Woakes comes up trumps, but Khawaja drop could be costly

An impressive Usman Khawaja was dropped after Chris Woakes brought breakthroughs for England in the middle session of the second Ashes Test.

Joe Root's men toiled hard in Adelaide as Australia reached 138-2 at dinner, but they ought to have been three down.

England's tails were up just four balls after the restart as Cameron Bancroft's rush of blood to the head prompted a run-out, with Woakes then taking the English bowlers' first wicket in more than 83 overs of Ashes play to remove David Warner (47) just as the opener was beginning to tick.

And Woakes was again in the thick of it as Khawaja (53 not out) top-edged a sharp bouncer six runs short of his fifty, but Mark Stoneman shelled the catch in the deep.

Warner and Bancroft's solid start was undone by poor communication between them, which left the latter stranded when Moeen Ali's fumble at cover ran kindly to Woakes, who took a moment to set himself and successfully shied with Bancroft way out of his crease.

The pressure was released some when Warner leant into a nice cover drive off James Anderson for four and the pace began to pick up alongside Khawaja, a centurion here facing the pink ball against South Africa last year, who hooked Test new comer Craig Overton for four. The debutant was swiftly removed after Warner hit him for consecutive boundaries.

Khawaja's struggles against off-spin have been well documented, but he hit Moeen for a pair of fours as the partnership ominously ticked past 50.

Woakes' return to the attack paid dividends as Warner was cramped for room and feathered through to Jonny Bairstow.

Captain Steve Smith (25 not out) almost ran out Khawaja first ball, but a better chance would come and go as Stoneman faltered after the left-hander mistimed towards deep backward square. 

Khawaja took full advantage, bringing up his ninth Test fifty with a false shot as an edged cut shot off Moeen ran to the rope, with that partnership alongside the skipper reaching 52 at dinner.

 

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