Steve Smith stars as Australia set England 281 to win second ODI

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Steve Smith’s 94 off 114 balls underpinned Australia’s 280 for eight as they looked to move into an unassailable lead in their ODI series against England in Sydney.

Marnus Labuschagne sparkled with 58 off 55 balls and Mitch Marsh’s 50 off 59 deliveries added impetus late on, while Adil Rashid was the pick of the England bowlers with three for 57 in this second ODI.

Rashid returned alongside fellow T20 World Cup winners Sam Curran, Chris Woakes and Moeen Ali, who captained the tourists for the first time in an ODI in the absence of the rested Jos Buttler.

Australia also had a new skipper in Josh Hazlewood, with fellow fast bowler Pat Cummins sitting this one out, and were grateful for Smith’s fourth successive fifty-plus score in ODIs on a sunny afternoon.

After Australia raced to 33 without loss in five overs, Moeen brought himself on to bowl and the decision was immediately vindicated when David Warner swept to Liam Dawson inside the ring.

Woakes tightened up after conceding 20 from his first three overs and used subtle changes of pace to dry up the scoring but it was a quicker one banged into the pitch that did for Travis Head, whose pull caught the top of the bat and ballooned to Moeen at midwicket.

Smith bedded in well while Labuschagne was in a hurry, advancing down the pitch to Moeen second ball and whipping over the rope for his first six in ODIs. Labuschagne used his feet well to spinners, Moeen, Rashid and Liam Dawson, who bowled tidily in the middle stages to finish with 10-0-48-0.

But Labuschagne’s attempted sweep off Rashid took the top edge and looped gently to mid-off, while the leg-spinner had two in two when Alex Carey missed a cross-batted shot and was stumped by Sam Billings, deputising with the gloves in Buttler’s absence, as Australia slipped to 144 for four.

Smith had been overshadowed by Labuschagne, content largely to pierce the gaps and take the singles on offer, but after going to a 70-ball fifty, he became more adventurous and swept Rashid then Dawson for fours.

Curran, who conceded 55 in seven overs in his first outing since winning player of the tournament at the T20 World Cup, was clattered over deep square leg by Smith.

But six runs short of a century, he holed out in Rashid’s final over on a pitch that was starting to slow as the innings approached its conclusion.

Woakes’ knuckle ball clattered into Marcus Stoinis’ stumps while Marsh had a couple of lusty blows before he and Mitchell Starc were caught on the boundary off successive David Willey deliveries.

Australia, though, were able to add 76 in the final 10 overs.

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