Fourth Specsavers Ashes Test, Emirates Old Trafford (day one of five)
Australia 170-3: Labuschagne 67, Smith 60*; Broad 2-35
England: Yet to bat
Ashes cricket returned to Emirates Old Trafford after a six-year absence and day one of the fourth Specsavers Ashes Test had everything – rain, wind, heavy bails… the lot.
It was one of those days – stop-start stop-start. However, despite the weather, the frustrated Manchester crowd saw a total of 44 overs.
The best batsman in the world, Steven Smith, didn’t seem fazed by the testing conditions and managed to score an unbeaten 60 before play was brought to a premature close at ten past six with the score reading 170-3.
Smith, with his unusual technique never looked flustered against the English attack which included Craig Overton. Overton is playing in only his fourth Test for England.
After the shaky start by the Australians, which saw Stuart Broad dismiss David Warner (0) for the fifth time in the series with the fourth ball of the match and then the dismissal of Marcus Harris, Tim Paine’s men needed stability.
Smith and Marnus Labuschagne dug deep and saw their side through to lunch with the score reading 98-2.
The afternoon session was washed out and when that happens batsmen can often find it difficult to compose themselves again. The unbeaten pair did exactly that under grey skies and they added a further 46 before the South Africa-born Labuschagne was bowled by a stunning Overton delivery for an patient 67. This was Labuschagne’s fourth fifty in succession.
Travis Head (18*) and Smith added 26 before the close and they’ll be looking to build on the good start tomorrow.