Half-century from Usman Khawaja and tight spells late in the day have kept the first day-night Ashes Test on an even keel after Day 1.
Even before the first ball was bowled in the afternoon, Joe Root raised few eyebrows by electing to field first on a placid track. With Australia at 209/4 after 81 overs, the skipper’s decision doesn’t seem as terrible as initially perceived.
David Warner and Cameron Bancroft established themselves in the first hour of the game, subduing the new-ball threat of James Anderson and Stuart Broad. But a hesitant call resulted in the latter finding himself short of the crease as Chris Woakes capitalised on the misunderstanding and effected the run out.
Warner looked set for a big score before a lapse in concentration saw him edge Woakes to Jonny Baristow for 47. The seamer produced another opportunity in the 40th over, rushing Khawaja into playing the hook stroke. The southpaw top-edged the head high ball but Mark Stoneman, despite making ground, couldn’t hold on to the chance at fine-leg. The 30-year-old battled through the first two sessions and registered his ninth fifty before fending a wide delivery from Anderson early in the third session to the gully region.
The talking point of the day and possibly an important one came from debutant Craig Overton as the 23-year-old cleaned up Steve Smith with an off-cutter and gave England the edge heading into the final hour. Broad and Anderson looked to capitalise on the opening but Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh made sure the hosts did not lose any more wickets in the day.