England shrugged off a COVID-19 scare to grab three wickets and restrict Australia to 131 for four at lunch on day two of the third Ashes Test in Melbourne on Monday.
Two England support staff and two of their family members tested positive for COVID-19, forcing a half-hour delay to the start of play at the Melbourne Cricket Ground as the entire camp waited to be cleared after undertaking rapid antigen tests.
Once play resumed with Australia 66 for one, Ollie Robinson, James Anderson and Mark Wood each took wickets to pull England back into the contest after their batsmen fell cheaply for 185 on day one.
Marcus Harris was 48 not out at the break, with Travis Head on 11 on a sunny afternoon at the MCG, with England’s lead trimmed to 54 runs.
England’s seamers took time to find their lengths but Robinson soon had nightwatchman Nathan Lyon caught behind for 10 with a sizzling delivery.
Wood then fired up England with his express pace to have danger man Marnus Labuschagne caught by captain Joe Root in the slips for one run.
Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler dived to his right but put down a difficult one-glove chance that would have had Steve Smith caught for five, the batsman nicking an inside edge that pinged off his thigh pad.
But James Anderson was ultimately rewarded for a superb spell by having Smith play on to his stumps for 16.
Harris, struggling for runs after the first two Tests, enjoyed some fortune on 36 when he was given out lbw off the bowling of Ben Stokes. He immediately reviewed and the ‘Snicko’ technology appeared to show a nick, overturning the decision.
Holders Australia, who lead the five-match series 2-0 after wins in Brisbane and Adelaide, can retain the urn with a draw in Melbourne.
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