Ashes: Travis Head reaches brilliant last century of testing as Australia battle to thwart England on day one
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The exceptional century of delighted Head led an offensive Australian retaliation from the 12-for-three wreck as a united England team withered in the final Ashes Test in Hobart.
England had made the dream start in the Test, then Stuart Broad landed the vital wicket of Marnus Labuschagne on the stroke of the first break. But Head and Cameron Green put Australia under full control, with the only wicket to drop being the delivery centurion after hitting the 112-bullet benchmark.
England had Australia 12-for-three in this day-to-night test, before Labuschagne and Head attacked the Tourists, sharing 71 in just 74 balls before the first break.
However, Broad hilariously took over Labuschagne. The world’s No.1 batter in the test stepped on his stumps in an attempt to turn Broad through the midwicket, but was upset and found himself on his knees.
England had made five changes, with wicket keeper Sam Billings making his test debut in place of injured Jos Buttler, while Jonny Bairstow also failed to prove his fitness after a thumbs-up during his century in Sydney. This led to a reprieve for Ollie Pope, as well as his Surrey captain Rory Burns, who replaced Haseeb Hameed.
In the bowling attack, Ollie Robinson and Chris Woakes replaced Jack Leach and James Anderson, who were in too much pain to play after three consecutive tests at the age of 39.
After Joe Root won the toss and chose to go bowling, Anderson may have found conditions – green pitch and slate gray skies – to his liking, but his only implication was showing Billings his cap. test.
Robinson did most of the early damage, picking up Steve Smith and David Warner for the ducks, both well caught in the second slip by Zak Crawley. The same defensive player however let down Labuschagne, diving to his right before scoring.
In a stunning opening spell, Broad also took the wicket from Usman Khawaja as Australia found themselves in big trouble 12-for-three.
Labuschagne and Head played fearlessly, however, facing England bowlers Chris Woakes and Mark Wood, whose first three overs went to 33. By the time Broad fired Labuschagne, England were in desperate need of a wicket.
In his first step after lunch, Robinson hurt himself, with a problem with his lower back, and no longer bowled. Head, backed by Green, took full advantage of the pressure on England’s attack. Woakes and Wood struggled, especially against Head, who was still looking to score and looked serene until his dismissal, which went against the course of the game.
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