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5 Ashes talking points from England vs Australia day two as Warner and Head star

Australia scored 343-7 on day two of the first Ashes Test, ending the day’s play with a first innings lead of 196 runs

Jos Buttler: England need to bring A-game to beat Australia

England desperately needed to make early breakthroughs on day two of the first Ashes Test after they were bowled out for just 147 in their first innings.

They did manage to remove Marcus Harris in the sixth over, with Ollie Robinson getting him caught at slip for just three, but that was the only source of celebration for England in a frustrating morning session.

David Warner was given a life when replays showed Ben Stokes had overstepped when he bowled him for 17 and the opener proceeded to cash in, falling just six runs short of his 25th Test hundred.

Marnus Labuschagne batted beautifully for most of his innings, putting on a 156-run partnership with Warner, before inexplicably spooning a catch to point off Jack Leach on 74.

Steve Smith, so often England’s chief tormentor in the Ashes, did not look at ease before he was dismissed by Mark Wood for 12.

Two more wickets followed soon after, with Robinson get Warner caught at cover and then bowling Cameron Green in successive deliveries.

Alex Carey also fell to Chris Woakes for 12, with Australia reduced to 236-6 having been 189-2 at one point.

Joe Root picked up the late wicket of Pat Cummins, but a quick-fire 112 not out from Travis Head saw Australia their lead to 196 by the close of play.

Here are five talking points from the day’s play.

Ollie Robinson put in an impressive performance on his Ashes debut
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Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Robinson’s impressive Ashes debut

Robinson took to international cricket brilliantly this summer, picking up 28 wickets at an average of just 19.60 in his first five Tests.

As a result of his impressive start, he was one of the three seamers England preferred over veteran superstars James Anderson and Stuart Broad for the first Ashes Test.

And the 28-year-old enjoyed a good start to Ashes cricket, bowling well with the new ball and picking up the important early wicket of Harris for three.

He bowled well all day and found more rewards after tea, picking up two wickets in two balls as he dismissed Warner and Green.

England’s missed opportunity

After getting the wicket of Harris, England attempted to make further inroads but the luck did not go their way.

First, Stokes thought he had sent Warner packing for just 17 with a beautiful delivery before replays showed he had overstepped and Warner was given a reprieve.

Stokes had overstepped in every ball in the over up to that point but the third umpire failed to call any of them as no balls, with Ricky Ponting describing it as “pathetic officiating”.

Labuschagne also survived a couple of scares, with an edge off Woakes falling just short of first slip when he was on ten and a mistimed pull off Stokes falling short of Ollie Pope

Speaking on BBC Test Match Special, ex-Australia captain Ian Chappel said: “England have bowled well but nothing is going for them – they’ve just got to keep bowling the good balls.

“The fortune is going Australia’s way. England tend to have such misfortune and it does get the better of Joe Root as captain. You just have to shrug it off.”

Australia attack Leach

England’s decision to pick the spinner ahead of Broad has already been a source of much debate and they would have been hoping Leach could hold down an end and support their seamers on day two.

However, Australia had no intention of letting Leach settle into his spell, with Warner taking him to the cleaners in his second over.

Warner launched Leach down the ground for back-to-back sixes, before Labuschagne slapped him through the covers for four in an over which cost England 17 runs.

In Leach’s next over, Labuschagne also tonked him for six, leaving him with figures of 0-31 from his three overs before lunch.

Leach did eventually pick up the wicket of Labuschagne, but the Australian assault did not relent and he finished the day’s play with 1-95 from 11 overs.

David Warner was given a life on 17 when he was bowled by a Ben Stokes no ball and went on to make a hundred
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Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Warner battles to 94

It was far from his most convincing innings, but Warner battled hard against some very good bowling from England to score 94.

He was bowled by a no ball from Stokes on 17, dropped by Burns on 48 and then survived a run-out chance on 60.

Warner capitalised on those reprieves and, despite falling short of a hundred, his innings and partnership with Labuschagne ensured Australia took the lead.

Travis Head scored a brilliant counter-attacking hundred off just 85 balls
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Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Head’s brilliant counter-attack

When Head came into bat, Australia were in the midst of a mini-collapse after losing four wickets for just 29 runs.

England had mounted a fightback and had an opportunity to bowl Australia out and limit their first-innings lead.

However, Head counter-attacked England’s bowler’s brilliantly, striking the third-fastest hundred in Ashes history off just 85 balls to stretch Australia’s lead to almost 200.

Speaking on BBC Test Match Special, ex-England spinner Phil Tufnell said: “Well played, Travis Head. He felt the room and the feeling of England that they had a glimmer of hope.

“He weathered the pressure and then felt the bowling attack was on their last legs and he has counter-attacked beautifully.”

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