Australia take 2-0 Ashes lead

Australia are close to regaining the Ashes, beating England by 120 runs in Adelaide.

Chasing 354, England were 4/176 at stumps on day four, setting up an intriguing final day.

That intrigue was quickly destroyed, with England losing 6/57 in 22 overs. Mitchell Starc took 5/88, supported by Nathan Lyon (2/45) and Josh Hazlewood (2/49). England captain Joe Root (67), Jonny Bairstow (36), Mark Stoneman (36) and Dawid Malan (29) provided some resistance.

Australia need one more win to regain the Ashes. England can’t afford to lose again and need two more wins. Australia could have the Ashes back before Christmas, for the fourth time in the last five home series’ (previously done in 2002/03, 2006/07, 2013/14).

Leading by 215 runs on first innings, Australian captain Steve Smith was criticised for not enforcing the follow-on on the third evening. Jimmy Anderson (5/43) and Chris Woakes (4/36) capitalised, dismissing Australia for 138.

England’s biggest mistake was winning the toss and bowling first, echoing Nasser Hussain’s similar blunder at the Gabba in 2002/03.

Shaun Marsh scored 126 not out as Australia declared their first innings at 8/442. Tim Paine (57), Usman Khawaja (53), David Warner (47), Pat Cummins (44), Smith (40) and Peter Handscomb (36) compounded England’s misery, though debutant Craig Overton (3/105) and Stuart Broad (2/72) tried to minimise the damage.

Lyon (4/60), Starc (3/49) and Cummins (2/47) then dismissed England (Overton 41 not out, Alistair Cook 37, Woakes 36, Moeen Ali 25) for 227.

The third Ashes Test – at the WACA – starts on Thursday December 14th.

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