First-innings centurion Usman Khawaja and youngster Cameron Green are amassing a sizeable lead for Australia over England in the fourth Ashes test in Sydney on Saturday.
After the loss of key batsmen David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith to have the Australians at 86 for four, the pair were stabilising the innings and lifting the home towards a 300-plus run lead on the fourth day.
At tea, Australia’s lead was 271 runs at 149 for four – with Khawaja on 35 and Green not out 26.
Khawaja is enjoying a fine match on his test return after 30 months on the outer, and adding to his superb 137 in the first innings
Smith again failed to get going after a 31-ball stay and was bowled for 23 after he was late on the shot from a Jack Leach skidder.
Smith looked at the pitch in disbelief as the ball came on him quicker than he expected as it took out the middle and off-stumps.
So far in the series, Smith has scored a total of 217 runs after scoring 93 in the second Adelaide test and his series average stands at 36.16, well below his current test average of 60.84.
Mark Wood once again captured the valued wicket of the number-one-rated test batsman Marnus Labuschagne, having him caught behind for 29.
The Durham express bowler has now taken Labuschagne’s wicket three times among his eight wickets in the series in the space of 52 balls.
Australia lost openers David Warner (3) and Marcus Harris (27) before lunch.
The indefatigable Wood angled a scorcher from over the wicket and coaxed an outside edge off Warner for stand-in wicketkeeper Ollie Pope to take the catch.
Pope was deputising for Jos Buttler, who had X-rays after taking a blow to his left index finger while keeping on day two. Buttler’s injury will be evaluated at the end of the Sydney test, team officials said.
The stand-in took another catch to dismiss Harris offspinner Leach.
England earlier added 36 runs before they were dismissed for 294 to give Australia a 122-run innings lead.
Jonny Bairstow added 10 more runs on the fourth morning before he looked to play Scott Boland down to third man only to get an outside edge for wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
The big Yorkshireman soaked up the crowd’s applause as he left the field, after his first Ashes century in Australia.
Bairstow faced 158 balls and hit eight fours and three sixes, battling on after taking a nasty blow to his thumb from Pat Cummins when he was on 60.
Boland continued his remarkable series with his team’s best figures of 4-36.
Since his extraordinary test debut in Melbourne, where he was man of the match with 6-7, he has captured 11 wickets at 8.27.
Marcus Harris, David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steven Smith, Usman Khawaja, Cameron Green, Alex Carey (wk), Pat Cummins (capt), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Scott Boland
Haseeb Hameed, Zak Crawley, Dawid Malan, Joe Root (capt), Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Jos Buttler (wk), Mark Wood, Jack Leach, Stuart Broad, James Anderson