Stokes heroics not enough as Australians take 2-0 Ashes lead | The Sporting Base
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Stokes heroics not enough as Australians take 2-0 Ashes lead

July 3, 2023

Stokes heroics not enough as Australians take 2-0 Ashes lead

Australia have taken a 2-0 Ashes lead behind a 43-run victory over England amid a tense final day at Lord’s overnight despite a phenomenal Ben Stokes century.

England entered Day 5 at 4-for-114 chasing 471 with Ben Duckett (50*) and Stokes (29*) both established at the crease.

Stokes smashed his way to nine-four, nine-six 155 that was eerily reminiscent of his famous heroics at Headingley in 2019 before Josh Hazlewood stepped up to dismiss the England skipper.

Steve Smith took home Player of the Match honours thanks a classy, opening innings ton.

England won the toss and sent Australia into bat on a grassy wicket under cloud cover but failed to reap the rewards with the visitors finishing with a first innings total of 416.

Smith (110) top-scored whilst Travis Head (77) and David Warner (66) provided handy knocks.

Josh Tongue took three wickets in his Ashes debut whilst Ollie Robinson also added a trio of dismissals.

Duckett got England off to a sensational start before top-edging a shot down Warner’s throat off the bowling of Hazlewood two runs short of his ton.

England were flying at 1-for-188 before a series of odd shots led to a rapid collapse with the final three wickets falling for just a single run as the hosts were bowled out for 325.

Duckett (98), Harry Brook (50), and Zak Crawley (48) were the top scorers with Mitchell Starc, Hazlewood, and Head all taking multiple wickets.

Nathan Lyon picked up a calf injury in the field with the legendary offspinner expected to miss the remainder of the series in a major blow for Australia.

Despite nudging their way to 1-for-123, Australia were bowled out for 279 in their second innings after a batting collapse of their own.

Usman Khawaja (77) was the only Australian to surpass 35 as they set England a tall but gettable target of 371.

Lyon limped his way to the crease for a 15-run, 10th-wicket stand with Starc that earnt a rare ovation from the Lord’s faithful.

Stuart Broad took four wickets with Tongue and Robinson each taking two.

The visitors enjoyed a dream period to start the final innings with England unable to handle the Australian quicks, dropping to 4-for-45 early in the piece with Starc and Pat Cummins taking two wickets apiece.

Duckett and Stokes steadied the ship for England to set up a decisive final day, despite the English opener skying a shot to Starc on 50 before being controversially called back by the video umpires.

Duckett was the first to fall on Day 5 for 83 off the bowling of Hazlewood before Jonny Bairstow was dismissed in bizarre fashion.

After ducking a Cameron Green bouncer, the English wicketkeeper peculiarly moved outside his crease with an astute Alex Carey tossing the ball at the stumps to dismiss him and send the English crowd into a frenzy.

Stokes continued motoring to triple figures and beyond but the day belonged to the Australians with the final four wickets falling for just 26 runs.

Starc, Cummins, and Hazlewood each took three wickets as the veteran legion of quicks expelled their 2019 Headingley demons in an eventful final day.

Australia will journey to Headingley for the third Test on Thursday with an opportunity to seal the country’s first series win on English soil in over two decades.


 

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