England defend selection calls as Australia dominate opening day of pink ball Test

David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne hit 95 each as hosts reach 221-2 by stumps on Thursday

Marnus Labuschagne and David Warner of Australia celebrate their 100-run partnership on day one of the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval. Getty

England assistant coach Graham Thorpe defended their team selection despite picking up just two wickets on the first day of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide on Thursday.

The visitors recalled veteran seamers James Anderson and Stuart Broad, which meant there was no space for express quick Mark Wood or spinner Jack Leach.

The similarity of England's seam attack was exploited by the Aussies as David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne hit sparkling 95s to take the score to a strong 221-2 by stumps on Thursday.

"We picked the right team for this match," Thorpe said.

"On another day, we could have grazed the edge more. I thought they played very well. There was a bit of a rub of the green but they played well.

"I thought we stuck at it well. They played particularly well in those first few sessions. The run-rate didn’t go too far but we'd love to have more wickets down. They defended straight and every time we went fuller they punched us down the ground."

The visitors came into the day-night Adelaide Test on the back of a nine-wicket defeat at Brisbane but confident they could get back into the five-match series.

But even with the greatest wicket-takers in English history back in the side they struggled to make inroads.

A consolation for England is that the world's premier Test bowler, Australia skipper Pat Cummins, was ruled out less than three hours before the start over a Covid scare.

The tourists did snare an early breakthrough with Broad getting Marcus Harris for three, before Warner and Labuschagne put on 172 for the second wicket.

Warner looked destined for his 25th Test century as he began to open his bat, but fell in the nervous 90s for the second Test in a row, caught by Broad off Ben Stokes.

Labuschagne almost did the same, also on 95, when wicketkeeper Jos Buttler dropped a sitter off Anderson - much to the delight of the home crowd.

Updated: December 16th 2021, 3:16 PM