England still in the game as they chip away three wickets at the stumps on Day 2 at Hobart
Brief Scores: Australia 37/3 (Smith 17*, Broad 1-9) & 303 (Head 101, Green 74, Broad 3-59) lead England 188 (Woakes 36, Cummins 4-45, Starc 3-53) by 152 runs at Stumps on Day 2
Australia are in the driver’s seat despite losing three wickets in the second innings. England have struck to pave their way back but their poor batting form is still a cause of concern in the series. That is why Australia have gained an upper hand in this Test match.
Nathan Lyon’s useful cameo with bat allowed Australia to get 303 runs in their 1st innings
The home team continued from 241 for the loss of 6 wickets from day one at Bellerive Oval in Hobart. The rains had interrupted the last hour of play yesterday. But today, the sky looked all-clear for a fascinating day’s play. England aimed to thwart Australia from getting to the 300-run mark. But useful contributions from the lower-order batters of Australia allowed them to get this score.
A lot was expected from Alex Carey to guide Australia when the lower-order batters were batting. The Aussie wicketkeeper batter hung in there when Mitchell Starc and skipper Pat Cummins fell cheaply after Australia’s score reached the 250-run mark. But the score didn’t reach even 300 runs when Carey fell for 24 runs. He was clean bowled by Chris Woakes and England thought the Australian batting card was over.
But Nathan Lyon roared at the right time to enable Australia to cross the magic number of 300. Lyon scored 31 runs from just 27 balls and he hit one four and three sixes in this knock. He was the last man to be dismissed in the Australian innings.
The absence of Ollie Robinson left England crippled
The visitors were left with one bowler short because of the back injury to Ollie Robinson. Stuart Board shared the bulk of the work yesterday and today morning in the first session. Robinson was the one who complimented Board extremely well yesterday, before the back injury made him leave the field. He had picked up two crucial wickets in the first session, which pushed Australia on the backfoot.
England wanted Chris Woakes to justify his selection and Mark Wood to be more lethal in today’s morning session. But Woakes was expensive. He picked up just two wickets and went for 64 runs. Wood too conceded 115 runs and got three scalps. Stuart Board was the most economical bowler for England. He picked up three wickets for 59 runs.
Batting failures again hurt the visitors, fold up for 188
Australia’s fiery pace bowling unit rattled the England batters yet again. The change in the top-order too didn't work. England brought Rory Burns in the playing XI. But he was run out for zero after facing six deliveries. After a bizarre start to their innings, England lost wickets at regular intervals, and the Aussie bowlers, too, got better of the visitors.
Pat Cummins was the chief destroyer for Australia in the second session. He picked up Zak Crawley for 18 runs. Then the Australian skipper struck twice in that session to keep England hanging. Dawid Malan and Joe Root got some momentum back for England before they went for the dinner break. They hit a few boundaries to ease off the high pressure.
The first hour after the dinner break also went in favour of Malan and Root. The Australian fielders also gave Malan another chance. The fielders did not spot the ball from Cameron Green in the slips after Malan edged it. Root and Malan cashed in on the loose deliveries from Scott Boland and Green to make things even worse. The England batters hit a couple of fours off them.
Then skipper Cummins brought himself on. This forced change worked for the home side as the Australian skipper got the vital breakthrough they were looking for. Malan was out, caught at leg side for 25 runs. Mitchell Starc, who bowled from the end, went for 13 runs in an over. Still, Cummins got the big fish in his next over.
The Australian captain got the England captain for 34 runs. Root was dismissed for a straightforward LBW. These two wickets were a massive setback for England, who did well in the first hour after the break.
Starc, whose first over was expensive, came back strongly. He removed the star England all-rounder, Ben Stokes, because of a stunning catch taken by Nathan Lyon at backward point position. England slipped further as Boland hurt England. He got the wicket of Ollie Pope for 14 runs and he got could have got Woakes also. But Woakes was lucky to survive twice. Warner and Khawaja dropped him.
Despite the two reprieves, Woakes was eventually out for 36 runs. Debutant Sam Billings also managed just 29 runs and Mark Wood registered 16 runs. England were bundled out under 200 runs.
Cummins was the hero with the ball. Because of him, Australia managed to bowl out England for just 188 runs in their 1st innings. He picked up four wickets and importantly broke the 49-run stand between Malan and Root. Starc picked up three wickets, with Green and Boland picking one wicket each. But it was surprising to see Nathan Lyon didn’t bowl even a single over in the innings. It was pure pace bowling dominance from Australia in England’s 1st innings.
Australia start poorly again, end Day 2 at 37-3
David Warner got a pair in this Test. The Aussie opener was out for a duck in both innings as Australia wasted the excellent work done by the bowlers. Australia also lost their number one Test batter, Marnus Labuschagne, cheaply. Labuschagne scored just five runs in the second innings. Usman Khawaja and Steven Smith tried to stabilise the innings. But Mark Wood was right on the money as he got Khawaja.
Australia have lost three wickets with just 37 runs on the board. They are still ahead in the game despite losing three wickets as they lead by 152 runs.
What can Australia and England do on Day 3
Australia are comfortably placed in the game with a 152-run lead in their bank. The onus is on England to strike as early as possible and prevent Australia from creating further damage. The home side will look to take a lead of at least 350 runs to put pressure on the visitors.
But the England bowlers shouldn't allow that because their batting is out of form and the Aussies have done exceptionally well with the pink cherry.