Australia in strong position to retain Ashes in 3rd test

LEEDS, England (AP) — Australia moved into a strong position to retain the Ashes after skittling out England for 67 before pushing its lead to 194 runs on a wicket-tumbling second day of the third test on Friday.

Holding a first-innings advantage of 112 runs, the Australians were 82-3 by tea with Marnus Labuschagne on 13 and Travis Head on 17.

One big partnership for Australia could push victory out of reach for England, which is 1-0 behind in the five-match series and cannot regain the urn if it loses at Headingley.

England posted its second-lowest test total against Australia since 1904 — beating only a score of 52 in 1948 — and its 12th lowest in test history. It is the fourth time since the start of 2018 that England has scored less than 100 in an innings.

By scoring 12, Joe Denly was the top scorer in England's capitulation — the lowest highest score ever in a test innings by the team.

Josh Hazlewood led the Australian attack with figures of 5-30, with fellow pacemen Pat Cummins (3-23) and James Pattinson (2-9) taking the rest of the wickets on a day when England's batting flaws were exposed once again. The English were dismissed in just 27.5 overs.

Jason Roy (9) again fell cheaply, captain Joe Root went for a second-ball duck — having had a golden duck in the drawn second test at Lord's last week — and Ben Stokes rued his decision to be chasing after a very wide one from Pattinson and nicked it behind.

Having reached lunch on 54-6, England lost its last four wickets in the first 23 balls of the second session.

Australia lost David Warner for 2 to the eighth ball of its innings, lbw to Stuart Broad — the opener's nemesis this series. Warner reviewed but the decision was upheld on umpire's call.

Spinner Jack Leach didn't bowl in the first innings, when Australia was dismissed for 179, and off his first ball of the match, he bowled Marcus Harris through the gate for 19.

Usman Khawaja was the other batsman to depart, nicking Chris Woakes to Roy at second slip for 23.

Jofra Archer, who took 6-43 in Australia's first innings, was generating speeds of 92 mph (148 kph) but was yet to take a wicket. He said after his exploits on Thursday that he was looking forward to a rest on Day 2, only to be needed for action midway through it.

Labuschagne, the replacement for Steve Smith in this test, was showing a willingness to leave the ball outside off-stump, unlike many batsmen in this match. His 111-run stand with Warner on Thursday remains comfortably the biggest partnership of the match and might prove to be the difference.

England already will have to score the highest innings total of the match to win.


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