ADELAIDE: Australia took firm control of the second Ashes test on Sunday when a century from Shaun Marsh pushed the hosts to the highest innings score in a day-night match at Adelaide Oval on 409 for seven at the end of the second session.
England struck early and put in a much improved exhibition of pace bowling but were robbed of two wickets by the DRS and are now likely to have to face a twilight assault by Australia’s much-vaunted attack.
Marsh put on 85 with wicketkeeper Tim Paine as the most controversial selections in the Australia squad for the first two tests frustrated England, then added 97 with Pat Cummins and notched up his fifth test century.
The 34-year-old reached the milestone by pulling Chris Woakes to the square leg boundary for his 12th four before whipping off his helmet to acknowledge the applause of another bumper crowd at the Adelaide Oval.
Dropped when Alastair Cook and James Vince collided in the gully just ahead of the dinner break, Marsh will resume on 103 with Cummins on 44 not out — unless Australian skipper Steve Smith decides on a declaration.
Australia, winners by 10 wickets in the series opener in Brisbane, had started the day on 209-4 but were five down just three balls into the action when Stuart Broad trapped Peter Handscomb plumb lbw for 36.
Both Marsh and Paine were given out lbw to James Anderson in the opening session but both survived on review when tracking showed the ball would have gone over the stumps.
Paine completed his third test half century — seven years after his second — before holing out in the deep for 57 half an hour before the first break to give debutant England seamer Craig Overton his second test wicket.
Marsh completed his ninth test half century early in the second session and crept rather than charged towards the conversion, which he achieved off 213 balls.
Cummins, meanwhile, took 37 deliveries before he got off the mark with his first boundary before adding six more fours for his highest test score.
Australia may need to use the wicketkeeping skills of Cameron Bancroft or Handscomb at some stage in the match after Paine twice took the ball on his right index finger, a digit that has been operated on five times in the last seven years.