Australia moved into a commanding position to retain the Ashes after a crushing 275 run victory over England at Adelaide. The visitors were always up against it after being set a massive 468 to win. Despite some late resistance from Chris Woakes and Jos Buttler, the Aussies blew the tail away to go 2-0 up in the series.
England recalled the experienced pairing of Jimmy Anderson and Stuart Broad, whilst leaving out Mark Wood. The tourists also went into the game with out a recognised front line spinner, with no place for Jack Leach.
Aussies suffer a blow before play starts
Australia was hit by the late withdrawal of captain Pat Cummins due to him coming into contact with a person testing positive for covid-19. Steve Smith was given the captain’s arm band and his first decision to make was to decide to bat first.
The hosts soon found themselves in trouble when Marcus Harris(3) was brilliantly caught by Buttler leaping to his right one handed to cling on to the ball. However, just like at the Gabba, Australia responded in the shape of David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne. The pair added 172 for the second wicket before Warner fell five short of his century.
By the close of play, Labuschagne was unbeaten on 95 after being dropped twice by Buttler on 21 and 95.
England hit back despite Labuschagne century
Shortly into the second day Labuschagne reached his century. The talented batsman added a further three runs before being trapped lbw by Ollie Robinson. Travis Head(18) fell to Joe Root whilst Cameron Green(2) was bowled by Ben Stokes as England fought back.
But once again as has been the case in this series when Australia look in trouble there is always a partnership that steadies the ship. Enter Smith and Alex Carey with a stand of 91 rallied Australia round before Anderson struck twice in quick succession.
Anderson to the rescue
The Lancastrian removed Smith(93) and Carey(51) before some late hitting from Michael Neser(35) enabled Australia to declare on 473 for 9.
England were soon in trouble after slumping to 12 for 2. Rory Burns(4) edges Mitchell Starc to second slip with Haseeb Hameed(6) chipping to mid on. England had no more scares as they closed on 17 for 2.
Not for the first time in this series it was down to Root and Dawid Malan who rescued England. The pair took the total to 150 before Root(62) edged Green to first slip. Malan(80) followed shortly afterwards, slashing straight to Smith at first slip.
A familiar England collapse
This started something we have seen all to often from England, a collapse. The visitors lost their last eight wickets for 86 runs with Starc taking 4 for 37 and Nathan Lyon 3 for 58.
Australia decided not to enforce the follow on. Half centuries from Labushagne and Head enabled Australia to declare on 230 for 9, leaving England an improbable 468 to win.
The tourists quickly lost Hameed for a duck, Malan(20) trapped lbw by Neser and Root(24) off the last ball of the day to close on 82 for 4.
Australia poised for last day victory
Starting day the final day England still required a further 386 to win, but more realistically having to survive all day for a draw.
Ollie Pope(4) and Stokes(12) feel early on as England slipped to 105 for 6. There was some resistance from Woakes and Buttler who added 61 before Woakes(44) was bowled by Richardson. The 25-year-old Western Australian then produced a brute of a delivery that saw Buttler(26) hit his wicket.
Another short ball from Richardson got the better of Anderson(2) as Australia wrapped up victory late in the day to go 2-0 up. The next test is the traditional Boxing Day test at the MCG Melbourne, with Australia clear favourites to win the series.
For England their hopes of regaining the Ashes look dead and buried already with just two tests gone and three to go.