TOP SPIN AT THE TEST: Jimmy Anderson four-for means he now has a better Ashes average in Australia than in England… but openers Hameed and Crawley will NOT want to look at their own dreadful recent averages
England are teetering on the edge of another damning defeat Down Under after a late surge of wickets left Australia with one hand on the Ashes in Melbourne.
James Anderson rolled back the years with four wickets for 33 runs to put the tourists within touching distance of the hosts, but a sensational spell from Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland tore through England’s top order.
Here, Sportsmail’s Lawrence Booth provides the big stats behind a devastating second day in Melbourne.
England are staring down the barrel of an Ashes defeat in Australia after day two in Melbourne
Two more ducks on the second evening, for Dawid Malan and nightwatchman Jack Leach, took England’s Test tally for 2021 to 52, leaving them with an outside chance of breaking their own record for a calendar year of 54 in 1998.
Jimmy Anderson’s figures of four for 33 from 23 overs meant he finished the second day with a fractionally better Ashes average in Australia (67 wickets at 33.20) than in England (44 at 33.38).
It was his seventh haul of four or more in Australia, and his second-best analysis, behind five for 43 with the pink ball at Adelaide four years ago.
His performance continued his excellent first-innings record in 2021, which now reads 33 wickets at just 16 apiece. His figures in the second innings were less impressive: six at 48.
James Anderson now has a better Ashes average Down Under than he does in England
Australian opener Marcus Harris made his first half-century in 17 Test innings stretching back to January 2019 – nearly three years ago.
Another three runs, and he would have equalled his highest Test score of 79, made in that game against India at Sydney.
After making 25 and 27 at Brisbane, Haseeb Hameed has now been dismissed for six, nought, nought and seven. Since his return to the Test in the summer following an absence of nearly five years, he has made 205 runs at 18.
Meanwhile, his opening partner Zak Crawley’s removal for five means he averages 10 since his 267 against Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl in 2020.
Haseeb Hameed will not want to look at his recent figures after a poor opening stand again