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The Ashes: Australia strengthen their grip on first Test with Travis Head century Travis Head...

The Ashes: Australia strengthen their grip on first Test with Travis Head century

Travis Head smashed a T20-style century to put Australia firmly in control of the first Ashes test on Thursday as England were hit by an injury crisis during a miserable day two in the field at the Gabba.

David Warner fell six runs short of a fortuitous century but Head kept the blowtorch on with a bellicose, unbeaten 112 from 96 balls that pushed Australia to a commanding 196-run lead over England’s paltry first innings total of 147.

Head’s partner, Mitchell Starc, was 10 not out at the close.

On a day of sapping heat and humidity, the problems piled up for Joe Root’s team, with talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes all but scratched from the attack by an apparent knee strain from the morning.

Paceman Ollie Robinson was also in all sorts of bother and came off the ground in clear discomfort after barely getting through one of his overs after tea.

That left an exhausted Mark Wood and Chris Woakes to prop up England’s attack but spinner Jack Leach and Root were pounded to all corners of the ground by Head.

Warner had earlier marched to the brink of a century after being reprieved three times in the field but he was finally out for 94 straight after tea, undone by a slower ball from Robinson that induced a loose scoop to Stokes.

Robinson was on a hat-trick after bowling Cameron Green next ball when the all-rounder failed to play a shot.

But it was only a brief rally as Alex Carey and Head steadied Australia with a 41-run partnership.

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Head had been under pressure to keep his spot in the middle order, with Usman Khawaja ready to slot in.

“England did bowl well but what an entertaining innings there by Travis Head,” said Warner.

“It was entertaining cricket and great to watch, there’s smiles on our faces.

“He was in a tight battle there with Ussy (Khawaja) and to come out there and play like he did. That’s the Travis we know.”

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Ollie Robinson has spoken about the “dream” coming true at the Gabba after taking his first Ashes wickets despite a tough day for England.

“Today was quite surreal for me,” Robinson told BBC Test Match Special. “I took a step back at one stage to take it all in. I’d have liked the team to have a better day but from a personal point of view it was a dream come true.

“We need to get early wickets tomorrow – hit those good areas, come hard again. If we can have a good first hour and then hopefully pile on the runs.”

(Getty)

Jack Rathborn9 December 2021 08:25

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Ashes 2021: Finn backs Leach after torrid day two

Steven Finn has backed Jack Leach despite a torrid day bowling at the Gabba.

“I have no doubt that Jack Leach is still the right man to be England’s spinner on this trip but Australia have just been incredibly ruthless today,” he told BBC Test Match Special.

“They had their foot on England’s throat and they took it off for a little half an hour period but as soon as they had the opportunity to put it back on they have.

“They’ve executed their game plan. They’ll have spoken about not letting the three seamers having a rest.”

Jack Rathborn9 December 2021 08:12

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(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

Jack Rathborn9 December 2021 08:12

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Ashes 2021: Ollie Robinson encouraged by bowling performance

“It was a warm one. They were tough conditions for us but the boys toiled hard. There were some missed opportunities early and on another day we could have them four down.

“My body is doing OK. I came off for some strapping and maintenance but I’ll rest up tonight and come back tomorrow.

“It came out well today. I was consistent and had a lot of plays and misses. I sort of felt like I was going to get Warner out every over. He left well at times but there were times when I thought he was going to nick it.

“I’ve not really played anywhere like this. The closest place would be Headingley – it’s nice to have bounce as a big guy and get that extra carry. It definitely helped [having spent time over in Australia before] – whenever you can come over here and learn to bowl with the Kookaburra ball, it definitely helped me today and hopefully for the rest of the series.”

Jack Rathborn9 December 2021 08:04

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Ashes 2021: David Warner praises England bowling on day two

“They did bowl well, didn’t they? They were relentless,” David Warner tells Fox. “What an entertaining innings by Travis Head.

“We’ve got smiles on our faces. It’s got to be up there for him personally. It was a tight battle with him and Uzzie but to come out the way he did… that’s the Travis Head we know.

“Obviously getting bowled off a no-ball… you’ve got to try and keep your feet behind the line as a bowler.

“I thought I left very well. Everyone was talking about my form in the T20 stuff but when you’re out of runs you deserve some luck.”

Jack Rathborn9 December 2021 07:55

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Ashes 2021 – Australia 332/7: Travis Head and Mitchell Starc boost lead

Mark Wood looks tired and weary as he thumps another down.

A desperate appeal that Joe Root eventually admits defeat on, opting against taking it upstairs.

Head up to 112 off 95 and Starc has made 10 from 22, the lead is 196.

Starc with a big heave there as Wood shapes one back towards leg stump, the hot spot shows a little nick on the inside edge but it doesn’t carry.

Jack Rathborn9 December 2021 07:29

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Ashes 2021 – Australia 332/7: Travis Head hit by Mark Wood beamer after making century

That’s a beamer from Wood, it cannons off Head’s glove and up to his chin, he’s up and appears OK, but a shocking moment.

Jack Rathborn9 December 2021 07:16

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Ashes 2021 – Australia 325/7: Travis Head brings up century

Travis Head brings up his hundred, a fine knock, he’s made 102 off 86 balls following a fine punch down the ground.

An innings that puts the hosts in control of this first Test at the Gabba.

England already 179 runs behind now…

Jack Rathborn9 December 2021 07:11

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Joe Root takes down Cummins

Australian captain Cummins was highly disappointed after his wicket was taken by English captain Root. Root gets the stunning victory in the battle of captains.

It’s 306-7 with a lead of 159 runs.

Shweta Sharma9 December 2021 06:52

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Ollie Robinson leaves the field

Jack Leach is covering for Ollie Robinson after he signalled for a substitute twirling his hands.

Robinson seems to have developed a cramp but this doesn’t look good for England as Leach’s earlier 10 overs have cost 80.

Ben Stokes, who is also in on the field despite his injury, also does not look in great shape.

Shweta Sharma9 December 2021 06:46