Steve Smith and Shaun Marsh came to the rescue with an unbroken stand of 89 to leave Australia trailing England by 137 runs with six wickets remaining in their first innings at stumps on an enthralling day two of the first Ashes Test.
We summarise Friday’s action, which included 10 wickets in a finely poised, attritional contest at the Gabba.
– Dawid Malan (56) follows the lead of James Vince and Mark Stoneman in repaying the faith shown in him by the selectors, but England collapse from 246-5 to 302 all out.
– Mitchell Starc (3-77) and Pat Cummins (3-85) take three wickets apiece, while Nathan Lyon claims 2-78 – dismissing Moeen Ali for 38 to end a fifth-wicket stand of 83 between the all-rounder and Malan.
– Australia slump to 76-4 in reply as the England bowlers apply the pressure, but captain Smith (64 not out) and surprise selection Marsh (44no) guide them through to 165-4 at the close.
– James Anderson, Stuart Broad, Moeen and Jake Ball take a wicket apiece, debutant Cameron Bancroft the first to go for only five.
3 – England have won just three of their last 23 Tests against Australia when they’ve scored <303 runs in the first innings (D1, L19). Uphill. #Ashes pic.twitter.com/ugz1OVreDg — OptaJason (@OptaJason) November 24, 2017 MOMENT OF THE DAY Australia will be counting on big runs from David Warner at the top of the order as they attempt to regain the urn, but the opening batsman threw his wicket away for 26 when he slapped a short delivery from Ball straight to Malan at short midwicket. OPTA FACTS - Australia have only won one Ashes Test at the Gabba when conceding a first-innings lead batting second (1990-91). - England have only lost once at the Gabba when scoring at least 300 in their first innings. That was in 2002-03, when they made 325. - All three of Jake Ball's Test wickets have been top three batsmen (Azhar Ali, Cheteshwar Pujara and Warner). REACTION "Every batsman has come back in and said they're not sure what a good score is here - if we get Australia to 180-6 then 300 is a good score." England's leading Test wicket-taker Anderson told Test Match Special. Australia paceman Starc told BT Sport: "It was not the ideal start with the bat, but they dug in, faced a lot of balls and gave us something to build on. It's a nice partnership and gives us something to build on." Loved today’s play ... Slow pitch but it produced fantastic strategies & tactics ... @root66 had a really really good day as Skipper ... #Ashes — Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) November 24, 2017 LOOK OUT FOR… Smith and Marsh looked comfortable in improving conditions and Australia will need them to carry on where they left on day three. If England are unable to make early inroads, they could be facing a first-innings deficit after such a promising start with the ball.