England bowlers limit Aussies

Home batsmen fail to build on starts as visitors stage spirited fightback

England bowlers limit Aussies

A disciplined England attack shrugged off the challenge of a bland Adelaide Oval wicket to limit Australia to 273/5 and leave the second Ashes Test delicately poised after the opening day on Thursday.

Trailing 1-0 in the five-Test series, England could do little about the toss, but will rue some poor fielding late in the day, with three dropped catches letting Australia off the hook.

The third, a regulation chance spilled by two-Test opener Michael Carberry at backward point, spared Brad Haddin in the third-last over and the wicketkeeper survived to stumps on seven not out with Australia captain Michael Clarke on 48.

Blessed to bat first on a gentle Adelaide Oval wicket, Australia failed to cash in with four of their five batsmen throwing away their wickets after making promising starts.

In the final hour's play, Bailey was the third to score a half-century, his maiden in his second Test, but will regret pulling at a Stuart Broad delivery that ended up in a leaping Swann's sure hands at square leg.

Like Chris Rogers (72) and Shane Watson (51) before him, the one-day specialist Bailey was on top of the England bowlers and had carted recalled spinner Monty Pan esar for two sixes over his head and Broad for a third over the square boundary.

The England selectors' decision to pick a second spinner was validated as Swann and Panesar gleaned some encouraging turn from a flat deck that offered little for seamers Broad and James Anderson.

Captain Alastair Cook may rue the loss of a second straight toss with the wicket likely to break up later in the match, however. England's task could have been yet steeper, however, with Australia having cruised to 155/1 midway through the second session before Watson maintained his habit of failing to convert starts by spooning a catch back to bowler Anderson.

That ended a 121-run partnership with Rogers and sparked a collapse as Australia lost three wickets for 19 runs before stumbling to 174/4 at tea.

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