The second Ashes Test 2021 held at Adelaide ended on a winning note for Australia they thumped the tourists by a huge margin of 275 runs. In a near-perfect outing for the hosts, they now take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series as the caravan now shifts to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test at the iconic MCG. The Pink-Ball Test, which was being touted as England's best chance in the series, piled on the misery for Joe Root and co, leaving them with a daunting task in hand.
Ahead of Adelaide Test, Pat Cummins was ruled out after being deemed a close contact of COVID positive person. As a result, Steve Smith was handed over the captaincy reigns. On the other hand, Joe Root continued to lead the English team as the regular skipper. Stuart Broad and James Anderson were roped into the XI in place of Jack Leach and Mark Wood. In hindsight, England's choice of playing XI didn't eventually suit the conditions on offer.
Australia won the toss and elected to bat first
On a largely scintillating day, Aussie skipper Steve Smith won the toss and decided to bat first. England's all-pace attack was expected to make early inroads with the Pink ball. However, except for Broad's early breakthrough, none of the other bowlers could cause any harm to the Australians. The duo in the form of David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne stitched a match-defining 172-run partnership.
While Warner was dismissed at 95, yet again falling short of his century, Labuschagne continued to his merry way. He scored his sixth Test century before being adjudged lbw for 102. Skipper Steve Smith ensured to remain on the wicket and deliver a high-powered knock. As the first innings unfolded, Smith smashed 93 runs and put the team in a position of strength. With some useful contribution from the lower-order batters, Australia declared their innings on 473 for 9.
English opening batsmen fail to deliver once again
It was a similar story for England as far as their batting was concerned in the first innings. The openers failed to offer any resistance as both Haseeb Hameed and Rory Burns were dismissed for single-digit scores. It was all down to the duo of Joe Root and Dawid Malan to bail their team out of trouble. Both the player frustrated with what was still a decent batting wicket. Malan and Root kept the Aussie bowlers at bay with a 138-run stand for the third wicket.
While Root once again failed to go past the three-figure mark, Malan too fell in the 80s consecutively for the second time in a row. After the two departed, England was left on a lurch. The rest of the batting order went down like nine pins. Mitchell Starc caused the bulk of the damage with his four wickets as the visitors were bowled out for 236. Australia had a comfortable 247-run lead at the end of the first innings.
England bowlers fightback while Marnus scores another fifty
The home team didn't enforce the follow-on and looked pile on the misery for the English bowlers. After the early departure of the openers, the batter decided to bring their attacking game to the fore. The likes of Labuschagne and Travis Head saw the foot on the pedal with some high-risk shots. In return, the English bowlers were awarded some quick wickets. English spinners got into the wickets column as Australia called curtains at 230 for 9 with a massive lead of 467 runs.
Jos Buttler stoic effort goes in vain as Australia win at Adelaide
With a mountain to climb, England were expected to show some fight. While they eventually offer some resistance on the back of Jos Buttler and others, the home team proved too good at the end. Again, it wasn't a great start to the chase on Day 4, as Hameed was sent packing for a duck. Australian bowlers kept chipping at the English batting as wickets continued to tumble. Starc delivered a killer blow after dismissing Root with score reading 82 for 4 on the ultimate delivery on Day 4.
It needed a miracle for England to save the Test match on Day 5 with experienced campaigners in Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler still unbeatan. Stokes was trapped early by Lyon while Buttler refused to give up. The English wicket-keeper batter played uncharacteristically with a motive to kill time. He faced 207 balls for his 26 runs, registering his longest innings in an Ashes Test so far. His partnership, first with Chris Woakes (44) and then alongside Ollie Robinson (8), wasn't enough to prevent the Aussies' win. In an anti-climax turn of events, Buttler trodded onto his stumps to be dismissed hit-wicket. Jhye Richardson, playing only in his third Test, grabbed his maiden five-wicket haul of his Test career.
Australia registered a win by 275 runs as Labuschagne was awarded the Player of the Match for runs in both innings of the second Ashes Test. The action for the third Ashes Tests shifts to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test starting December 26.
Twitter reacts on Australia's win in the second Ashes Test at Adelaide
Speedster Pat Cummins took to his Twitter handle to express his feelings after the Kangaroos got the better of the England cricket team.
Brilliant! 👏🏼 #Ashes
— Pat Cummins (@patcummins30) December 20, 2021
Australian legend Shane Warne applauded the home team for their efforts to go 2-0 up in the series. Warne alluded as what could be a tough few weeks ahead for the tourists.
Congrats to the Aussies on a hard fought win. England have a lot to do heading to Melbourne as they are now 2-0 down. They must start by picking the correct team including a spinner for the conditions. Crawley, Wood, Bairstow & Leach would make my team. For Oz Cummins for Neeser
— Shane Warne (@ShaneWarne) December 20, 2021
R P Singh
Fomer Indian cricketer, R P Singh was all praises for the man-in limelight Jos Buttler. Hence, he went on to compare his incredible innings with Ab De Villier's innings in Kotla in 2015.
Despite England’s defeat in #Adelaide , Buttler innings of 26 from 207 balls was a bit like @ABdeVilliers17 in Kotla in 2015. Buttler hit wicket dismissal was the only fault of his innings in #AusvsEng #AshesTest . #CricketTwitter #Cricket
— R P Singh रुद्र प्रताप सिंह (@rpsingh) December 20, 2021
Cricket analyst Ben Jones took a dig against the England cricket team. He posted an interesting claim stating that even after 53,615 deliveries, England is yet to win a Ashes Test on the Australian soil.
We've had 53,615 deliveries of #Ashes cricket since England last won a Test in Australia
— Ben Jones (@benjonescricket) December 20, 2021
Losing team skipper Joe Root quipped in the post-match interview that the bowlers failed to play their roles to perfection. Hence, they could not cross the winning mark.
"I don't think we've bowled the right lengths. If we're being brutally honest we needed to bowl fuller. As soon as we did in the second innings, we created so many chances."
— 7Cricket (@7Cricket) December 20, 2021
Renowned statistician, Mazher Arshad also took a dig against the England cricket team leaving plenty of fans into splits. He pointed that the last time when England won a test match in Australian soil, the present-day superstars were yet to debut for their International teams.
Last time England won a Test in Australia, Warner, Kohli, Cummins, Root weren’t Test cricketers, Steve Smith was a lower-order batter, Babar was U19 cricketer, Djokovic hadn’t won Wimbledon, latest iPhone was 4s, Trump was 6 years from Presidency, Game of Thrones wasn’t released.
— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) December 20, 2021
Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen apparently looked frustrated after England's loss at Adelaide. He was quite critical of England's batting but also acknowledged the hardships of an away Ashes tour.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE just give these England cricketers a bit of slack.
An #Ashes tour is incredibly tough & these are not normal times right now.
Their batting is horrendous, I know, but go easy please! 🙏🏽
— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) December 20, 2021