Billings himself secured a promising start to his test career with runs and the first two catches for the stumps.
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It didn’t matter that they had the best bowling conditions on the first day and better bowling conditions on the second day.
England were still 115 runs away from Australia’s 303 first substitutions, beating 188 in 48 overs and increasing their lead to 152 by the end.
The home side managed to add 62 to their own 241-6 overnight before Nathan Lyon was the last player in a lively first hour of cricket, but things turned down from there for England.
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No English hit has scored more than 36 by Chris Woakes and he has fallen twice, including a simple chance to slip with his first ball.
It was another day of pure torture for the English fans, who may have hoped against all hopes that their punches would only once again find their final momentum in a decent first-substitute result and exceed the Rubicon 300 at least once in this series.
Unfortunately not, this remains just a dream, thanks to the relentless excellence of Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, not to mention the self-igniting properties of English punches.
And nothing says kamikaze better than the direct-hit loss that brought Rory Burns before he scored.
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Zak Crawley pushed the ball offside, Burns wasn’t really looking for a run, but he started and then kicked his stick with a throw from Marnus Labsuschagne and was just in front of the line when the bail fell.
Interestingly, he did not sink when it was so close. Maybe he didn’t have the sense of the game to find it tight, or he just didn’t have the despair over a situation or a career to throw himself forward.
Either way, his career hangs in the balance as the result in the second inning is now simply a must.
Crawley looked good again until he was outside, inside he turned on his catch pillow on a short leg, and then Dawid Malan and Joe Root briefly remembered what might have happened earlier in the series .
Remember when, in the first and second tests, they concluded several century-old partnerships that hinted that England could compete here?
Well, they hit very nicely here and played their shots well in adding up 49 together, but when Malan was caught by the leg for 25, it triggered a new collapse.
Four gates were lost in just 32 runs as he, Root, Ben Stokes, And Ollie Pope all left thanks to Cummins ’skill and precision of Scott Boland.
Only debutant goalkeeper Sam Billings and Woakes managed to slow down and prevent the procession from becoming final.
They first defeated England, who followed the target, and then they persistently broke the lead of Australia.
For Billings, he showed a lot of heart and skill in his first test shifts to keep the Australians on the sidelines and reach 29, but when he looked well calmed down, Cam Green got him with a short one that Boland held well on his long leg.
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Woakes and Mark Wood added a few extras at the back of the exchange, but even that couldn’t hide the fact that England’s shot was below level again, as opposed to a decent bowling attack.
The conditions under the lights were again favorable for the bowlers and England scored three times before the day was over.
Stuart Broad sent David Warner to his second pair of ducks in test cricket as he cut the ball to drowning Ollie Pope, who grabbed it in astonishment.
Woakes did for Labuschagne at the foot to give Billings his first catch in test cricket before Wood sent a snitch to remove Usman Khawajo for just 11.
England will need a lot more of the same at the start of the third day to make anything other than another defeat the most obvious result.