SYDNEY – England claimed the big wicket of David Warner to have Australia two down in their chase after the tourists’ first-innings 346 on day two of the final Ashes Test in Sydney on Friday.
The Australian vice-captain reached his fourth half-century of the series before James Anderson coaxed an edge for wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow.
Warner was on his way for 56 off 104 balls as Australia reached tea at 96/2, with Usman Khawaja on 36 and Steve Smith not out three to trail the tourists by 250 runs.
Cameron Bancroft was earlier bowled for a seven-ball duck to ramp up the pressure on the struggling opening batsman.
Stuart Broad got one to nip back and knock over Bancroft’s middle-stump to continue the opener’s run of dismissals after an unbeaten 82 in the second innings of the first Brisbane Test.
England’s maligned tail earlier piled on runs before the tourists were bowled out at lunch.
Newcomer Tom Curran smacked 39 off 65 balls, Moeen Ali hit 30 and Stuart Broad clubbed two sixes in his 31 off 32 balls as England lashed out late in the extended morning session.
Smith pulled off a stunning one-handed catch to dismiss Dawid Malan for 62, but the Australians were guilty of two embarrassing dropped catches to give England a helping hand.
The Australian skipper made an athletic diving catch to end the dangerous left-hander’s innings inside the opening half-hour’s play.
Smith, who had dropped his previous three chances over the last two Tests, flung out his left-hand at second slip to make the catch off Mitchell Starc.
Malan, who was dropped by Smith at slip on Thursday’s opening day on 34, was not as fortunate this time as his four-hour stay ended after 180 balls.
Malan, who hit a century in the third Perth Test, has scored 378 runs at 47.25 in the series, second only to Alastair Cook for England.
But Australia then dropped two regulation catches in the space of four balls nearing drinks.
Pat Cummins put down Curran on 21 at mid-on off Nathan Lyon, and then in Cummins’ next over, Josh Hazlewood made a dreadful hash of a skied catch at mid-on from Moeen Ali on 22.
It was the 11th dropped catch by Australia’s fielders in the series, with five coming off Lyon’s bowling.
But Cummins made partial amends when he had Moeen caught off his glove to a lifter for 30, giving wicket-keeper Tim Paine his fourth catch of the innings.
Broad and Curran hit out late in the session with Broad clubbing Cummins for two sixes to the delight of England’s Barmy Army supporters.
He finally fell to a bat-pad catch by Bancroft for 39 off 65 balls to give Cummins his fourth wicket.
Broad went for another heave on 31, only to top-edge behind the wicket for Smith to take the catch and give spinner Lyon his only wicket.
Debutant Mason Crane was the last man out, run out for four.
Australia have already clinched the Ashes with an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-Test series.
* Latest score: Australia 131/2 off 45 overs (Usman Khawaja 60* Steve Smith 13*)