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Australia 83-3 at lunch against England, Smith on 23

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Modified 02 Aug 2019

BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — England dominated the opening session of the Ashes series with Australia losing three early wickets Thursday after choosing to bat first at Edgbaston in overcast conditions.

Australia was 83-3 in 27 overs at lunch on Day 1 of the first test after former captain Steve Smith and Travis Head shared an unbroken 48-run partnership for the fourth wicket. Smith is on 23 and Head is on 26, both not out.

Jimmy Anderson, England's record test wicket-taker, bowled four tight overs — conceding only one run — before leaving the field. He has been sent for a scan on his right calf, the England and Wales Cricket Board said.

England's seamers claimed the wickets with Stuart Broad taking 2-17 and Chris Woakes 1-17.

Edgbaston is a hostile and raucous venue for visiting teams and Australian openers Cameron Bancroft and David Warner — easy to spot as players wore names and numbers on their shirts for the first time in test history — walked out to the wicket to chants of "Cheat, cheat, cheat," with some England fans waving pieces of sandpaper.

Bancroft was playing his first test since a nine-month suspension for ball-tampering. He was banned along with Smith and Warner, who both received 12-month suspensions. It's the full trio's return to an Australian side for the first time since the March 2018 sandpaper scandal of trying to alter the condition of the ball during the third test against South Africa in Cape Town.

Bancroft let the first ball of the Ashes — bowled by Anderson — go past his off stump. England failed to appeal for a catch behind on Warner's first ball of his innings against Broad with replays showing the batter appeared to get a light touch. In a twist, Warner wrongly failed to review in Broad's next over and was out leg before wicket for 2, leaving Australia 2-1 in the fourth over.

Bancroft (8) hit Broad for a four and then edged to Root at first slip off Broad's next delivery. Bancroft departed to boos and Smith entered to jeers with Australia 17-2. That became 35-3 when Usman Khawaja (13) edged behind against Woakes with the dismissal given on England's successful review.

Australia holds the Ashes — the urn traditionally awarded to the winner of cricket's oldest regular international series — after a 4-0 series win Down Under in 2017-18, but England goes into the five-test series after winning its first-ever World Cup title in the one-day format. It hasn't lost an Ashes series on home soil since 2001.

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Published 01 Aug 2019, 18:39 IST
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