England openers falter again as Rory Burns runs for a duck
Rory Burns ducked short on his recall as England openers once again failed to hold off Australia in the Ashes final in Hobart.
Burns was dropped two games ago, returning to the side only due to Haseeb Hameed’s even more concerning form, and things could hardly have gotten worse on his return.
The tourists took the last four Australian wickets for 62 in the first session to dismiss the hosts for 303, securing match-best terms until they began their response under blue skies.
But they were 34 for two at lunch as their third top couple in the series continued an unfortunate trend of failures.
Burns, who is fine-tuning his technique, had three awkward moments on Mitchell Starc’s first-ever pass – an lbw call, a deflection past his stumps and a tight call to get caught behind what UltraEdge suggested.
After surviving that torrid start, he was then called upon by Zak Crawley for a risque single. It was a wasted gamble and when both men stuttered uncertainly it opened up a chance for Marnus Labuschagne to rush for cover.
He duly threw the stumps, leaving Burns a fraction of his field and reflecting on his eighth inning scoreless in 22 attempts. A dive may have saved him, but there was no real desperation and he was on his way having barely left an impression.
Crawley had some makeup to do and used three boundaries in a generally assertive start. But it was an appearance where his team needed a clinic. Pat Cummins made sure he didn’t see the session, throwing a cleverly laid trap with a back ball that dug in and hit the inside edge.
A thigh pad deflection followed and Travis Head took the chance on the second attempt under the short-leg helmet.
That brought Joe Root to the crease in an all-too-familiar weak position, but he negotiated eight balls before the break alongside Dawid Malan. The latter got away with a few loose shots early in his spell but was starting to get down to business.
Previously, England had completed a resilient Australia. Mark Wood went for wall-to-wall bouncers and picked up Starc and Cummins as they shot poorly. Nathan Lyon was up to the challenge, however, crushing the 90mph crimper for three sixes in the space of four balls.
Chris Woakes played Alex Carey for 24, before Stuart Broad finished things off by beating Lyon for a handy 31.
Once again England have been unable to bring in Ollie Robinson due to a back spasm – an issue which has seen bowling coach Jon Lewis issue a public call for improved fitness standards physical.
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