England frustrated by weather in Ashes test, Australia 54-2
LEEDS, England (AP) — England's bid to make inroads into an Australia batting lineup missing star player Steve Smith was being frustrated by rain and bad light on a stop-start opening day of the third Ashes test on Thursday.
About three hours of play had already been lost to rain or bad light when the players returned at 4:30 p.m. local time after an early tea, with Australia 54-2 after being put into bat. Boos rang around Headingley because of the last stoppage, which was required even though floodlights were on.
Marcus Harris (8) and Usman Khawaja (8) were the batsmen to depart, both caught behind off deliveries by Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad, respectively, as England's bowlers continuously threatened under cloudy skies in northern England.
David Warner somehow survived, despite repeatedly playing and missing off Broad especially, and was 26 not out — the first time in this series he has reached double figures. Marnus Labuschagne, in the team because Smith was diagnosed with delayed-onset concussion, was unbeaten on 7.
Warner and Labuschagne were more than happy to go off the field for bad light when the opportunity was offered to them by umpires.
Smith anchored Australia's batting in the first two tests, scoring 144, 142 and 92 in his three innings. He didn't bat a second time in the second test at Lord's last week after being withdrawn from the match after being struck on the neck by a delivery from Archer.
Khawaja edged behind down the legside off one of Broad's worst deliveries of the day. Wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow took the catch and has dismissed Khawaja in the batsman's last eight Ashes innings (seven catches and a stumping).
Archer, English cricket's newest sensation, kept up the stunning start to his test career by getting an edge off Harris, recalled in place of Cameron Bancroft, from the final ball of his second over, with Bairstow also taking the catch. Playing in his second test, Archer roughed up Harris a ball earlier with a short-pitched delivery that hit the opener in the midriff.
England, trailing 1-0 in the five-match series, was unchanged but tinkered with its batting lineup by playing Ben Stokes at No. 5, lifting Bairstow to No. 6 and dropping Jos Buttler to No. 7.
Australia paceman James Pattinson returned in place of Peter Siddle in another change by the tourists.