The highly anticipated third Test of the Ashes 2023 series is currently underway at Headingley, Leeds, and England has taken control of the game against Australia. Being 0-2 behind in the series, England captain Ben Stokes won the toss and opted to bowl first on a pitch with a noticeable green tinge.
England made three changes to their playing XI, bringing in Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes, and Mark Wood to replace Ollie Pope, Josh Tongue, and James Anderson.
The decision to bowl first paid immediate dividends as Stuart Broad struck early, dismissing David Warner, caught at second slip. Simultaneously, Mark Wood showcased his searing pace, consistently bowling above 145 kmph. His express speed immediately reaped rewards as he dismantled the stumps of the in-form Usman Khawaja.
Wood bowled a fuller length delivery from over the wicket, which swung back in and found the inside edge of Khawaja’s bat before crashing into his leg stump. The delivery registered an impressive 152 kmph on the speedometer, catching Khawaja off guard with its sheer pace. Consequently, England sent back the series’ leading run-scorer, who had amassed 313 runs, for just 13 runs.
It’s full and straight and far too quick for Usman Khawaja 🌪️
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 6, 2023
Wood has been tasked with filling the void left by the seasoned seamer James Anderson, who was dropped due to his lack of rhythm in the first two Tests. Wood’s last Test appearance was against Pakistan in Karachi in December 2022. The pacer, hailing from Ashington, has taken 90 wickets in his Test career across 28 matches.
In addition, Stuart Broad continued his dominance over David Warner, dismissing him for the 16th time in Test cricket. Warner had started the Test with a boundary off the first ball but succumbed to his long-standing nemesis, edging a delivery from around the wicket to Zak Crawley at second slip. As a result, the Pat Cummins-led Australian side found themselves in trouble, losing four wickets with only 90 runs on the board.
The third Ashes Test promises to be an enthralling battle as England looks to make a strong comeback and Australia aims to maintain their series lead.