30/05/2024

Travis Head scored his third test century on Day 2. (Image: Wisden Cricket/Twitter)

A strong batting display from the home side could have seen multiple Australians make three figures, but on day two, the headlines belong to Travis Head.

A strong batting display for Australia could have seen multiple Australians make three figures, but on day two, the headlines belong to Travis Head.

Early in the day, Australia’s opening batting woes appeared far from over when Marcus Harris struggled and was sent back to the dugout with just three runs to his name.

But Harris’ opening partner in David Warner looked back in good form, building a strong partnership with fourth ICC ranked batter Marnus Labuschagne, before mistiming an Ollie Robinson slow ball and creating an easy catch for Ben Stokes.

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Labuschagne backed up his incredible test form, adding another 74 runs, but today quickly became about Travis Head, who scored his third test century and his first in an Ashes series.

Looking at the scorecard now, you wouldn’t believe it took some time for Head to get his innings moving along. Once he got going there was nothing that could stop him, ending the day on an unbeaten 112 runs from 95 deliveries.

“It’s a great feeling, I’m not always guaranteed runs, I know that, I found the first 20 runs, really, really tough,” Head explained at the end of the day’s play.

“The game opened up a little bit, I was able to take my opportunity. It’s not going to happen all the time, [but] I put myself in that position which is pleasing.

“Calm and consistent plans, really relaxed, just felt like trying to take a bit of momentum out of the game, then if the ball was presented to score then score really.”

England wasn’t going to allow itself to be beaten so easily, and a strong middle period saw the tourists claim the prized Steve Smith for just 12 runs, before also bowling Cameron Green for a golden duck and sending debutant Alex Carey back to the sheds, also for 12.

“It was about being as clear as I possibly could,” Head said.

“They started extremely well, the couple of sets there that Ollie Robinson bowled were quite difficult, and the wicket, I felt there was a little bit there, they got a little bit of a run.

“It’s about staying nice and calm, it was nice having Alex [Carey] there, I’ve batted a lot with him,.”

Head made batting seem a lot easier than it was, with a lot of high quality skill from Australia going a long way to achieving its current total.

7/343 at stumps perhaps doesn’t do enough justice for the English pace bowlers who are without destructive duo Stuart Broad and James Anderson.

“The guys that have played positively throughout the game had to be able to play at their best really, there was quite a bit there for the bowlers,” Head said.

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But in what felt like no time at all, Head brought up his century with youthful exuberance, batting in the same fashion as a confident youngster without the knowledge of fear.

“It’s still a ‘pinching yourself’ sort of thing, I can’t quite work out what transpired in the last couple hours,” he said.

“I want to contribute to Australia and Australian wins, and hopefully we’ve put ourselves in a nice position. Tomorrow morning’s important again to continue another great day for Australia and that’s what I’m here to do.

“It’s so enjoyable to be around this group again, and contribute in some little way. Today it went my way, a lot of the work was done by the top order, I thought they’d batted exceptionally well.”

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