LEEDS, UNITED KINGDOM: Australia’s Mitchell Marsh marked his first Test in nearly four years with a blistering hundred as he made England pay for dropping him at Headingley on Thursday.
Australia were reeling at 85-4 following the exit of Steve Smith on the opening day of the third Test.
But at tea they had recovered to 240-5, with Marsh out off what became the last delivery of the session for a run-a-ball 118 when he inside edged Chris Woakes off his thigh to Zak Crawley at second slip.
Together with Travis Head, he put on 155 for the fifth wicket in just 28 overs and England’s woes were compounded by paceman Ollie Robinson limping off shortly before the interval with a back spasm.
Woakes, however, should have had Marsh out for 12 soon after lunch.
But England, in a match they have to win to keep the five-match series alive at 2-0 down, had already spurned several chances when Marsh edged Woakes, only for Joe Root to drop a catch at first slip.
The 31-year-old Marsh, only playing after fellow all-rounder Cameron Green was ruled out with a hamstring strain, took full advantage in his first Test since he faced England at The Oval in 2019.
He drove Woakes for a resounding boundary and pulled fast bowler Mark Wood for six.
Marsh then lofted Moeen Ali for six to go to 99.
A single off the spinner saw Marsh, the son and brother of two Australia internationals in Geoff and Shaun Marsh respectively, 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.
Earlier, Australia took the field for the national anthems to a chorus of boos.
Many in the crowd were still upset by the controversial dismissal of local hero Jonny Bairstow, given out stumped when he thought the ball was dead, at Lord’s in the second Test.
Jeers to cheers
But the jeers turned to cheers as Stuart Broad struck with just the fifth ball of the day to remove David Warner for the 16th time in Tests after England captain Ben Stokes opted to bowl first on a green-tinged pitch.
Warner pushed forward to Broad and got a thick outside edge that was well caught high to his left by Crawley.
Wood’s impressive first spell of the series saw him bowl the usually obdurate Usman Khawaja between bat and pad for 13 with a 95 mph delivery that flattened the opener’s leg stump.
Australia were 42-2 as Smith walked out to bat 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 off the seam, only for diving wicketkeeper Bairstow to drop a difficult left-handed chance.
But Woakes dismissed Marnus Labuschagne (21) edging to Root.
Head was dropped down the legside on nine by only for Bairstow, whose wicketkeeping has proved fallible this series. Although byes were signalled, Head would have been out on review.
Bairstow, however, made no mistake with a routine catch when Smith, on 22, got a thin inside edge off Broad.