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‘Horrible’: Ashes radio gag hits close to home

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England lost a clump of wickets in the final hour on Monday and its batters need to produce something special today to keep the tourists from going down 3-0.Play is scheduled to begin at 10.30am AEDT.Catch every moment of The Ashes live and ad-break free during play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Try 14-days free now.Radio gag hits close to home for EnglandEngland’s batting has been horrendous all tour — failing to pass 300 once in five completed innings — and losing four wickets in 12 overs late on day two was another sad indication of just how poor the top order has been.Collapsing to 4/31 — still 51 runs behind the Aussies — jokes were being made about the hosts asking for an extra 30 minutes to take six more wickets and win the third Test last night.If the umpires believe a result is possible, they can extend the day’s play by half-an-hour. Such a move would normally be unthinkable with six wickets still in hand — surely a team wouldn’t lose 10 wickets in a single session, no matter how bad the batters are going. But England is travelling so poorly, former Aussie Test star Greg Blewett was inspired to have a laugh at the expense of English commentator Isabelle Westbury in the Triple M commentary box.“I think Australia have gone to the umpires and asked for the extra half-an-hour. They think it might be over tonight,” Blewett said with a straight face.A shocked Westbury replied “They have not?!” before Blewett lost it and cracked up with laughter.“For a minute there I thought you had me,” Westbury said. “That was horrible, that was horrible.”Footy star’s funny sledgeBen Stokes was in danger of being timed out, such was his slow journey to the crease after a flurry of late wickets on day two.Scott Boland took two wickets in his first over and Stokes, who would have been hoping to relax in the changeroom that evening, had to scurry to get padded up and out into the middle.Commentators questioned whether anyone at all would join Joe Root before Stokes eventually arrived on the scene.Transgender Australian football player Hannah Mouncey took the mickey out of herself and Stokes’ delayed arrival with a sledge on Twitter.“Ben Stokes took longer to come out than I did,” she tweeted.England collapse in a heap late on day twoA dazed England lost four wickets in a hostile late spell to leave them at 4-31 — still trailing Australia by 51 runs — and fighting to save its Ashes hopes after day two of a gripping third Test.It came after the visitors — who must avoid defeat in Melbourne to keep the series alive — have been rocked by six positive Covid cases in their camp, although no players were among them.Australia had been all out for 267, earning an 82-run lead in response to England’s first-innings 185 on an MCG pitch that was still offering plenty for the bowlers.Marcus Harris top-scored with a battling 76 against a dangerous English attack led by veteran Jimmy Anderson, who was at his fearsome best with 4-33 off 23 overs.But faced with surviving the final hour against a revved-up Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, England collapsed again. Struggling opener Zak Crawley never looked comfortable and after dodging 15 balls he was caught by wicketkeeper Alex Carey for five off Starc.Dawid Malan came in but incredibly was out first ball to Starc LBW after an unsuccessful review, then debutant Scott Boland ruined Haseeb Hameed’s day on seven, with Carey gloving an edge.Fired-up Boland bowled Jack Leach without scoring two balls later to leave skipper Joe Root unbeaten on 12 and Ben Stokes on two — and England in deep trouble.“On the bowling front I thought we did really well to stick at our task throughout the day … we created a lot of chances, put a lot of balls in the right areas and got our rewards,” said Anderson.“We knew that last 12 overs (batting) was going to be tough with the new ball. But even so, to lose four wickets was really disappointing.“Starc and Cummins were outstanding.”England earlier took its chances with the key wickets of Marnus Labuschagne (1) and Steve Smith (16), along with nightwatchman Nathan Lyon, before lunch.Harris and Travis Head (27) surrendered in the second session before England mopped up the rest.Australia had resumed at 1-61 with the maligned Harris under pressure after a poor series so far. But he hung on grimly as Australian wickets tumbled around him to repay the faith of coach Justin Langer by bringing up only his third 50 in 13 Tests, and his first in two years.He then fell to the brilliant Anderson, who enticed an edge that Root took at slip.“Really good to spend some time in the middle, it’s obviously been tough the first couple of games for myself,” said Harris.“Our bowlers were brilliant,” he added. “They have been all series and the last hour there was unbelievable.” AFP



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