Australia’s opening batsmen have again failed to fire with Cameron Bancroft’s struggles against the moving ball once more proving his undoing against England at Lord’s.
Bancroft’s tortured vigil at the crease was ended by Jofra Archer for 13 in the opening session of day three second Ashes Test, after the equally out-of-form David Warner had been dismissed for three – his third successive single digit score – late on day two.
Bancroft’s technique has been examined thoroughly by England’s quicks in the opening two Tests, and in overcast conditions in north-west London on Friday he struggled once again in a scratchy innings that lasted 66 balls.
His only boundary came through a thick outside edge that flew down to third man and it was no real great surprise when after Archer got the ball to nip back off the seam and trap him lbw for his maiden Test wicket.
Aleem Dar immediately raised the finger and Bancroft, who was hit just above the knee roll, anxiously reviewed the decision.
But he was forced to head back to the pavilion after the ball-tracking replay showed the delivery would have grazed the top of a bail.
Warner fell to a peach of a delivery from Stuart Broad on Thursday – the third time he has fallen to England veteran so far this series – having scored two and eight in Australia’s 251-run win at Edgbaston.
Bancroft recorded just seven and eight in Birmingham and will need a score in the second innings at Lord’s with Marcus Harris, who has scored two fifties and a century in warm-up matches on this tour, waiting in the wings.
Usman Khawaja was dismissed shortly after Bancroft, nicking behind off Chris Woakes for 36.
It was another frustrating exit for the elegant left-hander who had looked relatively untroubled, stroking four boundaries before dangling his bat outside off stump allowing Jonny Bairstow to take a regulation catch.
Travis Head also exited before lunch when Broad successfully reviewed an lbw appeal that had be given not out.
Footage then showed the ball was heading for middle stump and the South Australian departed for six as Australia limped to 4-80 in reply to England’s 258.
MOST TEST WICKETS FOR AUSTRALIA
708 – Shane Warne (145 Tests, 25.41 average)
563 – Glenn McGrath (124 Tests, 21.64 average)
355 – Dennis Lillee (70 Tests, 23.92 average)
355 – Nathan Lyon (88 Tests, 31.79 average).