and another day of England leaving the field with a sense of frustration and resignation.
After a brilliant start, fans who’ve had very little to cheer about may have started to dream of a consolation win in a series from hell, but instead it was advantage Australia as rain halted play just after 9pm AEDT.
The phrase ‘a good toss to win’ can be overused, but it was certainly the case here, Hobart offering one of the greenest tops ever seen on these shores.
AS IT HAPPENED: Rain halts play after Head century
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England won that coin flip and sent Australia in – taking full advantage in the opening ten overs, having the hosts 3-12 – and lucky not to be four, when Marnus Labuschagne was dropped by Zak Crawley while on a duck.
No matter how you slice it, England were essentially born on third base today and got thrown out at home – a magnificent opportunity squandered.
It’s unclear what the visitors were doing after that brilliant start, as the Australians essentially decided there was no point digging into the trenches, and instead opting for offence as the best defence.
In the field, England obliged, with far too many loose balls coupled with very defensive field placements.
Labuschagne made 44 runs more than he should have before finally experiencing some bad luck in this series, slipping over and watching a Stuart Broad delivery skittle his stumps.
Labuschagne falls in astonishing dismissal
That brought Cameron Green to the crease, and he and Travis Head continued to add to the scoreboard at nearly a run a ball, before the latter was dismissed meekly 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 tough to imagine the team without him – and slightly serendipitous that the only two men who’ve recorded multiple centuries during this Ashes are the two who were supposed to fight over one single spot in Head and Usman Khawaja.
A nice bit of game planning eventually got Green to hole out to Crawley for 74, but by then it was too late – Australia look likely to cruise past 300 yet again, a milestone England are yet to reach a single time since their arrival.
Maybe day two will bring a change of fortunes for England, but even if it does, how long will it last?
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