Men’s Ashes: England v , fourth Specsavers Test (day one of five)
170-3: Labuschagne 67, Smith 60*; Broad 2-35
England: Yet to bat

have “nullified” England’s momentum from Headingley on day one of the fourth Ashes Test at , says former captain Michael Vaughan.

and Marnus Labuschagne hit fifties to guide the tourists to 170-3 on a rain-shortened day in Manchester.

England had levelled the five-match series at 1-1 with an astonishing one-wicket win in the third Test in Leeds.

“All this talk of momentum is absolute nonsense between games,” Vaughan told BBC Test Match Special.

“It does not exist – during games it can exist, but as soon as a game finishes there is no momentum to be gathered by either side.”

Stuart Broad struck twice early on to remove openers David Warner and Marcus Harris but Smith and Labuschagne responded with a stand of 116.

“What have done is they’ve nullified Headingley,” said Vaughan.

“They’ve said to themselves, ‘Headingley is gone, we’ve got 170 already on the board and if we have another good day tomorrow, England have got to bat very, very well in this Test.'”

After Broad’s superb early spell, England’s bowlers at times toiled in the high winds, with fast bowler Jofra Archer down on pace as he failed to regularly reach 90mph.

Vaughan said England did not bowl “on or around off stump” enough against an line-up that has shown weakness in that area this series.

“Against both batting units, if you can be consistent around that off stump, full of length, things will happen,” he explained.

“I wonder whether England will realise that, as much as it has been tough, they’ve potentially missed a big opportunity.

“When the opposition bat first and get 300-plus, there are not many times England can win.”

batsman Labuschagne hit his fourth consecutive fifty in the series before he was bowled by an excellent delivery from Craig Overton that jagged in and flicked the top of off stump.

Labuschagne said his side had talked about how “momentum only matters if you allow it to.”

“We’ve not been getting too far ahead when we’ve been doing well and we’ve not been getting too down when we’ve been doing poorly,” he said.

“That’s been the key, to not let momentum take its course.”

Somerset seamer Overton, who is playing his first home Test after being preferred to Chris Woakes, said England are “slightly behind” after day one.

“The conditions weren’t quite with us but we’ll come back tomorrow and try to get a couple of early ones and be right back in the game,” he said.

“I wouldn’t look much into Jofra being down on pace – he’ll be raring to go again, bowling as quick as he can and hopefully take a few wickets as well.

“Smith is the big one that we want to get. We’ll come back with a positive attitude and try and get him early.”


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