Monday, 17 January, 2022

England fight back in 2nd Ashes Test after Labuschagne century

England fight back in 2nd Ashes Test after Labuschagne century

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England grabbed three vital Australian wickets, including Marnus Labuschagne for 103, to claw their way back into the second Ashes Test in Adelaide on a scorching day two Friday.

Australia were 302 for five at dinner in the day-night Test, with stand-in captain Steve Smith unbeaten on 55 and Alex Carey not-out five in front of his home crowd.

Unflappable number three Labuschagne completed an epic century early in the first session after setting himself up by batting almost all day on Thursday, coming to the crease when Australian opener Marcus Harris fell cheaply to Stuart Broad.

He brought up his sixth Test ton and first in an Ashes series off a dogged 287 balls with a boundary off Jimmy Anderson.

But Labuschagne struggled when Ollie Robinson was brought into the attack and was trudging to the pavilion when he was caught by England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler on 102.

However, replays showed it was a no-ball and the batsman headed back to the crease, only for the grin to be quickly wiped off his face minutes later when he was trapped lbw by Robinson, adding just eight runs to his overnight 95.

Travis Head (18) and Cameron Green (2) also fell before the first break, but Smith, who took over the Australian captaincy when Pat Cummins was ruled out for being a close contact of a Covid positive case, looked in ominous touch.

Smith brought up his 32nd Test 50 with a wild top edge off Ben Stokes that flew over Buttler's head, but was otherwise composed.

Temperatures in Adelaide were a sweltering 37 degrees Celsius (99 Fahrenheit), with England facing a long, hot day in stifling heat and desperately needing wickets.

They were rewarded for their persistence when Head, high on confidence after smacking 152 in the first Test at Brisbane, was undone by Joe Root's part-time spin.

The England captain was getting some real turn and bounce with the pink ball and Head was beaten by a late dipping ball that left him sprawled on one knee in disbelief, gone for 18.

Lanky Green only lasted five balls, with a fuller delivery from Stokes clattering into his off-stump -- the star all-rounder's second wicket after snaring David Warner for 95 on Thursday.

Australia will be hoping to bat as long as possible, then potentially hand the new ball to Mitchell Starc, Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson to target England under the Friday night lights.

The hosts lead the five-match series 1-0.