Australia dug out a hefty lead of 221 runs against England before drizzle prematurely ended day three of the second Ashes test at Lord’s on Friday.

Usman Khawaja fronted Australia’s dogged fight in bowler-friendly conditions with an unbeaten 58 from 123 balls.


His 60-odd partnerships with fellow opener David Warner and then Marnus Labuschagne kept Australia on top. Khawaja had Steve Smith beside him on 6 when stumps was called at 130-2 in their second innings, and 25 overs left unused in the day.

The Australians, already 1-0 up in the series, would be aiming for a lead of around 450 and a chance to bowl at England before tea on Saturday.

They’re mindful, though, of trying to win without Nathan Lyon, their frontline spinner who was out injured after hurting his right calf running to the ball after tea on Thursday. He came to Lord’s on crutches and had a “significant” strain, Cricket Australia said.

England squandered the gains it made on Thursday. The batters slumped to 325 all out, conceding a first-innings lead to Australia of 91 runs, then the bowlers couldn’t make the inroads that the Australians could earlier in the same conditions.

Cool overcast conditions that turned gloomier after midday supplied swing and bounce to any bowlers who could find the right lengths. The Australians did so consistently and the English didn’t.

The Australians picked up where they left off on Thursday, bowling short and hostile to defensive fields. They dismissed England before the new ball became available.

England resumed on 278-4 in reply to Australia’s 416, and the wicket of captain Ben Stokes to a wicked second ball of the day by Mitchell Starc started a rout of six wickets for 47 runs in less than 90 minutes.

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