Mitchell Marsh’s run-a-ball 118 was the cornerstone of Australia’s 263 all out on the first day of the third Ashes Test at Headingley after the tourists collapsed either side of his blistering century.
England fast bowler Mark Wood took 5-34 as the hosts backed up captain Ben Stokes’ decision to send the Aussies into bat after winning the toss.
Australia captain Pat Cummins then reduced England to 22-2 before all-rounder Marsh, playing his first Test in nearly four years, had Zak Crawley (33) well caught at first slip by David Warner in the latest example of the tourists’ superior fielding.
At stumps, England were 68-3 – a deficit of 195 runs – with Joe Root 19* and Jonny Bairstow 1* on their Yorkshire home ground.
But it was also another day of missed opportunity for Stokes’ men as Root dropped a regulation first slip catch off Chris Woakes when Marsh had made just 12.
Australia would have been 98-5 but for Root’s error and was one that they could ill afford as they look to turn around a 2-0 deficit in the five-match series.
Marsh made England pay as he marked his first Test in nearly four years with a superb hundred while sharing a stand of 155 with Travis Head (39).
But from 240-4, Australia lost their last six wickets for 23 runs as Durham quick Wood, playing his first Test since the last match of a clean sweep away to Pakistan in December, ripped through the tail.
His wickets were badly needed by England, who were a bowler down after Ollie Robinson limped off shortly before tea with a back spasm.
Marsh, only playing after fellow all-rounder Cameron Green was ruled out with a hamstring strain following Australia’s 43-run win at Lord’s last week, took full advantage of Root’s drop in his first Test since he faced England at The Oval in 2019.
He drove and cut England’s quicks with authority before lofting Moeen Ali for six to go to 99.
A single off the spinner saw Marsh reach his hundred in just 102 balls including 15 fours and three sixes.
It was his third hundred in 33 Tests, all his centuries coming against England.
The 31-year-old was eventually out to what became the last ball of the second session when he inside edged Woakes off his thigh to Zak Crawley at second slip.
Australia collapsed in a hurry after tea with Root catching Head off Woakes the ball after he had dropped Alex Carey in the slips.
Wood took the fielders out of the equation by clean bowling Mitchell Starc and having Australia captain Pat Cummins plumb lbw for a second-ball duck.
The 33-year-old injury-prone paceman ended the innings by bowling Todd Murphy for the fourth five-wicket haul of his 29-Test career, but his first in England.
The hangover from England’s controversial defeat at Lord’s continued as Australia took the field for the national anthems to a chorus of boos, with many spectators still upset by the dismissal of local hero Jonny Bairstow, given out stumped when he thought the ball was dead, in the second Test.
But the jeers turned to cheers as Stuart Broad struck with just the fifth ball of the day to remove Warner for the 16th time in Tests, with the aid of a fine slip catch by Crawley.
What a start! 🤩
Broad gets Warner for the…
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 6, 2023
Wood then bowled the usually obdurate Usman Khawaja between bat and pad for 13 with a 153km/h delivery that flattened the opener’s leg stump.
Australia were 42-2 as Steve Smith walked out in his 100th Test fresh from a hundred at Lord’s.
Smith had made just four when he inside-edged a Robinson delivery that cut back sharply only for diving wicketkeeper Bairstow to drop a difficult left-handed chance.
But Bairstow made no mistake with a routine catch when Smith, on 22, got a thin inside edge off Broad.
© Agence France-Presse