2021/22 Ashes Second Test
Australia make England look average in all departments to take a 2–0 series lead
More poor batting and mediocre fielding cost England in Adelaide as Australia took a 2–0 lead in the 2021/22 Ashes series.
England made two changes to the side that collapsed in Brisbane, with old hands Stuart Broad and James Anderson replacing Mark Wood and Jack Leach.
Australia were forced into the late change of their captain Pat Cummins who had come into contact with someone infected with coronavirus, and also the injured Josh Hazlewood.
The two fast bowlers were replaced in the lineup by Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson respectively.
It was vice captain turned captain for the test Steve Smith who won the toss and put his side into bat on the opening day, but when Broad found Harris’ edge down leg side with just four runs on the board and the pink ball seemingly likely to move around, he may have been thinking again about this decision.
Nevertheless, England failed to capitalise on this, and when Marnus Labuschagne joined David Warner in the middle, they were made to pay.
For nearly 60 overs, the pair made the tourists’ bowlers toil in the heat, and put on a partnership of 172 for the second wicket.
Labuschagne was dropped by Jos Buttler when still in the 20s and once the partnership was finally broken when Ben Stokes got the wicket of Warner, the damage had been done.
Labuschagne was dropped for a second time by Buttler as he finished the day 95 not out, leaving Australia firmly in control going into day two.
The runs came thick and fast the following day, but even when the scoreboard wasn’t ticking over Australia kept hold of their wickets.
Labuschagne reached his ton but fell to Ollie Robinson soon after. When Head and Cameron Green fell in quick succession, Australia were five down with less than 300 on the board.
A sniff for the visitors? There was a chance, until Cairey, Starc and Neser cameos helped propel the hosts to the 470 mark against England’s lethargic bowling.
The declaration came, and the weakest opening pair in test cricket was once again at the mercy of the Australian bowling attack.
Those of you who say this is an exaggeration, both openers were gone by the seventh over leaving England in a heap of trouble…again.
The close of play couldn’t come quick enough for the tourists, but the next day had a sense of dejavu.
Root and Malan put on 138 for the third wicket, but once Root fell England fans everywhere feared the worst, and rightly so.
The remaining seven wickets fell for just 79 runs, with only Ben Stokes outside the top four making a decent knock with the bat. The third highest partnership of the innings was 16, and that was between James Anderson and Stuart Broad.
Smith showed mercy on England by not enforcing the follow on, instead sending Warner and Harris out to bat for the final 17 overs on day three.
Warner fell at the hands of a bizarre run out, but the hosts ended yet another day of Ashes cricket in firm control.
The fourth morning brought a flurry of wickets, including two for number three batsman Dawid Malan and fast bowler Ollie Robinson bowling spin…
Despite this, Australia declared on 230–9, setting England a mammoth 468 to win the second test.
Could England at least dig in for a very unlikely draw? The second innings started about as well as was to be expected.
Hameed fell for a six ball duck and a steady flow of wickets throughout the last session of the day prevented any worrying partnerships from developing. When Joe Root fell with the final ball of the day, England were 82–4.
Ollie Pope joined Ben Stokes at the crease for the start of the final day, but he lasted just seven balls.
For the latest in a long line of occasions, it was England’s bowlers who showed more fight with the bat than their batting counterparts.
Chris Woakes scored a gritty 44 and with Jos Buttler alongside him started to raise hopes of that unlikely draw.
Unfortunately, the wickets continued to ebb away and when Buttler stepped on his own stumps it felt as though England’s tour had been summed up.
The tail were swept away and England were bundled out for jus 192; a defeat of 275 runs.
England have been very poor almost from the off this winter, but the batting continues to be a huge concern.
Without two of their frontline fast bowlers, Australia ripped through England twice with relative ease.
It is an uphill battle for England now, but the priority in the third test should be to put in a performance that at least restores some pride, because pride is something that has been in short supply on this tour so far.