Head’s superb ton helps Aussies to 6-241 | Mercury of Illawarra

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Travis Head’s sublime century took Australia to 6-241 at the stumps on a turbulent opening day of the fifth Ashes Test in Hobart. Australia crashed out at 3-12 from 10 overs on a green pitch after losing the draw, reliving their nightmarish start from the previous Test at Bellerive. But there was no soft slump to rival the mayhem of 2016. Instead, a counter-punching header humbled beleaguered England bowlers with help from Marnus Labuschagne and Cameron Green. Head was “bitterly disappointed” to fall for 101, catching Ollie Robinson immediately after celebrating his second hundred of the five Test series. The southpaw, forced to miss the SCG test after contracting COVID-19, nevertheless changed his momentum in a stunning way that belied Friday’s opening hour in which the pink ball dominated the bat . “Anything over 300 will be a good start,” Head said, when asked what first-set total might be needed to earn a 4-0 series win. “We have a high quality bowling attack. Battling for as long as possible tomorrow will be key.” Head shared a 71-point partnership with Labuschagne, which ended in bizarre fashion in the penultimate innings of the opener. session and then a 121-point stand with Green. Green’s dismissal on 74, in what turned out to be the third last of the day after rain caused the stumps to be ripped out after 59.3 overs, will give England hope to quickly clear the lineup on Saturday. But the tourists, who missed a golden chance to brush aside Labuschagne (44) for a duck in the first carnage, have already dashed their hopes of restricting Australia to a far lower total. Friday night, before the referees gave up hope at 10:11 p.m. AEDT. The inspired header return was the latest reminder of Australia’s depth this summer, coming after recalled paceman Robinson pulled out David Warner and Steve Smith for ducks in an inspired opening spell. It marked the fi first time Warner and Smith failed to bother the scorers in a Test round. Head crossed 12 boundaries, overtaking Labuschagne as the series leading scorer in the process. “It was a really smart round that Travis played,” England bowling coach Jon Lewis said. “Counter-attacking and hitting our guys from range…we were a bit slow to adapt.” Green was in the box to post his first test ton before picking deep square-leg Zak Crawley, a victim of Mark Wood’s shortball scheme. Wood, otherwise England’s most impressive pacemaker on this tour, recorded figures of 1-79 from 11.3 overs to prove he is England’s least economical bowler. Crawley held three catches but capitalized on the advantage offered by Labuschagne in the eighth, after diving past Joe Root on the first slide. Robinson, who trudged to the locker room with a sore back but returned to the field, delivered just eight overs. Labuschagne’s not-so-sophisticated footwork caused his downfall. The World No. 1 Test hitter tried to give himself space by moving to the outside but slipped, Stuart Broad’s delivery hitting the center stump. Australian Associated Press

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