Marcus Harris makes unwanted history in 139-year Ashes first

Marcus Harris made his way into the history books in the most unwanted fashion after an early dismissal on day two of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. Pictures: Getty Images
Marcus Harris made his way into the history books in the most unwanted fashion after an early dismissal on day two of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. Pictures: Getty Images

Marcus Harris didn't suffer the same indignity as English opening counterpart Rory Burns after he fell early in Australia's first Ashes innings, but it was still a moment the 29-year-old would rather forget.

Harris was caught behind for just three off the bowling of Ollie Robinson just five overs into Australia's innings on Thursday.

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His wicket put something of a dampener on Australia's enthusiasm after rolling England for 147 on the first day of the Brisbane Test, but David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne quickly steadied the ship.

That the team maintained a commanding position despite his first innings failure would come as cold comfort for Harris though, whose average against Australia's fiercest rivals dipped into historically bad levels.

Although it's an admittedly small sample size, Harris now boasts the worst average of any Australian batsman to have played at least four Test matches against England.

Not since Peter McAlister, who played eight Tests for Australia from 1904 to 1909, has a player averaged less.

Harris is carrying an anaemic average of 8.73 against England, lower than McAlister's prior mark of 10.33.

Fox Cricket commentator Shane Warne was critical of Harris, who was all out of shape as he attempted to play the ball from Robinson early in his innings.

“Kerry O’Keeffe said it, the leave is your friend,” Warne said.

“It was a pretty good ball with the angle that he delivered it. It was one of those where it was going to be a really tight leave. Just don’t push.

“It is the one thing you can’t do in Australia and especially at the Gabba. You can’t push and fend.

“You either have a go at that and just throw the whole sink at it or let it go. You can’t do that.

“It was a nothing sort of shot from Marcus Harris. It is nothing but just a push.”

Aussies keep up pressure in first Ashes Test

Despite the loss of Harris, Australia reached 1-113 at lunch on day two in Brisbane, as England rued a costly no-ball from Ben Stokes.

Stokes, playing his first competitive match since July, thought he'd bowled Warner in his first over at the Gabba but the Australian opener was given a reprieve when replays showed the superstar all-rounder had overstepped.

Warner, who was on 17, went on to reach 48 not out at the break as he and Labuschagne combined in an unbeaten 103-run stand for the second wicket.

Remarkably, it was the fifth time Warner has been dismissed on a no-ball in his Test career and TV replays showed Stokes had overstepped on each of his deliveries before the one which cannoned into the stumps.

Labuschagne, who rose to prominence against England in the 2019 Ashes series, headed into lunch unbeaten on 53, bringing up his half-century in the penultimate over before the break off 71 deliveries as Australia added to the tourists' pain in the final half-hour of the session.

David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne have batted Australia into a dominant position on day two of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. (Photo by Albert Perez - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)
David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne have batted Australia into a dominant position on day two of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane. (Photo by Albert Perez - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

After Wednesday's evening session was wiped out due to a thunderstorm, play began at 9.30am AEST on Thursday under cloudless skies.

Robinson, playing in his first Ashes Test, immediately proved a handful for Harris as he repeatedly beat the Victorian's outside edge in his first two overs.

Harris couldn't overcome Robinson's pressure and he nicked a delivery to Dawid Malan at third slip in the 28-year-old's third over of the day.

Despite that early breakthrough, England toiled without luck for most of the session with several chances falling just short of fielders and, most notably, Stokes' no-ball dismissal of Warner.

The introduction of spinner Jack Leach prompted Warner and Labuschagne to go on the attack, Leach smacked for 31 runs off three overs including back-to-back sixes by Warner in his second over.

There was also an injury scare for England with Stokes pulling up sharply in discomfort in the field late in the session on two occasions with an apparent issue to his left leg.

With AAP

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