England reeling again at 34-2 in fifth Ashes Test

Hobart (Australia) (AFP) – Australia claimed both openers late in the first session to strengthen their grip on the fifth and final Ashes Test against England in Hobart on Saturday.


After the hosts were dismissed for 303 midway through the first session on day two of the day-night Test at Bellerive Oval, England were 34-2 in reply, with Dawid Malan on nine and skipper Joe Root on three.

England, who have already lost the series, did well to dismiss Australia but then faced a tricky session leading into the long break.

The tourists had a disastrous start to their innings when recalled opener Rory Burns was run out for no score with just two runs on the board.

Fellow opener Zak Crawley knocked a ball in front of him and called for a quick single, but the much-maligned Burns was slow to react and Marnus Labuschagne's direct hit found him centimetres short of his ground.

Crawley, who scored a fine 77 in England's second innings in Sydney, again looked assured until on 18 he got an inside edge onto his pad off Australian captain Pat Cummins and Travis Head took a sharp catch at short leg to leave England 29-2.

Root joined Malan at the crease and the pair steered England to the break with no further damage.

Australia had resumed on Saturday at 241-6 looking to take their score beyond 300.

This seemed unlikely when Mark Wood's bouncer barrage claimed Mitchell Starc and Cummins, the two men both caught trying to hook the English paceman.

Wood tried the same tactic against Nathan Lyon but with a vastly different result, the Australian number 10 smashing three massive sixes, one of which cleared the grandstand.

Wicketkeeper Alex Carey's disappointing series continued when he played on to Chris Woakes for 24, but Lyon and Scott Boland continued to play their shots and took the score past 300.

Lyon was last man out, playing across the line to a Stuart Broad straight ball which clipped the off-bail.

Broad was the pick of the English attack, taking 3-59 off 24.4 quality overs and while Wood also took three wickets, he was very expensive, his 18 overs going for 115 runs at 6.3 an over.

Ollie Robinson, who didn't bowl Saturday after suffering back spasms on Friday, took two wickets, as did Woakes.