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Australia take lead over England


Australia’s Usman Khawaja pulls a delivery from England’s Stuart Broad during the third day of their Ashes cricket Test in Sydney, on Saturday. – AP/PTI
 SYDNEY, Jan 6: Australia took the lead over England as Usman Khawaja closed in on his highest Test score in the final Ashes Test here today.The Australians passed England’s 346 total nearing tea in the chase for a big innings lead to put pressure back onto the tourists heading into the final days of the match.

At tea on the third day, Khawaja was unconquered on 166 off 368 balls and just off his highest Test innings of 174 scored against New Zealand in Brisbane in 2015.

Shaun Marsh reached his fourth half-century of the series and was 54 not out with Australia 365 for three, representing a lead of 19 runs with seven wickets intact.

It was the Pakistan-born Khawaja’s sixth Test hundred and first in Sydney and came at a time when some critics were calling for his sacking despite scoring two half-centuries earlier in the series.

Marsh survived a review on 22 for a catch behind off Joe Root after the “Snicko” and “Hot Spot” technology could not find supporting evidence.

England earlier claimed Steve Smith’s prized wicket before lunch for 83 when, with a fourth century of the series beckoning, Moeen Ali caught and bowled the Australia skipper. Smith, who looked untroubled batting patiently through the morning session, left the field shaking his head after batting for 253 minutes and facing 158 balls.

Smith and Khawaja seized the momentum for Australia with a 188-run stand as England chase a face-saving win after trailing 3-0 in the series. – AFP

SCORECARD

England first innings 346

Australia first innings (overnight 193-2): Bancroft b Broad 0, Warner c Bairstow b Anderson 56, Khawaja st Bairstow b Crane 171, Smith c and b Ali 83, S Marsh not out 98, M Marsh not out 63. Extras: (b2, lb3, w1, nb2) 8. Total: (4 wickets; 157 overs) 479. Fall of wickets: 1-1, 2-86, 3-274, 4-375. Bowling: Anderson 30-11-52-1, Broad 23-2-70-1, Ali 37-9- 125-1, Curran 20-2-71-0, Crane 39-3-135-1, Root 8- 3-21-0.

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