Thursday, 20 January, 2022

Labuschagne, Warner put Australia in control

Labuschagne, Warner put Australia in control

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Marnus Labuschagne and David Warner both ground out gritty 95s as Australia seized control of the second Ashes Test on Thursday, surviving an onslaught from veteran English seamers Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad.

The visitors came into the day-night Adelaide Test on the back of a nine-wicket mauling in Brisbane but confident they could get back into the five-match series.

But even with the greatest wicket-takers in English history back in the side they struggled to make inroads with the pink ball as the home team compiled 221 for two by the close. A consolation for England is that the world's premier Test bowler, Australia skipper Pat Cummins, was ruled out less than three hours before the start over a Covid scare.

The tourists did snare an early breakthrough with Broad getting Marcus Harris for three, before Warner and Labuschagne put on 172 for the second wicket.

Warner looked destined for his 25th Test century as he began to open his bat, but fell in the nervous 90s for the second Test in a row, caught by Broad off Ben Stokes.

Labuschagne almost did the same, also on 95, when wicketkeeper Jos Buttler dropped a sitter off Anderson -- much to the delight of the partisan crowd.

"There's a bit of disbelief -- it is my job to capitalise on that now, I gave him a chance... I've got to make sure tomorrow no chances," Labuschagne, who rode his luck more than once, said of Buttler's costly mistake.

Labuschagne hung on to the close of play, surviving 275 balls to remain unbeaten, while Steve Smith -- captaining the team in the absence of Cummins -- was 18 not out in front of 32,328 fans. Broad took 1-34 while Anderson bowled a very tidy 18 overs for 29.

There was drama before a ball was even bowled. Cummins was at a restaurant on Wednesday evening when a person at the neighbouring table was identified as positive for coronavirus.

Cummins returned a negative test but under South Australia state's strict bio-security rules he must now isolate for seven days.