The Ashes: On day two of the day-night Test in Adelaide, a stumbling England slumped to 17-2 after 8.4 overs under the lights in reply to Australia’s huge 473-9 declaration.
Rory Burns (4) and Haseeb Hameed (6) both fell in the first seven overs as Mitchell Starc and debutant Michael Neser got to work with the pink ball, but an electrical storm forced England to retire early with a 456-run deficit.
Joe Root is undefeated on five, having edged the second ball he faced, bowled by Neser, barely short of Steve Smith at slip, while Dawid Malan is unbeaten on one, with the lightning likely sparing England more havoc.
Root’s team faces a major job if they are to avoid losing this Test and falling behind 2-0 in the five-match series – a scenario that would force them to win the final three games to reclaim the urn.
Burns’ disastrous series continued when he was squared up by Starc and edged through to Smith, while Neser took his first Test wicket when Hameed flapped to Starc at mid-on.
With an hour and a half left in the day – with England toiling after a 150-over stint on the field – Smith, who scored 93 for Australia, called his team in.
The tourists had reduced Australia to 294-5 in the first session, with Marnus Labuschagne (103) ultimately dismissed after four reprieves, before Ben Stokes (3-113) and Root (1-72) bowled Travis Head (18) and Cameron Green (2) in quick succession before dinner.
However, after Smith and Alex Carey (51) shared a 91-run sixth-wicket stand, Australia’s tail plundered 83 from only 60 balls for the eighth and ninth wickets, denying Smith his 12th Ashes century and 28th of his Test career.
During a stand of 58 from 51 balls with Starc, Neser (35 off 24) – in the Australia side due to Pat Cummins’ Covid-enforced absence – smashed Chris Woakes (1-103) for two fours and a six in an over (39no off 39).
Jhye Richardson (9) blasted Woakes over midwicket for six one ball before his dismissal forced the declaration. Starc hit three fours in four balls against Stokes.
When Labuschagne guided Anderson through the slip cordon for four off the 287th ball he faced, he clinched his first Ashes hundred, his sixth in Tests, and his third in pink-ball games.
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