England continued to play catch-up on Day 2 of the 2nd Ashes Test in Adelaide. The visitors were 2 down for 17 by Stumps in the pink-ball Test after Australia declared their first innings on 473 for 9.
England opener Rory Burns’ (4) poor form continued as he edged a delivery from Mitchell Starc that seamed away to second slip. Michael Neser then got a wicket with his second ball in Test cricket as Haseeb Hameed (6) chipped a full delivery straight to mid-on. England were trailing by 456 runs when lightning forced players off the field and have a mountain to climb.
Earlier, Marnus Labuschagne, who ended Day 1 on 95, went on to complete his sixth Test hundred by nudging James Anderson past second slip for a boundary. Ollie Robinson thought he had Labuschagne caught behind with his first delivery of the day. However, it turned out to be a no ball. Not long after, Robinson could not cling on to a tough chance offered by the same batter while he was fielding near square leg.
Labuschagne stretched his luck too much, though, and was eventually dismissed for 103. The Australian batter shouldered arms to one from Robinson that nipped back in sharply off the seam and was trapped in front of the stumps.
Labuschagne’s chancy innings lasted 305 balls. Stand-in skipper Steve Smith looked in good touch and eased to his half-century. He brought up his fifty in a bizarre manner. He tried to smash Ben Stokes through mid-on but top-edged the ball over the keeper.
Australia’s hero of the Brisbane Test, Travis Head, was dismissed cheaply. On 18, he played all around a full toss from Joe Root and was cleaned up. Stokes continued England’s fightback by knocking over Cameron Green (2) with a brute. Despite England’s comeback, at 302 for 5, Australia maintained the upper hand at the end of the first session.
Steve Smith misses out on hundred but Australia’s lower order fires
Smith and Alex Carey (51) featured in a sixth-wicket stand of 91. Both batters found boundaries at regular intervals. Smith looked set for a hundred on his unplanned return as captain but fell seven short. He was rapped on the pads by a length ball from Anderson that nipped back in. The umpire raised his finger and the decision stood via ‘umpire’s call'. Smith faced 201 deliveries, hitting 12 fours and a six during his impressive innings.
Carey brought up his maiden Test fifty in his second match, tucking Robinson into the leg side. His innings ended on 51 as he sliced a simple catch to cover off Anderson. Debutant Neser enjoyed his first stint with the bat. He smacked Chris Woakes for two fours and six in an over as Australia moved towards declaration.
Neser contributed a brisk 35 off 24. Mitchell Starc chipped in with an unbeaten 39. Australia declared after Jhye Richardson (9) was caught behind off Woakes. Their bowlers then carried on the momentum.