December 27, 2017 / 1:50 AM / 3 months ago

Cricket-England fight back as Australia 326-8 at lunch

MELBOURNE, Dec 27 (Reuters) - Debutant paceman Tom Curran ended Steve Smith’s epic unbeaten run at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as England’s bowlers rallied with five wickets to reduce the hosts to 326 for eight at lunch on day two of the fourth Ashes test on Wednesday.

Curran, who was denied David Warner’s wicket with a no-ball on day one, bowled the Australian captain for 76 early in the session to grab his maiden test wicket.

Stuart Broad grabbed another two victims, and James Anderson and Chris Woakes chipped in with one apiece as Australia lost five wickets for 65 runs.

Pat Cummins was four not out at the break, with fellow tail-ender Josh Hazlewood yet to score on a baking hot day.

Australia resumed on 244 for three after finishing on top at the end of a meandering day one, but the hosts were soon on the back foot.

Curran struck with the second ball of his morning spell, with Smith playing away from his body and dragging a wider ball onto his stumps, his first dismissal at the MCG since the Boxing Day test against India in 2014.

Smith had scored 445 runs in four innings at the MCG, with unbeaten knocks of 165 against Pakistan last year, and 70 and 134 against the West Indies in the 2015 test.

The wicket was a huge relief for Surrey seamer Curran, who had opener Warner caught on 99 after lunch on day one, only for the batsman to be recalled when the replay showed the bowler had overstepped his mark.

Mitchell Marsh was out for nine, also chopping onto his stumps when playing at another wider delivery by all-rounder Chris Woakes.

Shaun Marsh dug in to raise his half-century before being trapped leg before for 61, the wicket awarded after bowler Broad demanded a review.

Wicketkeeper Tim Paine hit a brisk 24 before becoming the third Australian batsman to chop on with an attempted pull-shot off Anderson.

It was Anderson’s 520th test wicket, pulling him past Courtney Walsh to fifth on the all-time list.

Broad capped off a dominant morning session by having tail-ender Jackson Bird lbw for four. (Editing by Greg Stutchbury)

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