Awful England bowled out for 67 as Ashes hopes hang by a thread
England were skittled for 67 on day two of the third Test by Australia, who are now on the verge of retaining the Ashes.
Joe Root’s England were bowled out for their lowest ever score at Headingley before Australia moved to 171-6 to lead by 283 at the end of a day when 16 wickets fell.
Replying to the Aussie’s modest 179, a combination of awful batting and relentless bowling saw the home side fall to their lowest total against their oldest rivals since 1948.
It is also their 12th lowest Test score of all time, their fourth lowest total at home and at 167 balls, it is England's ninth shortest completed Test innings.
Just one English batsman made double figures, though Joe Denly’s error-strewn 12 was hardly cause for celebration, its the lowest highest score in a Test innings for England.
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Josh Hazlewood took five wickets for 30 runs as England were bowled out for under 100 for the third time in 2019, following on from 77 against the West Indies and 85 against Ireland, a trend that is rapidly becoming a fatal flaw.
England will never forget the joy of winning its first World Cup earlier this summer but that cherished moment, and the prolonged period of white-ball emphasis that preceded it, might have come at a price.
Meanwhile, Jofra Archer briefly left the field with suspected cramp late in the day, a worrying hint that the rising star of English cricket might already be shouldering too much of the burden, leaving Ben Stokes to hold down a mammoth workload with ball in hand.
Australia, the current holders of the urn, only need to draw the five-match series to retain the Ashes and would go 2-0 up with two matches to play if they go on to win in Leeds.
England collapse again
The all-too-familiar collapse began with Jason Roy’s latest failure at the top of the order, following a Hazlewood delivery he might comfortably have left and feeding David Warner the first of four catches at slip.
Roy had just nine to his name, his exact average across six disappointing innings at opener – an experiment which appears to be heading to its conclusion.
Hazlewood’s next blow was even more grievous, Joe Root nicking his second ball and Warner tumbling left to take a sharp chance.
Having made the first golden duck of his career at Lord’s last week this was now the first time Root had banked successive noughts.
Pat Cummins soon joined in, hitting Rory Burns’ forearm with a bouncer then cashing in as the opener took on the next one but gloved it behind to make it 20-3.
Ben Stokes had been promoted to five following last week’s unbeaten century but he produced the worst shot yet, following a boundary through point by chasing a wide from James Pattinson.
Down on one knee at the point of contact he stretched himself into an ugly position only to pick out Warner in the cordon.
Somehow Denly was still there. He was beaten seven times before getting off the mark, edging one, overturning an lbw decision and playing and missing on five occasions.
Things barely improved, almost chopping on twice and surviving another lbw shout, before he finally edged one from Pattinson to end a tortured stay.
Hazlewood and Warner combined once more before lunch, Jonny Bairstow the latest victim, leaving England 45-6.
Any hopes of the interval bringing a shift in fortunes were misplaced, with the next four wickets tumbling for 13.
Chris Woakes fell to the first ball of the afternoon, brushing Cummins to the wicketkeeper, and Jos Buttler picked out a perfectly-positioned short cover as Hazlewood’s relentless probing continued.
Archer lifted the careworn crowd for a moment with a mow through midwicket but forgot to remove the bat when ducking a Cummins bumper and guided it through to Paine.
Hazlewood deservedly applied the finishing touch, bowling Jack Leach round his legs to complete his seventh five-for.
Australia on the verge of retaining the Ashes
England's long-suffering bowlers did their best to keep up the pretence of a fight as Australia lost three for 82 before tea.
Stuart Broad's domination of Warner continued, the left-hander lbw for duck, Leach's first ball of the match spun sharply to castle Marcus Harris through the gate and Woakes removed Usman Khawaja for 23.
England needed things to happen in a hurry in the evening but Australia added another 89 for three in a punishing final session for Stokes.
He held down one end for 15.2 overs, interrupted only by four Archer deliveries ending in the cramp, and pounded away tirelessly for the scalps of Travis Head and Matthew Wade.
It could easily have been more, Marnus Labuschagne dropped by Root on 15, Bairstow on 42 and reprieved by Stokes' no-ball in between.
Broad removed Tim Paine for nought before the end but the visiting captain will already be visualising becoming an Ashes-winning captain.
Additional from PA
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