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Rain rules at Headingley despite Archer and Broad strikes
Conditions are poor in Leeds.
Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad took a wicket each as Australia reached 39 for two on a rain-affected first day of the third Ashes Test at Headingley.
Taking note of the murky conditions England captain Joe Root opted to bowl first but just 14.5 overs were possible before 3pm as showers repeatedly interfered with the on-field action, delaying the start by 70 minutes and forcing the sides off twice, before the returned just after 3.30pm.
Archer removed recalled opener Marcus Harris for eight with the last ball of the first mini-session, a wonderful delivery kicking and seaming in the channel outside off stump. Broad added Usman Khawaja after play resumed in the afternoon, a loose delivery down the leg side clipping the edge after a succession of brilliant balls from the veteran seamer had failed to do the trick.
David Warner was somehow still in position on 18, reaching double figures for the first time in the series, despite groping listlessly outside his stump on numerous occasions.
He was effectively beaten by 12 of his first 25 deliveries – a sorry tale of 10 plays-and-misses, an outside edge and an lbw shout – but was clinging on at the second rain break.
Marnus Labuschagne, the second change in the top four having replaced concussion victim Steve Smith, had yet to score from his first 16 balls but was struggling visibly to lay a bat on Archer.
Play at Yorkshire’s first Ashes Test in a decade belatedly began at 12.10 but only four overs were possible before lunch, Archer striking at the very last moment.
Harris, replacing the out-of-sorts Cameron Bancfroft at opener, was not subjected to any of the blood-curdling, bone-crunching bouncers that Archer routinely unleashed on debut at Lord’s last week and was instead unpicked by some cerebral seam bowling.
Having challenged the stumps as a gentler fast-medium pace and found a little swing, he got one to lift just outside off, clipping the edge of an inevitable defensive prod.
Harris walked off in disappointment, with the umpires signalling the rest of the players to follow as rain returned.
Eventually returning after two fine maidens, Broad settled into another wonderful spell at the Kirkstall Lane End and soon had Warner lunging and scrambling.
In the end he claimed a richly-deserved breakthrough when his immaculate line wavered, Khawaja nicking one to Jonny Bairstow as it slid towards his pads. England successfully referred a not out decision to bring Labuschagne to the crease.
Archer summoned his first bouncer of a stop-and-start day at 2.38pm, not quite straight enough to have the new man hopping, but cleanly beat him twice and went perilously close to bowling Smith’s following a bold leave.