Five Ashes Talk Points as Jonny Bairstow leads England’s fightback with a defiant century

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Jonny Bairstow scored England’s first Ashes century during day three of the fourth Test at Sydney. He led a significant fightback after his side lost to 36-4 just before lunch.

Rain delayed play for more than two hours. England’s openers were off to a poor start.

After giving Zak Crawley a second chance on day two, Mitchell Starc overstepped. Haseeb Hameed was then dropped by Alex Carey in the third over of day three.

Starc bowled Hameed through the gate for six in just two overs.

Crawley was also bowled for 18 by Scott Boland, MCG’s hero after being hit in the box by Starc and the gloves by Crawley.

Boland took Root’s key wicket in his fourth over and caught the England captain at slip for seven balls.

Dawid Malan, who was the last wicket to drop before lunch, was caught at Green’s ankle slip. England dropped to 36-4 after the first session.

After the break Ben Stokes and Jonny Baileystow battled valiantly. Stokes struggled with a side injuries he sustained while bowling.

The partnership was 128-run, with Stokes scoring 66 and Bairstow scoring 103.

After a bad thumb blow, Stokes was eventually defeated by Nathan Lyon. But Bairstow continued to score a hundred.

Jos Buttler struggled in the series as he tried to get a duck. Pat Cummins was prompted to give him extra coverage.

Bairstow, Mark Wood, and Wood combined put together 72 runs to prevent England from following-on. Wood smashed three sixes along the way to 39.

Bairstow was then able to bring up his seventh Test ton, scoring a four against Cummins in final over of the day. He left England 258-7 and trailed Australia by 158 runs at close.

These are five points to remember from today’s play.

Jane McGrath Day

Day three at the Sydney Test has been renamed Jane McGrath Day. This is because the SCG went pink to raise money towards the McGrath Foundation.

Glenn McGrath (ex-Australia bowler) established the charity to honor Jane McGrath who tragically died of breast cancer in 2008.

McGrath couldn’t attend this year’s Test because he contracted Covid. “The past two years have been full of uncertainty for us all, but there’s no doubt that for people living with breast cancer things continue to be even more challenging.

“All we can do is unite around pink. We’ve always said pink is more than a colour. We see pink as an attitude.

“It’s a show of support for people with breast cancer, not only at the SCG, but right around Australia and beyond.”

Hameed’s Ashes are over?

Hameed’s dismissal was a sad one. It marked Hameed’s fifth consecutive single-figure innings in the series.

Hameed is now down to 19 runs, after a promising start in Brisbane’s Test which was praised by Matthew Hayden, an ex-Australia opener.

The 24-year old is currently averaging 10.14 points in the series. David Warner’s 2019 horror show in the 2019 Ashes was the only instance when an opener has had a lower average in the Ashes.

Hameed could fail again and be dropped from the final Test at Hobart. Rory Burns may then recall Hameed.

Jonathan Agnew, a former England bowler, spoke on BBC Test Match Special. “It is not a good shot.

“Hameed has not missed a single straight ball. He has played around with it. He has ripped off his gloves.”

Speaking on commentary for Fox Cricket, former England captain Michael Vaughan said: “He’s just too loose. He’s just too loose.

“We keep highlighting his technique, that he throws his hands towards the ball and just look at the gap. You could drive a bus through there!”

Boland continues to dream of a start

Boland was thrilled to pick up 6-7 as Australia retained the Ashes at Melbourne. He continued his incredible start to Test cricket in Sydney.

Boland bowled four balls in the first session and was awarded 2-0. Crawley bowled Crawley, and Root was caught for duck.

These wickets resulted in eight dismissals in eight Test cricket overs, and an impressive average of 6.11.

England came back to win the second session. Boland finished with figures of 2-25 in 12 overs, after an injury that limited his ability to bowl.

Stokes battles despite injury

Stokes was able to play 66 despite suffering from a side-injury on day two.

This was Stokes’ highest-scoring series and there were moments of drama with Stokes not being bowled on 16.

Cameron Green delivered a delivery, but it failed to release the bails.

Paul Reiffel, the umpire, gave Stokes out LBW regardless. This caused the all-rounder a lot of laughter after he reviewed his decision and decided not to give out.

Stokes was struggling with the bat this series. However, he was able take advantage of that little bit of luck and counter-attack to get to 66.

Bairstow and the pair also made 128 runs, pushing England up to 164 runs before Stokes fell.

Bairstow is awarded England’s first tonne

The 32-year-old showed promise when he was recalled to the side in Melbourne. He scored 35 runs in his first innings and followed that up in Sydney with a remarkable century.

England was helped by the partnership of Bairstow with Stokes. He counter-attacked to get to 103 and not to drag his side out of the game.

After taking a bad blow from Cummins on his thumb, Stokes and Buttler both fell, he was ready to get back to the tee.

Bairstow’s 100 was his first Test cricket hundred since November 2018, when the team played 110 against Sri Lanka at Colombo.