Khawaja leads Australian revival in Ashes afternoon session

BIRMINGHAM, England :An unbeaten 84 from opener Usman Khawaja helped Australia rebuild from some early losses to sit on 188-4 at tea on day two of the opening Ashes test at Edgbaston, with England still boasting a first innings lead of 205.

Ben Stokes had secured the prized wicket of talisman Steve Smith to leave Australia struggling on 78-3 at lunch, following Stuart Broad’s two wickets in two balls to remove David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne.

Khawaja, helped by Travis Head who scored 50, helped keep England at bay however, leaving the first test tantalisingly poised with one session of the second day still to come.

Saturday’s overcast conditions early on at Edgbaston favoured swing bowlers, movement that opener Warner could not handle as he played onto his stumps having scored nine – falling to Broad for the 15th time in his test career.

Veteran Broad swung another into Labuschagne the very next ball, catching the edge of the top-ranked test cricketer’s bat, with the catch brilliantly taken by Jonny Bairstow behind the stumps. It was Labuschagne’s first-ever golden duck in international test cricket.

Smith then fell relatively cheaply just before lunch to the pace of Stokes for 16.

But Head released the shackles for Australia after the break as conditions stayed more sunny and favourable for batting, targeting the bowling of Moeen Ali especially. He failed to get hold of one on-side drive, however, and Zak Crawley took a fine catch to end his innings.

Cameron Green looked shaky after coming to the crease but eased into the match and stayed alongside Khawaja, who has already amassed his highest ever score in England.

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