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Mark Wood’s Performance and Marsh’s century set the stage for a thrilling Ashes

Mark Wood

An enthralling first day at Headingley witnessed an electrifying performance from England’s Mark Wood, who claimed five wickets, but the outcome of the crucial third Ashes Test hangs in the balance. England managed to dismiss Australia for 263 runs despite a sensational century by Mitchell Marsh. However, England stumbled in their response and ended the day at 68-3, trailing by 195 runs.

Winning the toss proved advantageous for England as they exploited the quick pitch to reduce Australia to 85-4. The situation seemed dire for the visitors until Mitchell Marsh entered the scene and unleashed a stunning assault, smashing 118 runs off just as many balls. Marsh dominated the game with a partnership of 155 runs alongside Travis Head, hitting 17 fours and four sixes.

England’s fielding, plagued by four dropped catches, including crucial ones of Marsh and Head early in their innings, added to their woes. However, England made a roaring comeback after Marsh fell in the final over before tea. Australia, at 240-4, suffered a major collapse, losing their last six wickets for just 23 runs. Wood, making his first appearance in the series, displayed a thrilling exhibition of high pace and claimed remarkable figures of 5-34, with his speed peaking at 96.5mph.

England had a daunting task of batting for 90 minutes in the evening and lost Ben Duckett and Harry Brook to Pat Cummins. Marsh also contributed with the ball, dismissing Zak Crawley. At the end of the day, Joe Root remained unbeaten at 19, while Jonny Bairstow stood firm on one. England is aiming to overturn a 2-0 series deficit and prevent Australia from securing the Ashes urn at the earliest opportunity.

The first day at Headingley provided gripping cricket, amidst the hype surrounding the Test. Prior to the match, the focus was on the contentious dismissal of Jonny Bairstow at Lord’s, leading to expectations of a hostile atmosphere from the Leeds crowd. Following a few boos during the Australian national anthem, Stuart Broad continued his dominance over David Warner, dismissing him for the 16th time in his career on just the fifth ball of the day.

Mark Wood’s scintillating pace thrilled the crowd during his opening spell. Once Steve Smith was caught behind off the inside edge for 22, courtesy of Broad’s delivery in his 100th Test, the famous Western Terrace erupted as Australia found themselves at 85-4. However, Mitchell Marsh silenced the England supporters with his imperious knock, taking advantage of the dropped chance by Joe Root to amass 113 runs in the second session before falling to Chris Woakes.

Wood once again took centre stage, delivering a spell of sheer brilliance. He took four wickets for just five runs in a span of 16 balls, dismantling the Australian tail and revitalising England’s chances in the match. However, Australia struck back late in the day, claiming three crucial wickets. Jonny Bairstow emerged as a determined figure in the closing moments as England sought to dig in and stabilise their innings.

READ: Ashes 3rd test betting preview: England v Australia

Mark Wood’s electrifying performance with the ball was a testament to his impact on the game. Having missed the first two Tests due to various injuries, Wood’s presence could have potentially altered the course of the series. The Durham fast bowler consistently clocked speeds of 95mph, making life difficult for the Australian batsmen. He dismantled Usman Khawaja’s stumps with a full, fast, and in-swinging delivery, displaying his sheer skill and pace.

England’s missed opportunities hindered their otherwise impressive bowling effort. Bairstow failed to hold onto a more challenging chance off Ollie Robinson, while Root dropped a catch above his head after a cut by Alex Carey. However, Root redeemed himself by successfully taking a catch to dismiss Travis Head. Chris Woakes, playing his first Test under captain Ben Stokes, bowled accurately and found movement, but it was Wood who stole the spotlight with his remarkable performance.

Wood’s average pace throughout the innings was recorded at 90.5mph, a speed only surpassed by Australia’s Brett Lee in 2005 among fast bowlers in England. His sheer pace unsettled and dismissed Carey, who faced boos from the crowd, as he was struck on the head by a bouncer from Wood and subsequently caught while attempting a slash to the cover.

Cummins was later pinned lbw, Mitchell Starc had his stumps rattled, and debutant Todd Murphy was castled off an inside edge as Wood achieved his first five-wicket haul in England.

Making a notable return to Test cricket, all-rounder Mitchell Marsh proved his worth. Absent from Test matches for four years, since the fifth Test of the previous Ashes series in England, Marsh was brought into the Leeds Test due to fellow all-rounder Cameron Green’s injury. Batting at 85-4, Marsh displayed his destructive capabilities by aggressively attacking the English bowling attack. His powerful strokes saw him hit three out of his four sixes off the fast bowlers into the stands.

England’s innings began on an uncertain note, with Ben Duckett falling to a rising delivery from Pat Cummins after attempting a cut shot and scoring just two runs. Harry Brook, promoted to number three, had a jittery start and was caught by the Australian skipper at second slip, managing only three runs. Marsh, in his second over, found a hint of movement away from Zak Crawley’s bat, resulting in an edge and dismissal after Crawley had seemed settled on 33.

Mitchell Marsh’s exceptional contributions with both bat and ball could prove pivotal in shaping the outcome of the match.

Although batting conditions tend to improve at Headingley as the Test progresses, there is a lingering sense that England missed out on capitalizing on their initial advantageous position due to the dropped catches.

Mark Wood’s electrifying pace and Mitchell Marsh’s brilliant century set the stage for an enthralling contest at Headingley. As the game unfolds, it remains to be seen which team will seize the opportunity and gain the upper hand in this critical Ashes Test.

England are currently paying +102 with the top cricket betting sites to claim the third Test, while Australia sit at +115 to claim the series and win the third test.

Australia to win


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