Australia captain Steve Smith led a spirited fightback by the home side on the second day of the first Test at the Gabba.

England had fallen for a below-par 302 all out as they lost three wickets for four runs, and their last six for 56, after a stand of 83 between Dawid Malan (56) and Moeen Ali.

But they responded in the field by sticking to their captain Joe Root’s plan with accurate bowling before Smith (64 not out) lifted his team from 76 for four to 165 without further loss at the close in tandem with Shaun Marsh.

Smith needed to be at his most watchful and determined on his way to a hard-earned 112-ball 50 after four England bowlers had taken a wicket each.

Morning session

Malan’s debut Ashes half-century was the highlight for the tourists as Australia fought back to claim six wickets for 56 runs as the momentum swung towards the home side.

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen certainly thought the tourists were on top.

Malan (56) had put on a fifth-wicket stand of 83 to raise hopes of a big first innings total but Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc shared six wickets during an extended first session.

Dawid MalanDawid Malan celebrates his Ashes debut half-century (Jason O’Brien/PA)

After losing Malan and Moeen in successive overs England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow failed to arrest the slide and only some late hitting from Stuart Broad took the total past 300.

Afternoon session

Bowlers continued to be in the ascendancy as England grabbed three wickets in the afternoon session to put the pressure back on the home side, including the big wicket of Warner who fell to Jake Ball.

Cameron Bancroft’s debut first innings ended when he edged Stuart Broad behind and then Usman Khawaja fell lbw to Moeen.

Stuart Broad and James VinceStuart Broad, left, and James Vince celebrate the wicket of Cameron Bancroft (Jason O’Brien/PA)

When David Warner was caught at midwicket off Jake Ball the home side reached tea at 76 for three and England were back in charge.

Evening session

The final session belonged to Australia as Smith and Marsh steered their side back into the match, but only after a further success for England’s bowlers.

James Anderson trapped Peter Handscomb lbw on review and England had hopes of rolling the home side over after reducing them to 76 for four.

But that was where Smith and Marsh dug in to to put on an unbroken stand of 89 as Australia ended the second day of an enthralling contest on 165 for four.

Reaction to day one

England bowler Broad was enthused after the second day of an intriguing battle for supremacy.

2️⃣ brilliant days of #Ashes cricket 🏏. It’s awesome fun to play in…

A post shared by Stuart Broad (@stuartbroad8) on Nov 24, 2017 at 12:37am PST

Former Australia spinner Shane Warne was equal in his praise for both captains.

Former England captain Michael Vaughan was also full of praise for Root’s performance.

Whereas former England international David Lloyd had other things on his mind!

At least former Australia batsman Damien Fleming was gripped by the contest.