Travis Head scored a stunning century to put Australia in command of stumps on the first day of the fifth and final Ashes Test against England as rain forced an early shutdown in Hobart on Friday. At the end of the game, Australia was 241-6, with Alex Carey at 10 and Mitchell Starc at zero after being sent in by England captain Joe Root. Only 7.3 overs were possible in the night session, with continued misty rain falling to the ground.
Head came to the crease with Australia reeling at 12-3, but countered brilliantly to reach his fourth Test century in just 112 balls, with 12 boundaries.
However, one ball after hitting his hundred in the day-night match, he broke Chris Woakes halfway through, where Ollie Robinson – who only threw one over in the twilight session due to back pain – made a simple catch.
It was Head’s second century of the series, a result he attributed to a new attitude.
“I’ve definitely come into the series more relaxed,” he said.
“I definitely came into the series with an attitude and an expectation of what it takes, and I’ve been able to express myself the way I need to.
“It’s nice to contribute as I’ve been.”
Head’s 101 was an excellent response to England’s completely changed dominance in the first 10 overs.
England chose to field
Root won the toss and sent the hosts in to bat in overcast conditions and on a true green top of a wicket.
England, who have already lost the series, led Australia 12-3 after 10 overs, with Stuart Broad and Robinson nearly unplayable in perfect bowling conditions.
They eliminated David Warner and Steve Smith for Ducks and Usman Khawaja for six, and should have left Marnus Labuschagne, who was dropped by Zak Crawley, without a score.
However, the game returned to Australia when Head and Labuschagne launched a revival, attacking change bowlers Mark Wood and Woakes.
Wood bowled well all series, but his extra pace canceled out the conditions and Labuschagne and Head went on the attack.
Wood’s first three overs went for 31 while, on the other hand, Woakes also got some penalty, his first five overs costing 23 runs.
England bowling coach Jon Lewis said the ball changed as he got older and bowling declined from England.
“I thought we were off to a great start, but I felt like the move went completely off the ball after 20 overs,” he said.
“And I think they countered fantastically well.
“I think in the mid-session we reacted a little bit slowly to what was ahead and we could have bowled better.”
Root had to bring Broad back on the attack and in the penultimate over before the first break he struck in an almost comical fashion.
Labuschagne, on 44, switched to offside to try to play Broad on the onside, but was dealt a clean bowl when he lost balance on a shot attempt. The Australian finish was sprawled on the ground when the ball landed in his stumps.
Robinson and Broad must have felt like they were playing on English ground when the ball slipped off the hem and moved in the air.
Robinson, who was recalled to the side after missing the Sydney Test – one of five changes for England – struck first as he pulled ahead of Warner, the ball flew to Crawley on the second slip.
Broad then claimed Khawaja’s wicket, caught by Root on the first slip, sending Smith into the crease.
But Smith, so often England’s tormentor, only lasted two balls before popping up to Crawley and giving Robinson his second wicket.
Head and Green seemed to make it through the second session, until the first lost focus after raising his century.
Green, who made 74, was the only wicket to fall in the final session.
The towering all-rounder had a beautiful strike, but fell for a trap set by the English, hooking a bouncer straight to Crawley on a deep square leg.
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