Warner and Labuschagne hit 50s as Australia take charge of 2nd Ashes Test

Australia managed just 45 runs in the opening two hours of the day-night Adelaide Test against some brilliant seam bowling, but they flowed more freely after the break.

Australia's batsman David Warner ducks away from a bouncer on the day one of the second cricket Test match of the Ashes series between Australia and England in Adelaide on 16 December 2021. Picture: William West/AFP

ADELAIDE - A stoic David Warner and workmanlike Marnus Labuschagne weathered a barrage from veteran seamers Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad to take charge of a dramatic Ashes Test against England in the second session Thursday.

Australia managed just 45 runs in the opening two hours of the day-night Adelaide Test against some brilliant seam bowling, but they flowed more freely after the break.

Warner, who made just one off his first 35 balls, reached his 32nd half-century on his way to an unbeaten 65 and Labuschagne was not-out 53 in a ominous 125-run stand as Australia moved to 129-1 at tea. Marcus Harris was the only dismissal.

The pink-ball clash was rocked less than three hours before the start when Australia captain Pat Cummins was ruled out by a COVID scare. His deputy Steve Smith won the toss and opted to bat on a hot day.

England 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.

Their discipline and accuracy restricted Australia in an attritional first session, where Harris fell.

The opener never looked comfortable and was given out lbw to Broad after making just three, only to see the decision overturned on review.

But he lasted just eight more balls without scoring before fluffing a pull shot off Broad, in his 150th Test, that wicketkeeper Jos Buttler took with a flying catch down leg side.

Harris also flopped in Brisbane and is now under pressure to hold onto his place.

The headband-wearing Broad accounted for Warner seven times on a horror Ashes tour of England in 2019 and he made a massive, but unsuccessful, appeal for lbw on his first ball to the 35-year-old, who is nursing bruised ribs.

The usually flamboyant Warner dug in, surviving two reviews before hammering a loose Chris Woakes delivery to the boundary for the first four of the game.

With Labuschagne at the other end, they picked off runs and accelerated the pace as the day wore on.

RODE LUCK

Warner walloped two boundaries early in the second session as he began to find his groove, reaching his 50 off 108 balls by pulling Ben Stokes to the ropes.

The 35-year-old Warner, who made 94 in Brisbane, has compiled 18 of his 24 Test centuries on home soil, including his highest score of 335 not out in Adelaide against Pakistan two years ago.

Labuschagne struggled at times and was dropped by Buttler on 21 after gloving an attempted pull shot, and Stokes missed a chance when he was on 45.

But he rode his luck and brought up his 12th Test 50 off a snail-like 156 balls.

Australia went into the match without fast-bowler Cummins, who was ruled out 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.

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 has since returned a negative COVID test, but under South Australia state's strict bio-security rules he must now isolate for seven days.