Ashes, 2nd Test: Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne extend Australia’s lead to 371 at Dinner

Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne extended Australia’s lead in the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval to 371 despite early strikes from England on day four. At dinner, Australia are 134/4 in 44 overs with Head (batting 45) and Labuschagne (batting 31) at the crease and six wickets still in hand.

It was an action-packed first session where England bossed the first half while Australia took charge in the second half to balance the proceedings.

Resuming from 54/1, nightwatchman Michael Neser was nearly run out on the first ball of the day. In the next over, Neser was bowled through the gate by James Anderson getting one to jag back in.

England got their second wicket in just three balls as Stuart Broad extracted a thick outside edge from Marcus Harris’ bat and keeper Jos Buttler took a flying one-handed screamer of a catch to his left.

Broad almost had Steve Smith dismissed for a golden duck if not for Buttler dropping the catch to his right.

On the very next ball, Broad rapped Smith on the pads, which was adjudged not out by umpire Rod Tucker. England took the DRS but replays showed Smith survived due to impact as umpire’s call. But the Australia captain couldn’t make the most out of twin lives as he gloved behind to a diving Buttler off Ollie Robinson.

But Head and Labuschagne stitched a counter-attacking partnership of 79 runs off 93 balls for the fifth wicket to ensure Australia didn’t lose any other wicket in a see-saw session. Head was the more aggressive of the two, striking boundaries while Labuschagne took his time to get going.

Earlier, England captain Joe Root didn’t take the field at the start due to an abdomen injury sustained during practice session. Root went for a scan and then came back on the field from 36th over.

It also resulted in Robinson switching from right-arm pace to off-spin for three overs, highlighting the absence of a specialist spinner in England’s line-up.

Brief Scores: Australia 473/9 dec in 150.4 overs and 134/4 in 44 overs (Travis Head 45 not out, Marnus Labuschagne 31 not out; James Anderson 1/8, Stuart Broad 1/27) lead England 236 all out in 84.1 overs (Dawid Malan 80, Mitchell Starc 4/37) by 371 runs.