The fifth and final Ashes Test at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval is evenly split on day two on Saturday, with Australia winning 303 after a big blow from Nathan Lyon.
Lyon made his highest score against England hitting three sixes on his way to 31 off 27 balls.
He was the last man to fall for Australia after early day two wickets from Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Alex Carey.
Starc was out early on day two when he overshot a pull shot to Mark Wood and was caught for three. Pat Cummins then fell on Wood the same way Australia’s tail didn’t wag.
“It’s good planning, good execution. The Australians don’t play it (the short ball) well at all and gave a few wickets,’ said Michael Vaughan.
Carey failed to silence his doubters when Chris Woakes had the wicketkeeper chop for 24.
Lyon was eventually ejected by Stuart Broad as he hurled toward the fences, while Scott Boland finished undefeated in 10.
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FIFTH TEST PREDICTION
Saturday: 26, shower or two (70% chance of rain 1 to 5 mm)
Sunday: 24, partly cloudy (30% chance of rain 0 to 0.2mm)
Monday: 23, partly cloudy (20% chance of rain)
Tuesday: 19, cloudy (20% chance of rain 1 to 3 mm)
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Australia XI: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (c), Mitchell Starc, Scott Boland, Nathan Lyon
England XI: Rory Burns, Zak Crawley, Dawid Malan, Joseph Root (c), Ben Stokes, Ollie Pope, Sam Billings (wk), Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad
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On Friday, the first day would have gone to England after they won the toss and bowled to knock Australia down at 3-12, before a sparkling century from Travis Head (101 from 113 balls) rocked the innings.
Head was well supported by Marnus Labuschagne (44) and Cameron Green (74), who just missed the first test barrel.
England’s Stuart Broad (2-48) and Ollie Robinson (2-24) were the favorites of the English bowlers on day one.
However, a back injury to Robinson put pressure on the rest of England’s bowling attack and they failed to measure up.
Mark Wood and Chris Woakes each took a wicket on the first day but got a clip of (6.87) and (4.17) one over respectively.
Still struggling with the back issue, Robinson won’t bowl in the opening session, but will limit himself to fielding duties.
Speaking of Robinson, Michael Vaughan said: “It’s a huge blow, he bowled so well in the first few overs.
“But it’s a problem, because he declared himself fit in the morning. I think it was a toss up between him and (Craig) Overton. He said he was fit and 10 overs in he is going down with a back injury.
“He needs to be fitter to play Test cricket longer…I just want to see him bowl a little faster and for that he needs to be fitter…”
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Australia will look to improve their score past 300 on day two in a bid to set up the match and win a potential 4-0 Ashes series after England’s brave draw in Sydney.
Carey has come under fire for his shot and punch since his brilliant Brisbane debut and day two presents him with the perfect opportunity to silence the doubters and cement his place on the side with a big score to start the game to set up Australia’s advantage.
Rain threatens to disrupt day two again after it delayed the start of the test and caused stumps to be called early on day one.
“Moist. Partly cloudy. High (70%) chance of showers, most likely in the afternoon and early evening,” the forecast reads.
“In the afternoon and early evening there is a chance of a thunderstorm with possible heavy falls. “Winds north to northwest 15 to 20 km/h shift south to southeast 20 to 30 km/h in the middle of the day and then become light in the evening.”
It sets the tone for a pivotal day two for both sides looking to take a win with the weather threatening more interruptions throughout the game.