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Ashes 2017/18: Australia finish off England, take 2-0 lead as Hazlewood stars

6 December 2017 6:33 AM
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An inspired and express Josh Hazlewood has led the way for Australia as England were ruthlessly dispatched on the fifth afternoon of the day-night Test to give Steve Smith's men a 2-0 lead in the Ashes series.

The second Test had been in the balance when play resumed at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday, with England captain Joe Root still in the middle and his side having six wickets up its sleeve with 178 further runs required to complete a record-breaking run chase of 354.

However, the tourists capitulated and could score only 57 more runs before being quickly finished off for 233, Australia sealing a 120-run victory.

Australia had begun the day without the ability to mount a review of an umpiring decision after surrendering both on the fourth night but their nerves were settled as Hazlewood struck with the second ball of the day and then landed the crucial blow, removing Root in his next over.

Root had not added to his overnight score of 67 when he nicked the fired-up paceman, who was bending his back and bowling at upwards of 148kmh, to wicketkeeper Tim Paine.

That key breakthrough arrived nine balls after Hazlewood had dismissed nightwatchman Chris Woakes for five only a minute or so after play had resumed.

"I didn't think it could happen that quickly," Hazlewood said. "It's pretty special. [Root] is obviously a class player and probably the key to their batting."

Umpire Aleem Dar had taken an age to raise his finger and rule that Woakes had been caught behind and despite no sign of an edge on Hot Spot a slight spike on Snicko convinced television official Marais Erasmus to confirm the decision.

Hazlewood has not been at his best throughout the series but rose to the occasion when Smith needed him to on Wednesday.

Also read: As it happened: Ashes cricket: Third Test, Perth, day one

Nathan Lyon then followed up on Hazlewood's handiwork in his first over to crush England's still faint hopes with a third wicket inside the first 45 minutes of play. Moeen Ali, who is quickly emerging as Lyon's bunny in this series, came unstuck on two trying to sweep and was hit on the pads in front of his stumps.

It wasn't all smooth sailing for Australia - Cameron Bancroft, fielding at a close slip with a helmet on - spilled a chance off the bowling of Pat Cummins that would have had all-rounder Craig Overton on his way.

There was an immediate return, however, when Australia took the new ball with 40 minutes left in the first session and Mitchell Starc had Overton trapped lbw for seven. Starc soon after had Stuart Broad caught behind for eight and then completed the job and a five-wicket haul by bowling Jonny Bairstow on 36.

The result means that Australia has a perfect record in day-night Tests, having prevailed in all three of the pink-ball matches they have played in Adelaide, as well as the Test they won against Pakistan in Brisbane last summer.

Australia now have an opportunity to regain the Ashes in the third Test, which begins at the WACA on Thursday next week.

Root said his team is still in the contest and that England can play better.

"It's disappointing [the result]. I don't think we did ourselves justice today. But we're still in the series."

Also read: Live Ashes 2017/18: Third Test, day two

Source: theage.com.au

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6 December 2017 6:33 AM

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