PERTH, Australia – England finished the first day of the third test in the Ashes series on Thursday on a promising 305 for the loss of four wickets, riding on a century by Dawid Malan and half centuries by Mark Stoneman and Jonny Bairstow.
At the close of play, Malan was unbeaten on 110 off 174 balls while Bairstow was 75 not out off 149 balls, as the two stitched together a 174-run partnership that marked a remarkable recovery after England had lost its top four batsmen.
Already 0-2 down in the five-match series, England won the toss and opted to bat first at the WACA stadium, in Australia’s Perth, which boasts of the world’s fastest pitches and has garnered attention as it hosts its final test match.
The Australian pace bowlers got into the action right away, claiming Alistair Cook in the fifth over for seven, and James Vince towards the end of the first session for 25.
The visitors were 91/2 at lunch and by tea the top four English batsmen had returned to the dressing room with 175 runs on the board.
The Aussie quicks were relentless, consistently clocking speeds of around and over 140 kilometers per hour (87 miles per hour) before Malan and Bairstow offered stern resistance, something England has been lacking throughout this series so far.
Mitchell Starc was the pick of the Australian bowlers accounting for both the openers, while Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins got one each.
“Malan batted really well for his hundred (...) we will come back fresh tomorrow and have another crack (at them),” Starc said at the end of the first day’s play.