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Ashes Day 2 Recap: tensions rise as Stokes shines and Bairstow- Smith clash

Ben Stokes

The third day of the Ashes contest brought intense moments and crucial developments as the battle between Australia and England continued at a gripping pace. The match remained finely poised, with both teams fighting hard to gain the upper hand.

Australia started the day at 61/1 in their first innings, and the morning session saw a sensational display of bowling by Pat Cummins. The Australian speedster wreaked havoc, claiming six wickets for just 91 runs. His accurate and relentless bowling posed significant challenges for the English batsmen, leading to four crucial dismissals in the session.

Meanwhile, Steve Smith showcased his exceptional fielding skills, taking five catches in the innings. Smith’s performance equaled the Test record for a non-wicketkeeper, highlighting his contribution beyond his batting prowess.

England, after a strong start, faltered against Cummins’ bowling. However, Ben Stokes emerged as the saviour once again. Stokes, known for his ability to counterattack, played a scintillating innings of 80 runs. He combined with the tailenders to add 95 runs in just 10 overs after lunch, significantly reducing the deficit between the two teams.

Stokes’ knock was filled with aggressive strokes, including six fours and five sixes, leaving the Australian bowlers struggling to contain him. Fans at home were left in awe of his remarkable display of power hitting. However, the broadcasting of the match received criticism for not providing a satisfactory viewing experience.

As the day progressed, Australia faced setbacks in their second innings. David Warner fell early, once again dismissed by Stuart Broad, who extended his dominance over the Australian opener. Australia’s strong position at 1/68 was undermined by Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith’s dismissals.

Labuschagne’s poor shot selection resulted in his downfall, while Smith’s departure further highlighted the tension within the Australian team. Smith’s frustration was evident as he engaged in a verbal exchange with Jonny Bairstow, who couldn’t resist giving Smith a send-off.

Despite the setbacks, Australia managed to maintain a lead of 142 runs at the close of play, finishing the day at 4/116. Travis Head and Mitch Marsh displayed resilience and composure, surviving to stumps with the hope of building a substantial lead on day three.

The day also witnessed some off-field banter, as David Warner’s struggles against Stuart Broad led to mockery from Broad’s father, ICC match referee Chris Broad. The social media post added a touch of humour amidst the intense competition.

As the series progressed, the tension between the teams became palpable, with every run and wicket carrying significant weight. Australia’s hopes of wrapping up the series early rested on Head and Marsh, who would need to continue their sensible batting to push the lead as far beyond 200 as possible.

The match remained finely balanced, with both teams aware of the significance of every session and every run scored. As the players prepared for day three, anticipation and excitement filled the air, setting the stage for another day of enthralling cricket in the historic Ashes series.

Australia have currently moved out a little to +120 with the top cricket betting sites to claim the third Test and win the Ashes series, while England sit at +112 to claim their first win in this five-match series.

Third Test match betting – Ashes 2023

England to win


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