Ben Stokes reached his half-century as he and Jos Buttler nudged England along to 157-4 in a solid opening session for the hosts on day five of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s.
On the ground where they helped England to Cricket World Cup glory against New Zealand last month, the duo dug in to stretch their fifth-wicket partnership to 86.
After a delayed started due to rain, England’s batsmen rode their luck at times but escaped unscathed, in the process extending the lead to 165.
Steve Smith was absent from the field after the tourists confirmed he would play no further part in the contest due to a delayed concussion, Marnus Labuschagne cleared to replace the batsman for the remainder of the contest.
Stokes got England up and running with successive boundaries before Australia wasted a review when challenging an unsuccessful lbw appeal against the all-rounder.
David Warner was close to pouncing on a thick Stokes edge, which trickled down to third man for four runs.
Nathan Lyon (0-65) had Stokes prodding following that near-miss, but the Durham man stood firm, reaching 50 prior to the interval.
Our lead passes 150…
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) August 18, 2019
With Buttler (31 not out) keeping things steady at the other end, Lyon continued to test Stokes as lunch approached, though Australia could not find a breakthrough.
Joe Root will have to work out how long England will bat on before deciding if it is worth risking a declaration, with the early rain cutting it down to 88 overs in the day.