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Ashes 2, 2021-’22: Adelaide: Sloppy England Will Again Have a Long Australia Tour, Gets 2-0 down going to Boxing Day Test

The same old story problems for England in their sloppy catches, wrong team selections and a fragile batting line-up handed Australia the upper hand in taking a 2-0 lead.

After a disappointment show losing to Australia, England were seeking some hope and inspiration to win and keep the Ashes in check in familiar day-night conditions of Adelaide with the pink ball. There are some selection dilemmas for both the sides as the visitors were scratching heads to think whom to leave to add veteran Jimmy Anderson & Stuart Board whereas Australia had confirmed that they would have Jhye Richardson. It was odd not to see the Aussie journalist going hard against under-cooked Joe Root.

Day 1: England Didn’t Bowled Wisely as Australia Batted Soundly

The morning found out that Australia wouldn’t get the services of captain Pat Cummins as he came in close contact with a Covid positive person in the last evening in a restaurant which meant Michael Neser who almost in his entire life had played the 12th man role, would earn his Test Cap. On the flip, Steve Smith, after the ball tempering saga would lead Australia again. England decided to put both eggs in the same basket as Stuart Broad would feature in his 150th Test with no spinners in the side.

Australia winning the toss opted to bat losing just opener Marcus Harris thanks to a spider-man grab from Jos Butler before lunch but scored less than 2-rpo. The Warner-Labuschagne partnership went on to add more runs in the middle session as England were desperately looed for a wicket. Joe Root used him as the spinner and some of his balls were spinning so much that it kept the selection planning questionable. At-last, England produced the wicket of David Warner who again like Gabba missed out on a well-deserved century (95) as commentator Michael Hussey might want to take his cursing words back spoken in the com box.

Since then, even though there were thousands of plays and misses, the bromance of Smith-Labuschagne ensured that Australia wouldn’t have more damage. The bowlers toiled so hard as Butler late into the day dropped the easiest chance as the home side finished with 221-2 as Labuschagne required 5-more for his maiden Ashes hundred. England is getting ready for what could be a long day.

Day 2: Labuschagne & Smith Gave Australia the Solid Chance to be 2-0 up

It was a perfect day England could dream of; scoring 450-runs on the board toiling the opponent bowlers for one & half days and bowl against the tired legs under light in a slight windy evening with a new pink ball; well, it all happened on the flip of the coin. Marnus Labuschagne, the amount of life he got could hardly be awarded in the whole career of some cricketers. He finished with his maiden Ashes hundred as stand in skipper Steve Smith again scored runs against a team named “England” but missed out on another century. After keeping almost 4-sessions under control, the lower-order had some fun in the middle to take Australia to 473-9d. At one point, they were for an hour was limping with 5-down under 300 but the visitors couldn’t deal with the pressure and dropping catches.

In the short period of England’s batting, they lost Rory Burns again to Mitch Strac to a ball the left-handed opener had hardly any answer. Michael Neser stroked in his 2nd ball of Test career to send another opener Haseeb Hameed to the hut as umpires called early stumps due to lightning in the city. Joe Root again have been asked to rescue his troops. They could only look to score big but mark my words, this day three will decide the fate of 2021-’22 Ashes.

Day 3: Sloppy England Again Gifts Pre-Christmas Gift to Australia

The over-night partnership of Root & Malan provided England of the rare occasions to celebrate in this Ashes trip with a wicketless noon session. Australia did try every plan changing their bowlers but reaped no reward as both the batsmen notched up their respective half-century but there was long way ahead for the visitors to achieve with the twilight session was arriving. Just after the dinner, Cameron Green found the edge of Joe Root, who in his knock moved up to number 4 in top run scorers list in a year. And England slipped again as they folded up for 236, gifting Australia a lead of 237-runs. From being 150-2 to 236-all out was a perfect story of the frustration Root was having with his team.

Steve Smith decided not to enforce the follow-on after seeing his bowlers doing the tired jobs an gave enough time to put their feet up. That means they would look to bat for 80-odd overs and have a crack for about 110-odd overs against the English batters. To end the day, Australia extended their lead as Warner died in a casual run-out. All eyes will be on Marcus Harris who will be another some pressure. Again, just like the old years, England will have another long Christmas and New Year.

Day 4: A Day Summed Up England’s Ashes Pre-Planning

The day began with good spirits for the tourists sending both the over-night batsmen as Butler after missing an easy chance to send Steve Smith on a golden duck grabbed two fabulous catch to stuck the Aussies at 55-4 but the innings of Labuschagne stood out for the day wit the help from Head with a half-century. Captain Smith declared the innings with a lead of 467-runs with around 4-sessions to pass and two in the twilight to throw the English lineup under the bus.

Due to Root’s injury in the beginning of the day, England had to bowl with some off spins from pacer Ollie Robinson, yes you saw it right, along with occasional leg spin of Dawid Malan. If England were planning this Ashes from 2-years ago, then why did they leave Leach. On a track where Root were making problems for the batters, not to mention Lyon, if Jack Leach doesn’t pay here, where will he??

England ended the day with 4-wickets and the last one of Root, their lone fighter, would spoil all their planning for the Ashes. It did sum up pretty well how long this tour is going to be for them again.

Day 5: England did Try but Fail to Stop Australia from going to 2-0

England had gone to the last day of the Test Match with lots of hope of another heroics from Ben Stokes, who along-with Pope got out cheaply. And then Butler who was under immense pressure stitched a long partnership with Woakes. They stayed together for at least 40-odd overs but the new ball did the job for Australia as an inswinger sent back the English all-rounder to the hut. Butler did try his best with his 207-ball 26-run innings but couldn’t complete the job. He got hit wicket and to be fair, his dismissal somehow summed up English innings. Jhye Richardson bagged up his maiden 5-wicket haul as England lost by 275-runs.

England have too many concerns over their head going into the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne. The fitness of captain Joe Root, the kid openers, Woakes off form, how to get a spinner in and so on; whereas Australia will welcome Pat Cummins and possibly Josh Hazelwood in the 3rd Test. With already being 2-0 down, England could hardly win the series whereas Australia will love to wrap the series before the biggest crowd.

Brief Scores

Australia: 473-9d (M Labuschagne 103, D Warner 95, Ben Stokes 3-113) & 230-9d (T Head 51, M Labuschagne 51, D Malan 2-33) beats England 236 (D Malan 80, J Root 62, M Strac 4-37, N Lyon 3-58) & 192 (Chris Woakes 44, R Burns 34, J Richardson 5-42) by 275-runs.

Man of The Match: Marnus Labuschagne.

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