Gallery: Smith and Marsh rescue Australia after England give early jitters

Sport360 staff 24/11/2017

Skipper Steve Smith led a rescue mission to revive Australia's fortunes after a top-order batting collapse in the Ashes Test against England in Brisbane on Friday.

Home hopes rested on Smith to mount a fighting rearguard after the loss of four wickets in a faltering chase after England's first innings of 302 at the Gabba.

At the close on the second day, the Australians were 165 for four and trailing by 137 runs, with Smith unbeaten on 64 and Shaun Marsh not out 44.

It left the match intriguingly poised once again after England ended day one in a similar position before collapsing before lunch on Friday.

Smith was then thrust into another high pressure situation after Australia suffered a now-familiar malfunction at the top of the order.

Check out the gallery above for all of the key moments from the second day.

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Ball says early wickets on Day 3 will hold key for England after Smith and Marsh rescue Australia

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Got the important wicket of David Warner: Jake Ball

Seamer Jake Ball believes early wickets will be the key to swing the momentum in England’s favour on day three after Steve Smith’s unbeaten half-century rescued the hosts at the Gabba.

Dawid Malan (56) contributed the tourists’ third half-century of the match but England lost their final six wickets for the loss of just 56 runs as they were bowled out for 302.

England piled the pressure on with four early wickets but an unbeaten 64 by Australia captain Smith and a patient 44 not out from Shaun Marsh provided some resistance as the Baggy Greens finished the second day on 165 for four.

Ball, who dismissed David Warner for his first Ashes wicket, told BT Sport: “The wicket isn’t too bowler-friendly so you have to stick in there and wait for the mistake. We didn’t quite expect the pitch that we have got here but I think we have adapted well with bat and ball.

“It’s pretty good, we just had a chat and we know if we get two quick wickets in the morning then you have (Pat) Cummins and (Mitchell) Starc coming in, so two quick wickets in the morning and we are right in this game.

“I think we have done excellently well today. We have executed our plans and we are due a bit of luck so in the morning hopefully we will get that.

“The atmosphere is amazing. I got a bit of stick down by the pool but that just adds to the whole occasion and that’s what you expect. It has been a really good start, a good couple of days’ cricket and I’m looking forward to the next three.”

Australia bowler Starc, who finished with figures of three for 77, praised the unbroken 89-run partnership between Smith and Marsh, alongside the bowling attack.

He said: “I guess we had to sort of adapt to the wicket – it’s not a general Gabba wicket that we see, it usually gets a bit harder on day two but it’s like a normal day one wicket.

“But we had to find a way to generate a few wickets and I think six for about 115 is a great way to finish with the ball and then a great partnership between Steve and Shaun is a great way to finish too.

“They have done fantastic. It is not the ideal start with the bat to be four for not a lot, but they dug in, faced a lot of balls and ground it out and found a way to build a nice partnership, got us to stumps and something to build on tomorrow now.” 

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Virat Kohli bemoans lack of preparation time for South Africa tour

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Kohli expressed unhappiness over India's cramped schedule.

Speaking on the eve of the second Test between India and Sri Lanka, hosts’ skipper Virat Kohli expressed dismay at India’s hectic schedule in the lead up to the South Africa tour at the end of the year.

“As usual cramped for time, which I think we needed to assess in future as well because we very easily assess the team when go abroad but we don’t look at how many days we have got to prepare before we go to a particular place to play,” Kohli said at the pre-match press conference at Nagpur.

India are set to depart for their South Africa tour just two day after finishing their engagements against Sri Lanka on December 27. Their final T20I against the islanders will be held on December 24. Kohli’s men will play their lone two-day warm-up game beginning on December 30 before turning up for the first Test against the Proteas on January 5.

“Unfortunately we get only two days before we fly to South Africa after this series gets over. So we have no choice but try to be in a game situation and think of what’s coming ahead of us,” Kohli remarked.

“Had we got a month off ideally, we would have done a proper preparation in a camp sort of scenario but we have to sort of make do with what we have,” he added.

Kohli also refused to commit to a two-spinners attack abroad.

Kohli also refused to commit to a two-spinners attack abroad.

The 29-year-old said that due to the lack of time for preparations for the South Africa sojourn, the hosts have been forced to develop green tops in the ongoing Sri Lanka series to fine tune their game.

“As usual cramped for time, which I think we needed to assess in future as well because we very easily assess the team when go abroad but we don’t look at how many days we have got to prepare before we go to a particular place to play.

“Everyone starts judging players when results come after Test matches. It should be a fair game where we get to prepare the way we want to and then we are entitled to be criticised.

“So we thought this is an ample opportunity for us to challenge ourselves, put us in a situation,” Kohli said,

The Indian skipper also said that he cannot promise to play with two-spinners attacks in Test abroad despite Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja’s impressive run with the red-ball.

“I can’t commit to that 100 percent when we play abroad that we will be playing with two spinners, to be honest because we need to have a look at the balance of the side as well. Obviously, those two guys with their batting abilities are both contenders to start a Test match abroad,” Kohli said.

India and Sri Lanka had played out a draw in the opening Test at Kolkata and both sides will be looking to strike the first-blow in the three-match series during the second Test at Nagpur starting on Friday.

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