Adelaide Day 2 since I can’t think of another title

The second day has been extended to account for the missed overs yesterday- 99 due to be bowled. Weather at the start is similar to day 1 but slightly warmer but not by much. Start delayed by 10 mins due to light shower. England failed to deliver yesterday so need a good start to get back into the game, Australia on track for a good score and then put England to the sword under lights after tea.

Forecast for tea/short break 6/300.

Tea/short break Australia 6/306 – Marsh 49 Starc 4. Paine made a dogged and important 57 putting on 85 with Marsh following Handscomb going early in the piece for 36. His position is probably the one most at risk for Perth but we shall see. England had more purpose this session but the second string bowling is not what it should be – imagine what it would be like with Toby R-J or Finn to come thundering in! Anderson showed some of his old flair and form with two lbw dismissals overturned on referral to DRS.

So where does this match go? Australia will bat for the next session and probably into the twilight zone and then put England under severe pressure under the lights – that’s probably the strategy. England need to win here to have any Ashes hopes or did Root toss the Ashes away yesterday? The decision cannot have been his alone – perhaps arrogance has superseded confidence and the view is that our batting is brittle against Aussie pace?

Is this toss/decision on a par with the howlers of old? Hussain, Gower etc?

Forecast for the next break aka lunch/dinner Australia 8/395.

drinks 7/350 Marsh 78 Cummins 11 Starc not having lasted long after the last break. England struggling and it’s clear. Cummins took 37 balls to get off the mark but it all added to the pressure on England. An hour to the long break…forecast 8/400.

These forecasts are getting better – at the long break Australia 7/409 Marsh 103, Cummins 44. If the wheels haven’t come off yet, they’re certainly working their way loose! England are just waiting for the declaration and to try and survive the onslaught from the quicks who average between 15 and 17 in the twilight zone here at Adelaide in all first class matches. Wickets will fall in blocks in this game and my fear is that it will be England and soon.

Mentally shot if not after the slaughter at the Gabba then certainly here as we intended to bowl Australia out for next to nothing as ‘that’s what we’re good at’! Retaining the Ashes after what I’ve witnessed is going to be a challenge which I’d love to see succeed. Ok we did hold our own for the first three days at the Gabba but lost focus and patience and we’ve done the same here but we haven’t got our noses in front at all yet!

Forecast for the first break after the long break – Australia 9/440 dec and England 2/40

Close of play Australia 8/442 dec England 1/29 but rain stopped play and then brought an early closure, so it will be an early start tomorrow (why just not play day time tests? It only rained today during what would have been a normal lunch break!).

Australia were playing for the declaration and left England a possible 28 overs to face in the twilight zone. England’s poor start was not helped in that the batsmen had to be called from the pavilion – everyone else was ready to play! Stoneman was positive but was lbw to Starc but England tried to play the umpire who had made a couple of incorrect decisions earlier. They risked a review on his relatively poor performance but came unstuck!

Cook was bent on survival at all costs, eschewing the opportunity for quick singles to keep the scoreboard ticking over, rotating the strike and putting pressure on the bowlers, but no, Cook’s plan was Cook’s plan and nothing would shift him from it. Perhaps tomorrow they can’t shift him until he gets his hundred!

The difference in the bowling was stark and Starc – the latter achieving the fastest ball and balls of the match so far in the first over; so far ahead of Broad its embarrassing. Further embarrassment added when Hazlewood bowled the second faster over of the match, pushing Broad back still further and denting his massive ego!

Tomorrow England must dig in, consolidate and hold on. It will not be pretty either way!

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