Oz openers build on commanding lead


Australia held a commanding 362-run lead at stumps on day three of the second Ashes Test at Lord's, after opting not to enforce the follow-on and reaching 108 for none at the close.

England had been bowled out for 312 just after tea, still 254 runs behind Australia's first innings total of 566, but Michael Clarke opted to give his bowlers a break and sent Chris Rogers (44 not out) and David Warner (60 not out) to the middle.

The drama-filled day began with England on 85 for four, with Alastair Cook and Ben Stokes starting the day on 21 and 38 respectively. They had rescued the side from 30/4 the night before, and continued in that vein.

The pair batted briskly in the morning, and both recorded their half centuries in short order, Stokes before Cook. The all-rounder was out for unlucky 87 before lunch though, bowled by Mitchell Marsh.

Cook continued at the other end with Jos Buttler until the lunch break, where England went into the hut on 181 for five. It was after this interval that things got interesting, with Buttler involved in both incidents.

The first was an edge off Mitchell Johnson that Buttler sent behind to wicketkeeper Peter Nevill. He took a diving catch low to his right, and the umpire lifted the finger, but Buttler asked for it to be looked at upstairs.

Many a replay showed what looked like the ball grazing the grass while Nevill was in the air, and the decision was controversially overturned. Buttler did not make the most of it though, reaching 13 before edging Nathan Lyon to Nevill.

The touch was so faint that even Hot Spot could not pick it up, and Kumar Dharmasena was shaking his head not out, but Buttler didn't even think twice about turning and walking back to the pavilion. A rare instance of good sportsmanship, or silly from a team perspective? Opinions were divided.

Cook continued at the other end with Stuart Broad and edged closer to his 28th Test ton, but the skipper was unable to reach it and fell four runs short, out to Marsh. Cook got an inside edge that clattered into his leg stump.

Australia wrapped the innings up after tea, with Josh Hazlewood trapping Moeen Ali in front for 39, and then bowling Mark Wood for four. Johnson got the final wicket of BRoad, who had made 21.

Clarke has never been one for enforcing follow-ons, and the trend continued here, as he sent his batsmen in with 20-odd overs remaining in the day. Warner was dropped in the slips before he got off the mark, Adam Lyth making a hash of a simple chance, and Warner advanced to 60 by the close.