Sports, Cricket

England left hurting after Aussie post 473

Published : 17 Dec 2021 09:35 PM | Updated : 18 Dec 2021 04:27 PM

Australia dominated the second day’s play of the Day-Night Test in Adelaide despite a few batting wobbles. After declaring on 473, the pacers got rid of England's openers to reinforce their domination.

Before a flash of lightning brought about an early close of play, Australia had the perfect start with the ball. Starc had Rory Burns nicking to the slip cordon, while debutant Michael Neser struck in his very first over having Haseeb Hameed chip tamely to mid-on.

A late dash with the bat from the lower order propelled Australia to 473 which was built on the back of patient knocks from the top order including a ton from Marcus Labuschagne. But despite being in control for large parts through steady partnerships, Australia wobbled twice. Steve Smith and Alex Carey had steadied Australia after the first wobble with a 91-run partnership. However, both were dismissed in quick succession before Tea by James Anderson.

Smith fell seven short of a ton, trapped LBW, while Carey presented a catch to cover soon after getting his fifty. But before that, the duo had played a largely steady hand right through the second session after England had similarly prised out two wickets in quick succession before the Dinner break. Carey found his scoring shots against Joe Root's offspin while Smith waited to put away anything that was inaccurate. Together they had put Australia on the ascendancy, and in a position to go for quick runs before Anderson put paid to those hopes.

With minutes to go for the Tea break, Anderson had Carey checking his shot and chipping to cover after he'd got one to nip in and stay low to end Smith's 201-ball stay. Australia had already had a ton on the day when Labuschagne, in the first session, registered his sixth hundred, and maiden Ashes one, before he was the subject of a lot of good fortune.

Needing five more to his overnight score to get a hundred, Labuschagne got there with a thick edge past the slip cordon for a boundary. It capped off a knock that was built upon immense patience in the face of some tight bowling. However, it was also one born out of good fortune. He had been dropped twice by Jos Buttler yesterday, on 21 and 95. Today, after reaching his ton, Labuschagne nicked one back again with Buttler catching it cleanly. However, Ollie Robinson, bowling his first ball of the day, had overstepped marginally. To add to Robinson's woes, he dropped him in the next over, getting a hand to a full-blooded pull but letting it slip through at square leg.

Labuschagne’s luck finally ran out on 103, which also allowed Robinson to make amends. Shouldering arms to a fullish ball nipping in, Labuschagne was hit on the back pad and given out on field and even a review couldn’t save him. It was a period of play where Robinson, operating on a fuller length, proved to be difficult to get by and went through a spell of 6-3-7-1 that challenged Smith as well. But soon after that spell, Smith found three boundaries in as many overs against Ben Stokes and Joe Root to race to his 32nd Test fifty.

But just as Australia began trying to assert themselves, England hit back. Travis Head lofted Joe Root straight back but was beaten in flight and yorked next ball. This was followed up by Cameron Green missing a straight delivery from Stokes in the next over, giving England a fillip just like the one they got before the Tea break before Australia stamped home their authority in the final session.

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