Travis Head

Lots to look back on Day 2 of the 2nd Test yesterday starting off with Australia’s continuous run chase from 300-3, where Marnus Labuschagne & Travis Head continued to shine for most of the 1st session after an excellent opening day shift that saw them hang in there & pile up runs for longer periods of time.

But their time in the middle has eventually came to an end in between towards the afternoon break & the early stages of the middle session; one was Marnus being caught behind by Joshua Da Silva off Devon Thomas not long before lunch on 163, and another was where Head couldn’t get back home on time as the non-striker that saw him being ran out by Da Silva on 175.

Then WI profited a few quick wickets through the tail order. Although keeper Alex Carey was the notable exception that kept Australia on the up with runs on the board; he too scored a quickfire 54-ball 41 before fill-in Captain Steve Smith declared at 511-7 for Australia. We would’ve loved to see him cap off with a Test 50 but played really well nonetheless.

And we fast forward to the 2nd innings play where Michael Neser fired off with back-to-back early wickets for the Aussies before that momentum helped them collect another two wickets by the end of Day 2, as WI will resume on 102-4 & 409 run trail going into Day 3 later this afternoon – with Tagenarine Chanderpaul on 47* & Anderson Phillip on 1*.

Hats off to Neser when he bowled a straight line & length that left Kraigg Braithwaite (19) & Sharmahr Brooks (8) straight back upstarts where their bats were knicked straight to Carey’s gloves. Same goes to Nathan Lyon with his caught & ball effort on Jermaine Blackwood (3), and nice to see Green get his wicket with a good bounce targeting off stump that saw Thomas (19) chopped on through the gate.

They’ve got this now to finish off the other WI batting card ASAP, while WI will want Tagenarine to hang in there with some back up at the other end. Otherwise, they will look for their tail enders again to try & fire it up downtown – If that’s the only way to turn themselves around like last week.

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Great start by the Aussies when they batted well throughout the opening day of the 2nd Test v West Indies at Adelaide Oval – thanks to their winning toss that puts them to pad up & bat first, as they will resume on 300-3 going into Day 2 later today at 3pm AEDT.

The Windies got away with an early advantage when David Warner‘s dipped downhill yet again, after he was caught behind by Joshua Da Silva’s gloves at the hands of Alzarri Joseph on 21. Meanwhile, Warner’s other opening partner in Usman Khawaja scored another decent half-knock well into the first half of the day, including after the first 40-minute afternoon break interval. 

Then WI struck back-to-back wickets in quick succession; one was an LBW when Devon Thomas dismissed Khawaja on 62 – even though Khawaja appealed the DRS review promptly & it wasn’t successful via umpire’s call, and another was a duck from Steve Smith after eight balls – thanks to a caught & bowl effort by Jason Holder.

But that doesn’t affect Australia’s batting progress too much when Marnus Labuschagne once again played another classy hundred for the third straight time so far in this series v WI, while Travis Head went one better this time with his 5th Test hundred in front of his hometown crowd, after he was so unlucky to be dismissed on 99 during the 2nd innings spell in Perth last week. Both players put Australia in a secure position just past the 300 mark, as Labuschagne & Head are still standing on 120* & 114* respectively. We’ve gotta say that it was tremendous to see them play at the highest level and stake their claims there, with Marnus locked up at first-drop for a long-time just like Ricky Ponting; And although Travis Head may have some dips in form along the way especially over the last 12 months, but again his class is permanent as his century yesterday shows that he wants to be batting at No.5 over the next few years like Marnus, having both been thrown into the deep end back in late 2018 v Pakistan while Australia were going through a dark period at the time thanks to the sandpaper gate in South Africa that led to the year-long bans of Steve Smith & Dave Warner. Speaking more of sandpaper gate, South Africa will be back playing here for three more Tests v Australia after this Test match concludes in a few days starting next Saturday at the Gabba in Brisbane.

For now, The Aussies has to keep up the good work they’re doing right now & bat for another half day before they declare & bring the bowlers in to start dismantling the WI batting card one-by-one, especially when WI opening & lower-order areas were so good to watch spells last week. So they need to get ready as soon as the opposition comes sometime later today/tonight and get them out ASAP. And WI better get the job done after a rough day out yesterday with the ball. Yes, their batting can be on par with the Aussies but needs support from their bowlers to limit as low as possible before WI can stand up for themselves & put up a good battle of Test Cricket.

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West Indies resumed on 193-2 with 306 runs left to win following a magnificent knock yesterday from the main man Kraigg Braithwaite while Australia just need eight wickets to go 1-0 up & retain the series trophy, with just a full day’s play left to go on Day 5 of the opening Test match here at Optus Stadium in Perth. 

Australia got away with early wickets on the board spearheaded by Nathan Lyon when not only he clean bowled the dangerous K. Braithwaite through the stumps on 110 – but a good restart also helped them dismantle the Windies middle order – with credit from Steve Smith who’s excellent with catching & diving up close using these soft hands at the slips area.

Then the West Indies still has plenty to offer following the lunch break on 258-7 – when the lower order pair of Roston Chase  (spinning all-rounder) & Alzarri Joseph (seamer) began to smack a couple of incredible shots immediately downtown that added more runs on the board between them while shaving off their team’s huge run trail at the same time. Sadly, they couldn’t hold on for much longer with time running out against them when there’s only two more players left to bat from the tail end.

Roston may have got his quickfire 50, but Alzarri didn’t get past 43 when that unreal partnership was stopped by Travis Head through the gate – before Lyon came back once more to finish off the damage – including Chase on 55 & a first-ball duck from Kemar Roach – that sealed both his six-wicket haul & the win for Australia by 164 runs. The home side will now head to Adelaide Oval alongside the series win at 1-0 with one Test match to spare v WI, before South Africa fly here for three more Tests later this month.

Wow!! Five days of Test Cricket where we saw so much competition from both teams with the bat. However, Australia’s all-round performance – such as Marnus Labuschagne’s back-to-back hundreds, as well as Steve Smith, Travis Head & Spinner Nathan Lyon – have put themselves further ahead in which was enough to finish off first with some energy left in the tank. Can’t wait for the Day-Night test starting on Thursday.

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Australia continued to build on such a huge lead for most of Day 2 yesterday where they left off from 293-2, thanks to three brilliant knocks made with the bat here at Optus Stadium in Perth. Marnus Labuschagne got his 2nd double test ton which is sensational to watch over the last day and a half – before he was caught behind shortly after on 204 by Joshua Da Silva from Kraigg Braithwaite’s off spin. 

Meanwhile, his double act Steve Smith returned to top form in a another stellar double ton that relfected Australia’s high-sky spell with the bat, as well as the partnership he & Marnus formed at the crease together. Plus, hats off to Travis Head who played really well on 99 – even though he was unlucky to be out by just one run off a potential Test 100 through the stumps also by Braithwaite. He may have been inconsistent at times over the last 12 months, but Head always have class on his side at age 28 right now that would hopefully see him stay at No.5 for another few years with the Baggy Green.

Fast forward to the 2nd innings play when Skipper Pat Cummins declared on 598-3 for Australia right after Head’s unlucky dismissal, West Indies fired off not bad with no wickets being fallen though tea & stumps on 67-0. Kraigg Braithwaite will pick up on 18 not out following his all-round display yesterday with the ball by looking to back up & hang in there, while Tagenarine Chanderpaul – who is the son of his famous father Shivnarine – has been extraordinary so far when smacking it at the other end with a few fours & one six on 47 not out. 

So the Windies may have escaped an early DRS appeal but there’s still a lot more catch-up when trying to shave down a huge run trail. However, as long as they stick to these simple basics approach planted right from the beginning, then we’ll never know where they will end up going into the final two days this weekend. And as for Australia, they should come off a hard-earned rest by being ready to do some damage with the ball & dismantle the whole Windies batting XI ASAP, after they couldn’t get away with no early wickets being taken towards the end of Day 2. It’s going to be either Australia’s brilliant restart with the ball or the Windies’s continued red-hot start that could go a long, long way when Test Cricket will resume later on Day 3 today.

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It’s over and done within three days of the 5th and final Ashes Test at Blundstone Arena in Hobart, Australia began Day 3 still on their 3rd innings spell on 37-3 where Keeper Alex Carey extended their lead to 270 after being all out for 155.

England then have to respond the 271 target to win not long after lunch, Unfortunately, they weren’t up to the task despite a good opening partnership as they are bowled out for 124 & Australia win by 146 runs + wrap up 4-0 in the series.

England disappointed once again when they showed some fight especially with the ball on hand, Stuart Broad can still be a threat to the opposition at age 35 alongside Mark Wood, who is outstanding, where he collected 3 wickets in the 1st & six in the 3rd innings.

Credit to Sam Billings filling-in the gloves for Jos Buttler as well as Zak Crawley with his numerous catches & 2nd innings spell as Opener on 36, however, the rest just couldn’t face up to the standard set by Australia which is where they were eaten up this quick before it was too late.

And Australia, how good is it to wrap up a 4-0 clean sweep with their 150th Test victory v England. Although there’s still some room for improvement from their Top 4 batsmen, but there’s a few that stood out amongst the Starting XI where they turned the tide and made their way towards the homestretch.

The fast bowling cartel is always in great hands with Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins & Scott Boland, the same goes to Travis Head with the bat who saved their day in Australia’s 1st innings spell and played extraordinary in the middle-order at 5 & Cameron Green can not only bat handy runs but also take wickets where he will be a long-term fixture here at No.6.

The Ashes is done for now here as the next edition will take place in England mid-2023, bring on the Australian Open Tennis over the next two weeks to round off the summer of sport starting today.

#Cricket #Ashes #BlundstoneArena #Australia #England #MarkWood #StuartBroad #TravisHead #CameronGreen #PatCummins #ScottBoland #MitchellStarc #ZakCrawley #SamBillings #AlexCarey #AUSvENG

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This is top-notch Test Cricket on Day 1 yesterday with both bat and ball from Australia and England at Blundstone Arena in Hobart, England off to a brilliant start having won the toss & bowled first through a earned a couple of early wickets but Australia fought back later on before rain called stumps slightly early for the night.

Australia is still batting in the middle at 241-6 going into Day 2 later this afternoon.

Credit to Ollie Robinson and Stuart Broad with the early wickets that sent the Australian top-order packing early, they bowled a good and fuller bounce plus the read on areas where the opposition struggled to execute and use it as their best strengths through to slip. Speaking of catches Zak Crawley made 3 which is nice from their opener on the field. However, but England just couldn’t hold Travis Head and Cameron Green accountable when these two came in & were punished with plenty of leaked runs, they better bat big in return with Rory Burns back in the side plus two new players in due to finger injury issues.

Australia would be disappointed with their Top 4 after they were dismissed cheaply against the England quicks, Usman Khawaja’s red-hot recall after his pair of centuries last week didn’t continue yesterday when he was moved from the middle-order to Opener with David Warner and so far it’s the complete opposite. While Warner & Steve Smith were booted for a duck, Labuschagne did bat okay on 44 then again his experimentation shot tying to hit leg-side was an error of his judgment when he was clean bowled by Broad.

In the end, it’s not all doom and gloom thanks to Travis Head who saved Australia’s 1st innings spell with another Test 100 at 5 when he come back from iso and batted big which is sensational as Head deserves his long-term spot here. Hats off also to all-rounder Cameron Green where he communicated well with Head before he secured another half-ton on 74, although Alex Carey & Mitchell Starc just came in bat not long before stumps but they can bat some handy runs before Australia bring their bowlers in.

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Travis Head will reclaim his spot at 5 after he was tested positive to COVID which saw him sit out the last test in Sydney, Usman Khawaja played an unreal spell in his place off the bat even though he usually comes in at top-order with two centuries made in an Ashes match.

It will be tough to leave Usman out who is playing his best cricket at Test level especially when he’s 35 right now, but there’s one man he should replace and that is Marcus Harris as an Opener with David Warner. Yes, Harris did score a half-ton at his home ground during the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, however, he didn’t provide the consistency the selectors expected through chance after chance without success.

So let Usman take his place & try to prolong that good start with Warner as he still has some energy left in the tank, then the rest of their batting line-up such as Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Cameron Green & Keeper Alex Carey looks spot on before we turn attention to the bowlers. While Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc remains undroppable, there’s some injury doubt from Scott Boland on his right thumb off England’s Ben Stokes fast-bowling while batting at the tail end last week in Sydney.

If Boland recovers on time & is fit to play for the final Test then no problem, otherwise bring back Jhye Richardson who entertained the crowd not just with the ball but also a bit from the bat during the 2nd Test in Adelaide last month and that was under a day-nighter.

How good would it be if Jhye plays again for another Day-Night Test in Hobart and knocks down England both through the stumps and downtown, his experience in those areas would give Australia the extra dimension to hopefully finish this Ashes Series 4-1 on home soil.

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England did a great job in this opening session on Day 2 at the MCG despite chaos surrounding off the field with COVID tests overnight, Jimmy Anderson fit and firing as always at age 38 who not only caught out Dave Warner (38) from late yesterday afternoon but also made Steve Smith (16) knick that edge straight through the stumps with great read to mix some speed & build this kind of pressure.

Hats off to his supporting seamers from Ollie Robinson & Mark Wood with the early wickets especially when Wood produced that bounce & length, he successfully got rid of the dangerman Marnus Labuschagne for 1, who felt vulnerable in the end as he edged straight to Joe Root at 1st slip.

Australia have been okay when you still have Marcus Harris in the middle at 48 as of lunch, he’s doing great so far hanging in there and should continue that progress if a 50 and 100 on home soil comes to him. But it’s disappointing for most parts when the nightwatchmen gamble didn’t pay off in Nathan Lyon (10) as well as the top-order being blown away so fast for bare single & double digit scores by the fiery English bowling attack.

Score: Australia 131-4 and trails by 54 runs.

Communication is very important where Harris and Head were lucky to escape a direct hit possibility on occasions which reflects Australia’s poor start with the bat in this 1st innings spell, it’s best to play it simple by going back to square one and shave off that run trail first before building a big total going into Day 3. England has to keep that strong start off the ball and finish the damage on Harris & Head before getting the job done on the lower-order as their new-look batting line-up still needs to be tested if they are to win this Test match.

#AUSvENG #JamesAnderson #SteveSmith #MarnusLabuschagne #NathanLyon #MarcusHarris #TravisHead #Australia #England #MCG #Cricket #MarkWood #OllieRobinson #TestCricket

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Australia hopes to go one better at the Melbourne Cricket Ground & retain the Urn having won the first two tests with three matches to go in the 2021-22 Ashes Series.

It’s good that they have kept most of the winning crop in their starting XI such as David Warner in the opening spot as well as a strong top and middle order arsenal that begins with Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green (Seam All-Rounder) and Alex Carey (Keeper).

Although Marcus Harris retained the other opening spot with Warner who hasn’t found the decent numbers delivered so far, but I think it’s his make or break opportunity to thrive at his home ground in Melbourne and if doesn’t even if Australia won then it may be good time to change a different opener for the New Year’s Test in Sydney.

Then we can talk about the bowlers where Australia made two changes with Pat Cummins back for Michael Neser at 8, now it’s a tough call when Neser did very well on his unexpected Test debut in Adelaide last week at age 31 but there’s Cummins is an extremely important member of the Baggy Green side especially when he was just given the captaincy after Tim Paine resigned to take a break so Neser had to go.

Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon stays on who hopes to continue their strong start & inflict more damage to England’s batting card. And Scott Boland makes his Test debut at age 32 in place of Jhye Richardson which is a breakthrough moment for him at his home ground.

Brilliant start from Pat Cummins by the way with both of England’s openers upon his return from isolation as Australia hopes to break the partnership of Joe Root & Dawid Malan ASAP with England 35-2.

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England may have been given a free run at the Australian batting attack with a few wickets earlier in the 3rd innings yesterday, but it doesn’t mean they are back in contention when being way behind as England are required to chase down 468 after Australia declared 230-9 not long before tea. Going into Day 5 & England now 82-4 with 386 runs needed to on the fifth & final day today at Adelaide Oval.

Gotta say that Rory Burns may have batted slightly better this time on 34 but he’s yet to find any decent numbers so far this Ashes tour + his fielding hasn’t helped much either as it’s most likely that he’ll be replaced by Zak Crawley for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, while Joe Root & Dawid Malan did the heavy lifting both as part-time spinners with support from the quicks including Ollie Robinson who picked up two wickets in Australia’s 2nd innings run.

And great to see Jhye Richardson snatch up a six during his short time batting at the tail end as well as pile up two early wickets that would hopefully see Australia reach the finish line first later today, it’s also wonderful to see Marnus Labuschagne & Travis Head secure their 50s while Cameron Green scored a handy 33 runs as the quickie all-rounder that extended Australia’s lead further in this test match.

All eyes now on the England middle-order of Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope & Jos Buttler to turn this unlikely challenge around if they can, the same goes for the Australian bowling attack to finish the job & go 2-0 up in the 2021-22 Ashes series with three more test matches left.

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