Dawid Malan and Joe Root shared an unbeaten 159-run stand
for the third wicket to help England fightback on day three of the opening
Ashes Test in Brisbane. The pair helped the visitors end the day on 220 for two
and wipe out the majority of Australia’s 278-run first-innings lead that was
built up by Travis Head in the morning session, with the batter scoring his
second Test 150 to take Australia to a score of 425.
Root dominated the Australian bowlers and finished the day
just 14 runs shy of his maiden Test ton down under while Dawid Malan scored a
fluent 80* to cut down the deficit to just 58 runs at stumps.
In the opening session, Travis Head picked up from where he
left off from the evening before, spraying the English bowlers to all parts of
the Gabba as he passed 150. Head shared an important 85-run partnership with
Mitchell Starc and helped the hosts add 82 runs to their overnight score before
Mark Wood wrapped up the innings with the final two wickets.
The English openers survived a tense eight-over burst from
the Aussie quicks before Lunch, but Rory Burns was dismissed by Pat Cummins in
the first over after the break. The Australian captain got one to jump up
viciously off a length and catch Burns’ glove on its way to the keeper. Haseeb
Hameed showed a similar application as his knock in the first innings but gave
his wicket away after getting a start, tickling a Mitchell Starc delivery down
the leg side.
Hameed’s dismissal brought Joe Root to the crease alongside
Malan at 61 for two, and the English captain was immediately greeted by
Australia’s most threatening two bowlers, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins.
Showing patience and discipline, Root survived this opening examination before
kickstarting England’s rebuild with some aggression against Mitchell Starc and
Nathan Lyon, the two perceived weak links of the Australian bowling
Root utilised the conventional and reverse sweep to great
effect against Lyon – who still couldn’t find the elusive 400th Test wicket –
and played a couple of sumptuous drives off the left-armer. Through this
innings, Root passed Michael Vaughan’s tally of 1481 to score the most runs by
an English batter in a calendar year and became only the 8th batter in history
to score over 1500 runs in a single year.
Root’s aggression allowed Dawid Malan to settle into his
innings nicely, with the left-hander playing some elegant strokes through the
off-side to score his fifth 50+ score in Tests in Australia.
The Australian bowlers struggled for the majority of the 70
overs, with Mitchell Starc losing his radar while Josh Hazlewood surprisingly bowled
only eight overs in the day despite not facing any discernible issues.