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Australia’s lead nears 400 despite England’s early three-wicket burst

England’s paceman Ollie Robinson switched to bowling off-spin after Joe Root was injured in the warm-up

Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head knuckled down to take the second Ashes Test further away from England on Sunday after Australia lost three early wickets in a lively start to day four at the Adelaide Oval.   

With England captain Joe Root initially missing after injuring himself while warming up, the hosts resumed their second innings at 45 for one and reached 134 for four at the end of the first session in the day-night Test. 

First-innings century-maker Labuschagne was not out 31 and Head, who hit 152 in the opening Test at Brisbane, was unbeaten on 45 after Australia lost three wickets for seven runs early in the session.

They negotiated 75 minutes against a pink ball under lights that evening, but lost David Warner, run out for 13 after an amateurish mix-up with Marcus Harris.

Neser negotiated seven balls before a full-length Anderson delivery knocked over his middle stump, and Harris departed two balls later to a blinding catch from wicketkeeper Jos Buttler after getting a nick off Broad.

Buttler’s celebrations were short-lived when he incredibly missed a regulation catch the very next ball, handing Smith a lifeline in a blunder reminiscent of the two sitters he put down from Labuschagne in Australia’s first innings.

A cautious Labuschagne and Head slowly built a 79-run stand, with Head clattering Chris Woakes for four to extend the lead past 300. 

With Root struggling and England leaving out regular slow bowler Jack Leach, England resorted to pace man Robinson bowling three overs of off-spin, presumably to keep the over rate ticking along.

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