England battled to stay in Friday’s second Ashes Test after Australia removed both openers on day two in a fiery spell under lights to stagger the visitors. The home side declared their first innings with an impressive 473 for nine in Adelaide, forcing England to wait a difficult 40 minutes against a swinging pink ball. They didn’t do well with pressured Rory Burns holding on for just three balls against an unbridled Mitchell Starc, averting a surging delivery to Steve Smith on the second slip after just four balls.
Haseeb Hameed held out a little longer before Michael Neser, in for skipper Pat Cummins – who withdrew from the Test at the last minute due to a Covid scare – wrapped his first Test scalp.
Hameed, on six, chipped to Starc half way through while Neser was harassed by his teammates.
Once again, England’s fate rests with skipper Joe Root, who was undefeated at five alongside Dawid Malan at one as they reached the stumps 17 for two after lightning forced an early halt.
England crashed by nine wickets in the first Test in Brisbane and if they go down 2-0 in Adelaide the Ashes are all but gone with Root’s men looking to win all three remaining Tests.
Previously, Marnus Labuschagne scored a top score with a stunning 103, while David Warner (95) and Smith (93) provided vital support after Australia resumed from their overnight 221-2.
Ben Stokes was the England attack’s favorite 3-113, while Jimmy Anderson took 2-58.
Number three Labuschagne completed his epic century after he lined up on Thursday by hitting nearly all day, his sixth Testton and the first in an Ashes streak at a tenacious 287 balls.
But he struggled when Ollie Robinson was brought on the attack and he was stuck lbw, adding just eight runs to his overnight 95.
“It was nice to get that hundred, of course I got a few chances there, but that’s how it goes sometimes, you’re lucky,” said Labuschagne.
“It feels like you have to grind for every run you’re out there.”
Steve Smith does it again
Smith hit a fine of 93 to help Australia regain control after Travis Head and Cameron Green were knocked out in quick succession after Labuschagne left.
The captain was England’s main tormentor at the last Ashes in 2019, on his return from a ball tampering ban, and kept his cool in sweltering Adelaide.
He was ably supported by Alex Carey, who is on the team as a substitute wicketkeeper for former skipper Tim Paine, who retired on the eve of the Ashes over a texting scandal.
Smith came to the crease when Warner was out and barely set a foot wrong, handing a special penalty to Chris Woakes, breaking three limits in one and then giving him a big six.
He looked destined for a 28th Test century, but was sent off lbw to an Anderson ball that came up – the England veteran’s first wicket of the tour.
Carey soon after fell for 51, his first Test of half a century, chipping to Hameed on cover from Anderson.
Temperatures in Adelaide peaked at 37 degrees Celsius (99 Fahrenheit) as England toiled and desperately needed wickets to stay in the game.
They were rewarded for their persistence by not only passing Labuschagne, but also Head, who was very confident after an impressive 152 in the first test in Brisbane.
But he was undone by Root’s part-time spin, with the England captain finding his turn and bouncing, defeating Head with a throw that left him sprawled on one knee in disbelief, out for 18.
Green only lasted five balls, out for two with a fuller throw from Stokes clattering into his off-stump.
Tailenders Starc and Neser rubbed salt into English wounds in a quickfire 58-run stand before filing.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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