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The Ashes: Malan makes mark, but Aussies rally

PUBLISHED: 07:59 24 November 2017 | UPDATED: 07:59 24 November 2017

England's Dawid Malan celebrates his fifty during day two of the Ashes Test match at The Gabba (pic Jason O'Brien/PA)

England's Dawid Malan celebrates his fifty during day two of the Ashes Test match at The Gabba (pic Jason O'Brien/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

The first Test remains nicely poised after the second day of play at The Gabba, with Australia reaching 165-4 in reply to England’s first innings score of 302.

England's Dawid Malan plays a shot as Tim Paine looks on during day two of the Ashes Test match at The Gabba (pic Jason O'Brien/PA) England's Dawid Malan plays a shot as Tim Paine looks on during day two of the Ashes Test match at The Gabba (pic Jason O'Brien/PA)

Middlesex batsman Dawid Malan made an impressive half-century to help the tourists reach 246-4, in a notable stand with Moeen Ali, but the pair then fell in quick succession to prompt an England lower-order collapse.

Left-hander Malan hit 11 fours in his 130-ball 56, following first-day half-centuries from Mark Stoneman and James Vince, before mistiming an attempted pull off Mitchell Starc to Shaun Marsh at deep square leg.

Ali was trapped leg before wicket by Nathan Lyon in the next over for 38 and Chris Woakes followed to the spinner for a fourth-ball duck as England lost a third wicket for just four runs.

Stuart Board made a cameo 20 to help Joe Root’s men past the 300-run mark and then struck first blood with the ball, getting Cameron Bancroft to edge to Jonny Bairstow in the fourth over.

England's Jake Ball celebrates the wicket of David Warner during day two of the Ashes Test match at The Gabba (pic Jason O'Brien/PA) England's Jake Ball celebrates the wicket of David Warner during day two of the Ashes Test match at The Gabba (pic Jason O'Brien/PA)

Ali trapped Usman Khawaja after coming into the attack early on to leave Australia 30-2, with Malan taking a juggling catch at mid-wicket to give Jake Ball the scalp of the dangerous David Warner with the score on 59.

Jimmy Anderson got an lbw decision on review to send Peter Handscomb packing and make it 76-4, at which England were firmly on top.

But Australia captain Steve Smith came to his side’s rescue with support from Marsh, as the pair put on an unbroken 89 in the final session.

Smith frustrated the England attack to reach the close on 64, having faced 148 balls, and the recalled Marsh was alongside him on 44 not out.

Their combined efforts cut the deficit to 137 runs heading into day three, when England will hope for early success with the ball to expose the Australian tail and raise hopes of remaining ahead going into the second innings.

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