Ashes, 1st Test (Tea – Day 3): Malan and Root try to rebuild after England lose openers

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Dawid Malan and Joe Root joined forces for a rebuilding act as England reached 107/2 in 36 overs at tea on day three of first Ashes Test at The Gabba here on Friday. The tourists are still trailing by 171 runs after bowling out Australia for 425 in the morning session and losing their opening pair of Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed.

Resuming from 23/0 at lunch, Australia skipper Pat Cummins struck in the first over as Rory Burns tried to cut but the short ball took the glove edge behind to keeper Alex Carey. Malan was tentative in the beginning but Haseeb Hameed looked set for a big score before getting strangled down leg off Mitchell Starc in the 21st over.

From there onwards, Malan and Root led the fightback in the second hour of the session, adding 46 runs off 90 balls. Root took 20 balls to hit his first boundary of the innings, a clip through mid-wicket off Josh Hazlewood. Though the duo had their own shares of luck and survival, especially for Malan against off-spinner Nathan Lyon, England will be hoping that the left and right hand duo can bat on till stumps come.

Earlier, Travis Head, resuming from his overnight score of 112, started off in his aggressive fashion on day three with a pull through square leg off Chris Woakes. Starc gave him good company by smashing boundaries against Woakes, Ollie Robinson and Mark Wood.

Though Starc fell to Woakes, Head was unperturbed as he slammed a six each off Stokes and Wood over mid-off and fine leg respectively, before slog-sweeping Jack Leach through wide of mid-wicket to bring up his 150.

Head was eventually bowled for 152 off 148 balls by a cracking yorker from Wood, becoming the last wicket to fall as Australia were 425 all out in 104.3 overs. Head’s stands with Starc (85 runs) and Nathan Lyon (29 runs) were crucial for the hosts in stretching their lead to 278 runs.

Brief scores: England 147 & 107/2 in 36 overs (Dawid Malan 35 not out, Joe Root 26 not out, Pat Cummins 1/29, Mitchell Starc 1/34) trail Australia 425 in 104.3 overs (Travis Head 152, David Warner 94, Ollie Robinson 3/58, Mark Wood 3/85) by 171 runs.

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