Aust 2-73 battling in third Ashes Test

David Warner looked in good touch, but Australia otherwise made an underwhelming start to their second innings in the third Ashes Test.

The tourists reduced England’s lead to 72 runs at tea on day two at Edgbaston, racing to 2-73.

Warner did the bulk of the work on Thursday, passing 50 in just 35 balls.

It equalled Graham Yallop’s record for the fastest Ashes half-century.

Warner stroked nine boundaries, a couple of them flying off the edge but most coming from the middle of the bat.

Warner was 56no at tea, while Michael Clarke was on one and desperately trying to end the slump he’s been in since returning to the Test side from hamstring surgery.

Stuart Broad engineered the initial breakthrough, his first ball to Chris Rogers trapping the veteran opener lbw.

Rogers had a chat with Warner about the height of the delivery, eventually deciding to review only for the umpires to rule he took longer than the 15 seconds allowed.

Ball-tracking technology wouldn’t have saved Rogers in any event.

In his own unique way, Warner settled proceedings in a 45-run stand with Steve Smith.

Steve Finn’s first over went for 14 runs, while Moeen Ali’s opening over cost England 11 runs.

Australia ticked past 1-50 in 10 overs on the back of Warner’s aggression.

Smith needed to hold up an end, but a sloppy pull shot meant he was dismissed by Finn for the second time in the match.

The 26-year-old’s skied edge landed straight in the lap of keeper Jos Buttler.

Jimmy Anderson, who had called for a sledging armistice pre-series, chirped Smith twice during the second session.

England have only lost to Australia twice after holding a first-innings lead of 145 runs or more, in 1961 at Old Trafford and in 1892 at the SCG.

Earlier on Thursday, Ali and Broad hammered home England’s advantage.

The pair shared an 87-run partnership as the hosts were bowled out for 281.

Ali, who looked scratchy in the morning session, scored 36 runs off 33 balls after lunch.

The allrounder was particularly aggressive against Mitchell Johnson, whose three-over spell in the second session went for 27 runs.

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