Curran’s belated maiden scalp sparks England | Cricket

Mitchell Marsh was the second drag-on of the morning © Getty Images

Lunch Australia 8 for 326 (Cummins 4*, Hazlewood 0*) v England
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England fought back admirably on the second day at the MCG, where debutant Tom Curran denied Steven Smith a century and Australia lost five wickets before lunch. At the break, Pat Cummins was on 4 and Josh Hazlewood was yet to score, and the Australians were on 8 for 326, having added 82 to their overnight total.

The key wicket was that of Smith, who progressed to 76 before he tried to force a short and wide delivery from Curran and chopped the ball back on to his stumps. A no-ball from Curran on the opening day had denied him David Warner on 99 as his maiden Test wicket, but claiming Australia’s free-scoring captain instead was a fine replacement.

Smith’s wicket started a trend of chop-ons from the Australians, who were perhaps struggling to read the bounce and pace of the pitch. Mitchell Marsh also dragged a wide one onto his stumps for 9 off the bowling of Chris Woakes, and Tim Paine later did the same on 24 while trying to pull James Anderson.

In the meantime, Shaun Marsh had passed fifty for the third time in the series, raising his half-century from his 130th delivery. However, on 61 he fell victim to fine review from England when Stuart Broad pitched the ball in line and straightened it enough to win an lbw verdict from the ball-tracking technology.

The final wicket of the session was that of Jackson Bird, who was curiously promoted to No. 9 ahead of Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon. Bird was lbw to Broad for 4, leaving Australia at risk of failing to bat out the session. However, Cummins survived the final over and Australia now face the task of doing what they can to push their total up past 350.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo @brydoncoverdale

ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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