The Ashes: Ollie Robinson England’s shining light as fears grow for Ben Stokes
Robinson was the standout performer for his side at The Gabba, taking 3-48 to confirm credentials as a serious Test performer, but his best efforts were not enough to turn the tables on a game that may already have slipped through the tourists’ fingers.
Australia were 196 ahead at stumps, racking up 343-7 on the back of Travis Head’s 85-ball century, David Warner’s fortunate 94 and a typically assured knock of 74 from Marnus Labuschagne.
For an England side who mustered a top score of 39 by Jos Buttler on Wednesday, it was a sapping experience in the Queensland heat.
Stokes jarred his left knee midway through the day and was only able to offer half-measures with ball in hand after his initial flurry. He was being assessed overnight by medics. “It’s always tough when a seamer goes down, especially in these conditions,” said Robinson.
“He (Stokes) has got something that not all of us have – he’s got that pace and bounce – so it hurts us a little bit. The other boys took the slack and I thought it was a good effort in the end.
“It was a warm one. They were tough conditions for us but the boys toiled hard. There were some missed opportunities and on another day we could have them four down early.”
Robinson brushed off concerns over his own fitness after he appeared to be feeling his hamstring.
“My body is doing okay,” he said. “I came off for some strapping and maintenance but I’ll rest up and come back.
“It came out well. I was consistent and had a lot of plays and misses. I sort of felt like I was going to get Warner out every over.”
Stokes’s day might easily have turned out differently had he managed to keep his boot a couple of inches further back when he clipped Warner’s off stump when he had just 17.