Australia moved to 170-3 at stumps as rain dominated play on the first day of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
An early double strike by Stuart Broad left the visitors struggling at 28-2 after Tim Paine chose to bat first. The Englishman’s effectiveness dismissed David Warner for a duck and fellow opener Marcus Harris for just 13.
Broad’s good work was forced to take a back seat as the inclement weather rolled into play.
The stop-start affair did provide one highlight as Steve Smith returned from his bout with concussion to record a fourth fifty in as many innings. The star batsman was 60 not out when play was eventually called off with just 44 overs bowled.
Smith’s latest half-century was his eighth successive Test fifty against England.
His partner, the in-form Marnus Labuschagne, combined to add 116 in 33 overs.
Labuschagne was bowled for 67 after seamer Craig Overton got one to move back in off the seam.
No 5 Travis Head joined Smith to see out the remainder of play with the former surviving a review for LBW before another rain delay halted play.
The five-match series is currently locked at 1-1. Australia won the first fixture at Edgbaston in Birmingham and the second at Lord’s in London was drawn while England triumphed in the Leeds Test.
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