MANCHESTER: Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne helped Australia recover to 98-2 by lunch on Day 1 of the fourth Ashes test after England paceman Stuart Broad took two early wickets, including David Warner for a duck.
Australia was 28-2 after the loss of Warner and Marcus Harris (13), but Labuschagne moved onto 49 off 82 balls and Smith looked well set on 28 by the end of the session.
Rain stopped the resumption of play after lunch.
The series is tied at 1-1 with two matches left.
After Australia won the toss and chose to bat first at a windy Old Trafford, Warner went to leave a wide delivery from Broad on the fourth ball of the innings but ended up getting a nick behind to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
Warner has only reached double figures once in seven innings this series — in which Broad has got him out five times.
Harris was then trapped lbw by Broad off the last ball of the seventh over. Australia reviewed but replays showed the ball was just clipping a stump.
That brought Smith to the crease and he was soon facing Jofra Archer, the fast bowler who delivered a bouncer into the neck of the Australia batsman in the drawn second test at Lord's. Suffering with delayed concussion, Smith didn't bat in the second innings at Lord's and missed the third test won by England at Headingley.
Archer sent down an early bouncer that Smith easily evaded, and the talismanic batsman — who has made 144, 142 and 92 in this series — was looking untroubled in his 48-ball knock that includes four fours.
Mitchell Starc, overlooked for the first three tests, was chosen ahead of Peter Siddle as Australia's third paceman on the traditionally quick wicket in Manchester.
England also changed its bowling attack by bringing in Craig Overton, who had 0-14 off four overs. Joe Denly will open the batting instead of Jason Roy, who will come in at No. 4 after a series of cheap dismissals.