Warner digs in as Broad and Anderson restrict Australia to 45-1
Adelaide (Australia) (AFP) – David Warner weathered a hostile barrage from veteran England seamers Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad as Australia crawled to just 45 for one at the end of the first session of a dramatic second Test against England on Thursday.
The opener went to the dinner break of the day-night Test unbeaten on 20 with Marnus Labuschagne not out 16 after a nervy start against some brilliant bowling.
The pink-ball clash was rocked less than three hours before the start when Australia captain Pat Cummins was sensationally ruled out by a Covid scare. His deputy Steve Smith won the toss and opted to bat on a fine and hot day.
England had controversially left out Anderson and Broad, who had 1,156 Test wickets between them, from their heavy nine-wicket defeat in the first Test at Brisbane.
But skipper Joe Root learned from the mistake and they returned at the expense of Mark Wood and spinner Jack Leach, bowling in tandem once more in a fiery opening spell at the Adelaide Oval.
The headband-wearing Broad accounted for Warner seven times on a horror Ashes tour of England in 2019 and he made a massive appeal for lbw on his first ball to the 35-year-old, who has been nursing bruised ribs.
Warner survived, but both Broad and Anderson were hitting the seam, causing all sorts of trouble.
Marcus Harris never looked comfortable and was given out lbw to Broad after making just three, only to see the decision overturned on review.
Buttler flying catch
But it was a brief reprieve with Harris lasting only eight more balls before fluffing a pull shot off a Broad short-ball that wicketkeeper Jos Buttler took with a flying catch down leg side.
Harris also failed to fire in Brisbane, and is now under fierce pressure to hold onto his place, with Usman Khawaja waiting in the wings.
The usually flamboyant Warner dug in, making just one run off his first 35 balls and surviving two reviews before hammering a loose Chris Woakes delivery to the boundary for the first four of the game.
With the dogged Marnus Labuschange at the other end, they left the ball well and picked off runs when they could.
Warner clipped Broad through mid-wicket for another boundary, then clobbered him to the ropes again, but it was a tough first session for the batsmen.
Australia went into the match without fast-bowler Cummins, who was sensationally ruled out just hours before the start for being in close contact with a positive Covid-19 case.
His absence elevated Smith to captain for the first time since being axed over a ball-tampering scandal in 2018.
Michael Neser replaced Cummins for a Test where they are also without the injured Josh Hazlewood.
The world's number one Test fast bowler was at an Adelaide restaurant on Wednesday evening when a person at the neighbouring table was identified as positive for coronavirus.
Cummins isolated when he became aware of the situation and has since returned a negative Covid test, but under South Australia state's strict bio-security rules he must now stay in his hotel room for seven days.
"Gutted to miss this Test but really excited to see (Michael) Neser finally get his chance in the baggy green," Cummins tweeted.
Cricket Australia chief Nick Hockley told reporters that Cummins hadn't breached any of their protocols and should be available for the third Test in Melbourne on December 26.
© 2021 AFP