Josh Hazlewood justified his return to Australia’s team by ripping through England’s top order on an eventful day two of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.
After no play was possible on day one due to persistent rain, Australia captain Tim Paine won the toss and elected to bowl and then immediately announced that Hazlewood had replaced James Pattinson.
And the paceman, who impressed with his line, length and movement off the seam, took England’s first three wickets to set up Australia’s pursuit for victory.
Pat Cummins (3-61) and Nathan Lyon (3-68) also impressed as England were bowled out for 258 from 77.1 overs.
That left the tourists with a tricky 13-over period to negotiate before stumps and David Warner fell for just three – his third score of eight or less in as many innings – to Stuart Broad.
Usman Khawaja (18 not out) and Cameron Bancroft (five not out) took Australia to 1-30 at stumps, a deficit of 228 runs.
Australia’s impressive performance with the ball has given them a chance of victory but the forecast suggests there will be plenty of rain at Lord’s on day three.
And while day four and day five look relatively clear, if a large chunk was lost out of day three, it would make victory a tough proposition for either side.
Paine’s side gave themselves a sniff, though, with Hazlewood taking just three deliveries to open his account.
Jason Roy was his first victim, caught behind for a duck, and Hazlewood then trapped Joe Root (14) lbw after beating the England captain’s outside edge at regular intervals.
England could and should have been 3-40 but Khawaja messed up a seemingly regulation chance at gully, a Rory Burns (53) edge hitting him in the chest.
The hosts got to lunch at 2-76 but Hazlewood ended a promising looking partnership when Joe Denly (30) was caught behind.
Lord’s turned red in aid of the Ruth Strauss Foundation and Peter Siddle (1-48) would have been seeing red when Paine dropped an extremely gettable caught behind chance when Burns was on 47, the captain going one-handed.
That was the second chance to remove Burns dropped off Siddle’s bowling but the first Test centurion’s luck soon ran out when Australia finally held a chance.
It was an incredible catch, too, Bancroft showing why Steve Waugh said before the series “he is the best short leg I’ve ever seen” with an extraordinary reflex effort off the bowling of Cummins.
Siddle then got his deserved breakthrough when Jos Buttler (12) edged to Paine and England were reeling at 6-138 when Lyon got in on the act and had Ben Stokes (13) out lbw.
Jonny Bairstow (52) and Chris Woakes (32) compiled an important 62-run partnership, though, helping swing the momentum back in England’s favour.
Woakes rode his luck at times but the pair pushed England towards 200 as Steve Smith (0-6) was thrown the ball.
Smith was booed before he bowled his first ball and thought he may have had a wicket when Bairstow did not play a shot and was hit on the pads.
A review proved unsuccessful but Cummins came back into the attack with a barrage of short-pitched bowling to dismiss Woakes and England debutant Jofra Archer (12).
And Lyon then bowled Broad for 11 before having Bairstow caught out in the deep, the off-spinner now level with Dennis Lillee on 355 Test wickets for Australia.
Only Shane Warne (708) and Glenn McGrath (563) have taken more scalps for Australia in the longest form of the game.
Lyon’s last wicket set up a nervy period before stumps for Warner and Bancroft and the left-hander did not survive, bowled by Broad for three.
Broad has now dismissed Warner in all three of his innings this series.
Archer bowled well before stumps, too, moving his second ball a mile off the seam and looking sharp against Bancroft and Khawaja.
But the Australian pair survived ahead of a day three that is almost certain to be weather-affected.