5th Test, Day 1: Head’s century puts Australia in control against England after early setback

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Hobart, Jan 14 (IANS) A fine hundred by Travis Head (101) and a half-century by Cameron Green (74) put Australia in control as they reached 241/6 against England on a rain-hit day one of the fifth and final Ashes Test, here on Friday.

A 121-run stand between Head and Green helped Australia rebuild from a tricky start on day one of the day-night Test in Hobart.

Having been reduced to 12/3 in the first hour with David Warner (0), Usman Khawaja (6) and Steve Smith (0) dismissed, two of those accounted for by Ollie Robinson, the hosts were in trouble when Head walked in. However, with Marnus Labuschagne (44) for company, Head quickly put the pressure back on the visitors, adding 53 runs in the next 43 balls.

Labuschagne was let off earlier in the day by Zak Crawley and made England pay with some exquisite shots. He was well complemented by Head, who also put the foot on the pedal, to push Australia into the driving seat.

Before Labuschagne could get his fifty, however, Stuart Broad had him in a tangle with one that was directed straight at the stumps. Walking across, Labuschagne missed one headed for the middle stump and was down on all fours as soon as the stumps were uprooted.

The dismissal did not quite have the effect England were hoping for, however, as Green and Head took Australia to dinner with no further damage.

After the break, the duo kept the scoreboard ticking. Head was in complete control and completed his fifty at nearly run-a-ball. Crunching anything too short or too full, the left-hander, who had started the series off with a blistering 148-ball 152 in Brisbane followed by a 54-ball 51 in Adelaide, made England pay with his aggressive approach again.

Green, fresh off a half-century last Test, also looked in control and England failed to find the breakthrough they needed. The century stand came up with Head closing in on a hundred and Green nearing his fifty. The former got there first, slicing Chris Woakes behind point for a couple, but his joy didn’t last long as he flicked the next ball straight to mid-on to depart for 101.

Green got to his half-century soon after, and at tea, despite the loss of Head, Australia seemed to be in a better position. Shortly after the break, Green pulled Mark Wood straight to deep mid-wicket to be dismissed for 74.

A drizzle broke out thereafter, interrupting play and dashing England’s hopes of running through Alex Carey and the Australian lower-order.

Brief scores: Australia 241/6 (Travis Head 101, Cameron Green 74; Stuart Broad 2-48) vs England

–IANS

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