Australia 126-3 after rainswept Day 1 of 4th Ashes test

SYDNEY, Jan 5: The fourth Ashes test sprung to life late on Day 1 after sweeping showers threatened to dampen the prospects of both teams for a positive start at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
After rain delays permitted only 21 completed overs in the opening two sessions Wednesday, runs and wickets came more frequently in the final passage of play as Australia reached 126-3 at stumps.
Steve Smith was unbeaten on six and Usman Khawaja was four not out when rain ended play for the day.
“It’s obviously out of our control,” opener David Warner said of the frequent stoppages for weather.
”We just have to readjust when we come off and go back on again.
“It is frustrating but we can’t do anything about it.”
Veteran seamer Stuart Broad, recalled to the England team after being omitted for the third test in Melbourne, went someway to vindicating his selection by dismissing Warner and generally appearing the most threatening bowler in the England attack.
Harris and Warner put on 50 for the first wicket before Broad made the breakthrough for England in the 21st over, teasing Warner onto the front foot and finding the edge which carried comfortably through to Zak Crawley at second slip for his 527th wicket in 151 matches.
Warner, who made 30 with six boundaries off his 72 balls, swiped his bat through the air in frustration at his dismissal and not capitalizing after making another good start to an innings in this series.
It was the 13th time Broad (1-34) has captured Warner’s wicket in tests, the most any bowler has captured the pugnacious left-handed opener.
“It is one of those things where a bowler bowls a lot at you and he obviously pitches the ball on the right areas a lot of the time,” Warner said.
“He’s very consistent, holds his length well and tries to create that false shot, which today I tried to drive the ball too straight where the other ones I drove through the covers was a bit squarer.
“That was my disappointment,” he added, “but it is awesome just to see Broady back out there. You want to see a world-class bowler and to have him and Jimmy Anderson bowling at us is great.”
Marnus Labuschagne joined Harris at the crease, but four balls into the 22nd over showers swept back over the ground forcing the players from the field after only 9 overs of play in the middle session, much to the disappointment of the crowd of about 30,000.
Play resumed shortly after tea and Harris and Labuschagne lifted the scoring rate, often finding the gap through cover for runs, and then clipping through square leg as the English bowlers over-corrected their line.
Harris made 38 but, like Warner, failed to capitalize on a good start as he edged a Jimmy Anderson (1-24) delivery through to England captain Joe Root at first slip to have Australia at 111-2.
Next over, Mark Wood (1-31) got a deserved wicket when his pace straightened up Labuschagne (28) on the crease and the world’s top-ranked batsman feathered an edge through to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler.
“You want to try and test yourself against the best players,” said Wood, who has now taken Labuschagne’s wicket in consecutive matches.
“I feel like I have bowled well (this series) but haven’t got the wickets I would have liked.”
“Thankfully I made Marnus play at that ball, which wasn’t easy to play at and found the edge. The ball before, he hit me for four and I just tried to really focus on that (next) ball and thankfully got it spot on.”
It was an eventful finish to the day after Australia skipper Pat Cummins won the toss and elected to bat first on a green-tinged SCG pitch.
Both teams made one change from the third test at Melbourne where Australia won by an innings and 14 runs to take a 3-0 series lead and retain the Ashes.
For Australia, Khawaja replaced Travis Head, who was absent after testing positive for the coronavirus. Broad returned for the injured Ollie Robinson.
England has lost the series but is still aiming to take something from the tour by winning an Ashes test in Australia for the first time in almost a decade. (AP)