The Ashes: Australia beat England in second Test despite Jos Buttler resistanceon December 20, 2021 at 10:47 am

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Australia complete a 275-run victory over England in the final session of the second Ashes Test to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

Second Ashes Test, Adelaide (day five of five)
Australia 473-9 dec (Labuschange 103, Warner 95, Smith 93) & 230-9 dec
England 236 (Malan 80) & 192 (Richardson 5-42)
Australia won by 275 runs

Needing to bat out the day for a draw with six wickets left, England defied expectation to take the game into the final session.

Jos Buttler, who should have been caught for a duck, survived 207 balls for 26, raising slim hopes of the most unlikely of England escapes, only to fall in incredible fashion in the second over of the night session.

He saw off 31.2 overs with Chris Woakes, who made 44, and another 14.2 with Ollie Robinson but stood on his stumps when going back to a shorter ball from Jhye Richardson.

James Anderson was last man out, caught at gully for Richardson’s fifth wicket, with 20.5 overs left. England were 192 all out in 113.1 overs.

It leaves their hopes of a first Ashes series win in Australia since 2010-11 severely faded, as the tour moves to Melbourne for the third Test, which begins at 23:30 GMT on 25 December.

England have never come from 2-0 down to win the Ashes in the series’ 139-year history.

England fight but too late

England’s final-day exploits, by Buttler in particular, were valiant, but the result was still an emphatic Australia victory.

Buttler had hidden all the attacking instincts which make him one of the best limited-overs players in the world, only to fall bizarrely to end of his second-longest Test innings.

When Ollie Pope was caught at slip off Mitchell Starc for four in the second full over of the day, there were fears England could go within a session.

Ultimately their fate was sealed on day three when they served up their latest dismal batting collapse.

The defeat, England’s 11th in their past 12 Tests in Australia, was expected since then, and is particularly damaging when viewed in the wider picture.

This day-night Test was seen helpful to England’s cause, the floodlight conditions and pink ball supposed to help their seam and swing bowlers, and Australia were without captain Pat Cummins and fellow pace bowler Josh Hazlewood. It ended in a heavy defeat for Joe Root’s side.

Only once has a team come from 2-0 down to win the Ashes – Australia in 1936-37, and that was with legendary batter Don Bradman in their side.

The next Test is at the Melbourne Cricket Ground – the one venue England have avoided defeat in their winless run down under – but their fans will wonder why this batting grit did not come sooner.

Buttler shows the way

Buttler was fortunate not to make his second duck of the match when he nicked Starc early on, only for keeper Alex Carey to let the ball fly between him and David Warner at first slip.

A resolute innings followed, one that will likely secure Buttler’s place for the third Test, until he trod on the base of off stump when playing a regulation back-foot push.

Perhaps surprisingly, Woakes was Buttler’s most able partner throughout the day. He survived 97 balls, batting defensively but not afraid to punish bad balls, until he was bowled by Richardson with the second new ball – a delivery that cut back off the pitch.

Pope, however, came into the day needing to secure his own place but lasted only seven balls.

He poked at a ball he could have left from Starc on four, while Ben Stokes dug in against Nathan Lyon, one slog sweep his only flash of aggression, only to miss a straight ball on the back foot and fall lbw for 12 from 77 balls on review.

Richardson the latest Australian to stand up

For all Buttler’s grit, at no point were Australia anything other than huge favourites, although the passionate celebrations of Richardson’s dismissal of Woakes after a two-hour period without a wicket hinted at a team keen for a breakthrough.

Richardson is the latest Australian to contribute in the series, his five-wicket haul his first in his third Test.

He went wicketless in the first innings but was accurate and found movement in the second.

Despite the pre-match discussion about England’s hopes with the pink ball, Australia have won all nine day-night Tests they have played, with another to come in Hobart at the end of the series.

Starc was doubted before the series but continued his fine pink-ball record with another six wickets in this Test, taking his total in nine day-night Tests to 52.

During play Australia named an unchanged squad for the remaining three Tests, so, with Cummins set to return for Melbourne, and Hazlewood if his side injury allows, the hosts look primed to push for a series result similar to the 5-0 Ashes win in 2013-14, or the 4-0 four years later.

‘Impossible for England to win the series’ – reaction

England captain Joe Root: “It was heart-breaking to see Jos get out that way.

“Today he was a great example to the rest of the guys. That’s the desire and determination you need to win out here. The way he has gone about it is outstanding.

“We have competed in patches. We have to do it from ball one for five days. The attitude today was brilliant. Was just need to do more of it. I expect us to have that mentality for the rest of the series.”

Australia stand-in captain Steve Smith: “We weren’t nervous. They showed some good resistance and fight. Jos played extremely well. It was an innings we haven’t seen from him before; he’s usually a bit of a dasher.”

BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew: “At least England did show some fight, even if that’s clutching at straws. It’s going to take a miracle for England to draw the series. For them to win it from here is impossible.”

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