Cricket: Smith, Labuschagne look to build as Australia reply to England’s 294

LONDON (Reuters) – Australia were 55 for two in reply to England’s first innings score of 294 at lunch on the second day of the final Ashes test on Friday, with key batsmen Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne looking to build the visitors’ score. Australia’s top-scoring batsmen of the series were on 14 and 32 respectively, after openers David Warner and Marcus Harris both fell cheaply to the fast bowling of England’s Jofra Archer. Earlier, England added just 23 runs to their overnight score of 271 before being bowled out, with Australia’s Mitchell Marsh claiming his first five-wicket haul in test cricket. Australian opener Warner’s miserable series with the bat continued when, after picking up five runs, he got the slightest of touches on an Archer delivery as it flew through to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow. Warner became the first opening batsmen in test cricket to get out for eight single-digit scores in a series, with only one innings left to play to get his Ashes average into double figures. Archer claimed his second wicket soon after when Harris on three edged a ball to Ben Stokes at second slip. Australia are bidding to secure a 3-1 series victory after retaining the Ashes by winning the fourth test at Old Trafford, meaning England would at best only be able to draw the series 2-2.

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