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Ashes: England recovers Labuschagne and Smith at low cost after Covid chaos

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Ashes: England recovers Labuschagne and Smith at low cost after Covid chaos

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ngland put a troubled morning behind them to reclaim three wickets, including world No.1 hitter Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, in the morning session on day two at MCG.

The fate of the series is not clear, all players are set to receive PCR testing tonight after four members of the England party – two family members and two coaching staff – returned positive side streams.

England put this turmoil aside to enjoy their best session of the match (admittedly not a high bar). Having bowled for 185 on opening day, taken a single wicket in the evening, then seen the clouds part in the morning, they could easily have been put off.

But led by the pace of Mark Wood and the class of James Anderson, they took three wickets for 70 to stay in the game.

Ollie Robinson, seemingly short at a gallop, fired the night watchman Nathan Lyon (who had scratched some limits), to get England moving.

Labuschagne fell for just one, after a streak of 14 first innings with a lowest score of 47. Wood’s extra pace did the trick, finding the advantage for the first slide where Joe Root – the man who ‘he overtook to take the lead in the ICC batting standings this week – took a simple catch. It was the third ball of the day for Wood and the first in Labuschagne.

Smith got off to a very difficult start, with Jos Buttler leaving a very difficult chance on the side of Anderson’s legs in five. He did so at 16 before Anderson propelled him from the inside edge.

Across it all stood Marcus Harris, who by lunch had reached 48, his highest score in Ashes cricket. He leaned heavily on the edge of his bat which saved him when he was released by Ben Stokes on the 36th.

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