England’s Harry Brook kicks on as Australia hunt wickets

By Nick Hoult, at the Oval

It is never boring. England lost three wickets in 22 balls, batted at 5 an over hitting 21 boundaries after being put in under gray skies and Australia dropped three catches on a whirlwind morning at the Oval.

Harry Brook swung the last ball of the penultimate over of the session for six off Mitchell Starc, that is how the Bazballers play for lunch, and finished 48 not out off 41 balls after being dropped on five.

Brook had nine from 17 balls as he struggled with the moving ball but then scored 39 from his next 24 as he took the attack back to Australia after England slumped from 62 for nought to 73 for three, losing Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley and Joe Root during a superb spell from Pat Cummins which brought him only one wicket but earned two others for his team-mates.

Australia were ragged in the field dropping three catches behind the bat: David Warner fluffed one off Duckett on 30 off Cummins’ first ball, Steve Smith missed Crawley on 11 and Carey, diving to his right, failed to hold on to an edge off Brook as he struggled with Cummins’ line and length.

Australia stood back with their fields again and allowed Duckett and Crawley to milk singles and pick off fours, with plenty of bad balls to feed off. 

The 50 opening stand was reached in the tenth over as Duckett and Crawley decided not to be sitting ducks in good bowling conditions. 

Duckett fell lamely in the end, strangled down the leg side off Mitchell Starc. Crawley edged Cummins to second slip having been beaten five times in 11 balls and Joe Root chopped on, the pitch too fast and bouncy for his favourite steer to third man.

Brook was all over the place at first, edging Cummins behind playing a big drive and showing why he should not be considered a no 3 yet, but then he mixed it up with some extraordinary shots, hitting Starc for consecutive fours and then a blistering six, taking 14 off three balls.

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