‘Feel like I’ve been through a car wash’ - reaction to latest Ashes action as Australia close in on victory
Two days down in the third Test of the 2021/22 Ashes series, and Australia retaining the Ashes against an England fraught with batting issues looks to be an inevitability.
Heading into the match two down in the series, with their hopes of reclaiming the Ashes hanging by the slimmest of threads, England’s batters once again failed to deliver in their first innings, being bowled out for just 185 runs - a half century from Joe Root the only sliver of consolation for those supporters at home who stayed up late to cheer on the side.
In the early hours of Boxing Day in the UK, Australia finished the first day on 61-1, with the confidence of their opening batters in stark contrast to their shell-shocked counterparts.
Day two at the cavernous MCG in Melbourne started well for England, with night watchman Nathan Lyon dismissed early on. The steadfast Jimmy Anderson produced another vintage display for his side, picking up four wickets for just 33 runs across 23 overs.
While the likes of Marcus Labuschagne and Steve Smith were both dismissed with scores well below their averages, the Australian tail wagged again, with impressive cameos from Mitchell Starc and skipper Pat Cummins ensuring they ended their first innings with a lead of 82 runs.
Like a skilled chef dismembering the Christmas turkey, Australia's bowling unit - in grimly predictable fashion - expertly carved their way through England's openers once again. Haseeb Hameed gone for seven, Zak Crawley for five, and the previously dependable Dawid Malan departing for a golden duck, thanks to a particularly savage spell of pace bowling from Starc.
The tourists limped their way to the close of play with a score of 31-4, with the only hope of denying Australia a series win now resting squarely on the shoulders of captain Joe Root, who finished the day on 12, alongside all-rounder Ben Stokes.
Here's how the cricketing world reacted to the second day's play on social media:
@ShaneWarne said: "What a day & what drama. Eng had a great day with the ball & fought back hard. @jimmy9
bowled the best he’s bowled in Oz & the last 45 mins was test cricket at its best. Proper contest. Bowlers steaming in, batters trying to survive, crowd totally involved. Just (love) test cricket"
@melindafarrellsaid: "I know Boland and Starc took the wickets but blimey… Cummins isn’t ever not a threat. Just consistently brilliant."
@KP24 (Kevin Pietersen) said: "So, please don’t hammer the English batters. It’s not their fault. It’s the entire system that’s flawed! They’re as good as the system!"
@isaguha: "Feel like I’ve been through a car wash"
@MichaelVaughan said: "Test cricket is by far the hardest and toughest format … that last hour tested every facet of a players game !! Also hard to replicate that atmosphere in other formats"
@izzywestbury said: "England should be honoured for services to Australian cricket. So far this series we've blooded in four Aussie quicks (Green, Neser, Richardson & Boland) to ensure there's a strategy in place to back-up the incumbent "fast-bowling cartel". Terrible scenes.