Usman Khawaja continued his superb form with the bat to help Australia build their lead over England on a rain-shortened day three of the second men’s Ashes Test at Lord’s.
England resumed in a strong position on 278-4 in the morning, but the dismissal of captain Ben Stokes with the second ball of the day precipitated a collapse which saw them slump to 325 all out and ensure Australia led by 91 runs after the first innings.
Khawaja and David Warner then put on an opening stand of 63 before the former fell to Josh Tongue for the second time in the match midway through the afternoon session, with Marnus Labuschagne denying the seamer another after successfully overturning an lbw decision.
Labuschagne did eventually fall to James Anderson, but Khawaja stood firm and ended the day unbeaten on 58, with Australia leading by 221 runs and set to resume on 130-2 on Saturday after rain brought an early end to proceedings.
England surrender strong position
When Harry Brook and Stokes strode out to the crease for the start of day three, England would have had their sights firmly on surpassing the 138-run lead Australia still had at the resumption of play.
However, the early departure of left-hander Stokes without adding to his overnight score of 17 when he edged Mitchell Starc to Cameron Green in the slips signalled the start of a collapse which would see the home side lose their last six wickets for just 47 runs.
Brook went on to reach his fourth Test half-century with a single in the sixth over of the day, but failed to push on from that and was back in the pavilion for 50 after becoming the latest England batter to fall taking on a short ball, this time hitting Starc (3-88) straight to Pat Cummins at extra cover with an ill-judged shot that left former England captain Sir Geoffrey Boycott among the stunned spectators.
Jonny Bairstow was next to go for 16 when he popped one up to Australia captain Cummins at mid-on off the bowling of Josh Hazlewood, followed by part-time spinner Travis Head accounting for both Ollie Robinson (nine), nicking one to wicketkeeper Alex Carey, and Stuart Broad, trapped lbw for 12, in quick succession.
Cummins then wrapped up England’s innings by having Josh Tongue caught by substitute fielder Matt Renshaw for just one, with Australia openers Warner and Khawaja guiding them to 12-0 at lunch after surviving a testing opening spell with the ball from England seamers Broad and James Anderson.
Khawaja sets the tone for Australia
Australia’s lead was already back to over 100 when the afternoon session got under way, with Warner and Khawaja maintaining a steady hand on the tiller in gloomy conditions which seemed to favour the England bowlers to build a half-century opening stand.
Khawaja had a let-off on 19 when Anderson put down a tough catching opportunity square of the wicket, but Tongue made the breakthrough in the 25th over when he snared Warner’s wicket again – this time trapping the left-hander lbw for 25 as he came around the wicket.
Tongue thought he had new batter Labuschagne lbw for three two overs later, although the right-hander successfully overturned the on-field decision of out with a DRS referral, and then survived two full-throated appeals from Broad in the final over before tea as Australia reached 81-1.
Khawaja, player of the match in Australia’s two-wicket win at Edgbaston, continued his excellent form with the bat by bringing up his 23rd Test half-century three overs into the evening session, dispatching a full toss from Broad back down the ground for four.
The England seamer was then denied a wicket when an lbw appeal against Labuschagne – then on 16 – was turned down and not reviewed by the hosts, only for HawkEye replays to subsequently show the ball would have gone on to hit the right-handers leg stump.
Anderson did get the 29-year-old in 41st over when he carved one to Brook at backwards point to depart for 30, but Steve Smith survived some early scares to finish the day on six not out with Khawaja looking well set before the rain came.
Watch day four of the second men’s Ashes Test live on Sky Sports Cricket. Coverage from Lord’s gets under way at 10.15am, with the first ball at 11am. Also stream all of this summer’s men’s and women’s series on NOW TV.