Good morning and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s live, regular coverage of the day at Headingley. If you’re an England fan, there’s only one song playing this morning. The Headingley weather forecast is a British dream. The sun is shining in the sky / there is not a cloud in sight. This will be the best day to hit the ball in the game and England must take advantage.
Yesterday was about two newcomers: Mitchell Marsh and Mark Wood, who stole the show in their first game in the series. England hope today’s match is about two Yorkies: Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow will continue this morning, having fought with great determination in a tough match last night.
Both have wrong to right. Root dropped Marsh and Alex Carey, blunders that sent England running 110 times, and celebrated with rare fury when he finally caught Travis Head. Bairstow dropped two more catches – one hard, one simple – and got a bit of unfinished business from Lord’s. Jonny was once again against the world, and that was usually when he played his best innings. If he gets through the first half hour, anything can happen.
Britain will resume on 68th triple, 195 deficit after that exhilarating first day. Their tails are longer (Moeen Ali in 7th place) and shorter (Chris Woakes in 8th place) than in Lord’s. Ideally, they would hit the ball from time to time as well as run – to keep tired Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc on the court, to keep Australian hitters out of the way when the sun is shining .
We’ve said it about a dozen times this summer, but this one, day 12 of the series, is incredibly important. If England take a three-digit lead in the first half, they’ll be in business. If they don’t take advantage of the best batting conditions of the game, as they did at Lord’s, it could all be over.