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by Our Sports Desk
ENGLAND were slightly ahead as the Morning Star went to press yesterday, having set a target of 431.
The visitors stood at 258 for 5 by our deadline, shortly before the close, Ben Stokes just having taken Adam Voges’s wicket.
Australia had ended England’s first innings by lunch, Mitchell Starc bowling James Anderson to wrap things up.
Australia made reasonable progress in the afternoon at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, cutting England’s lead to 285 for the loss of two wickets by tea on the second day of the first Test.
Opener Chris Rogers hit a world record-tying seventh successive half-century. But he was caught by Jos Buttler off Mark Wood ball just short of a century, at 95.
Rogers became the fifth batsman, and first opener, to score seven consecutive 50s. The previous six scores were last December-January at home against India.
Australia lost opener David Warner pretty quickly, going for 17 soon after lunch. After Rogers and Warner worked hard for nine overs to get to lunch on 26 without loss or incident, Warner was the centre of attention straight after the break.
In the first over delivered by Stuart Broad, Warner bashed him to the boundary through the covers and straight down the ground.
In the second, Warner successfully appealed an lbw decision against him off Anderson, with video showing the ball outside leg stump.
In the fifth he was out, trying to drive Anderson and edging to Alastair Cook at first slip, ending an opening stand of 52.
Cook’s pleasure turned to pain in the same over, when the England captain misfielded a one-bouncer off Smith’s bat, was hit in the groin and had to leave the field briefly.
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