England bowler Mark Wood hailed the team’s solid start to the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney, despite the “carnage” affecting their preparations.
The tourists restricted Australia to 126-3 on a rain-affected first day, with Wood, the recalled Stuart Broad and James Anderson taking one wicket apiece.
Since their Ashes hopes were extinguished in the third Test, England have seen captain Joe Root dogged by questions about his future and head coach Chris Silverwood contract Covid-19.
“The build-up has been carnage. No coaches, different staff. It’s focussed us, brought us together and we’re trying to show as much fight as we can,” said Wood.
“It was a tough day, stop-start. To put the two wickets on at the end changes the perception. If we can start well tomorrow we’re right in the game.”
Only 46.5 overs were possible amid multiple delays and Australia may find their hopes of an Ashes series whitewash frustrated by more rain, which is forecast for Thursday and Saturday.
Broad had opener David Warner caught by Zak Crawley for 30, while Marcus Harris went for 38 when Joe Root caught him off Anderson and Wood removed Marnus Labuschagne for 28 just before the close.
Steve Smith and Usman Khawaja remain at the crease on six and four respectively, with play set to resume on Wednesday at 11pm UK time.
“That’s Sydney weather for you. It rains pretty much every Test we play here. We were surprised with how much play we got,” said Warner.
“We were always going to bat. There are quite a lot of cracks underneath the surface. We wanted to be the ones bowling last.”
England remain without a win in an Ashes Test in Australia since 2011.