England suffer more Ashes embarrassment despite Buttler battle as Australia crush tourists in second Test for 2-0 lead
ENGLAND succumbed to their inevitable defeat in the Second Test and now they face a miserable Christmas with a long list of questions.
There were pockets of resistance from Jos Buttler, especially, and Chris Woakes on the final day, but nothing remotely looked likely to stop Australia seizing a 2-0 lead in the series.
Buttler’s vigil lasted 207 balls – during which he scored just 26 runs – and ended when he trod on his stumps and was out hit wicket.
The Aussies have not mathematically made sure of retaining the Ashes but we can take it as read that the little urn will be staying Down Under.
England were bowled out for 192 in their second innings at the Adelaide Oval and that meant a crushing 275 runs victory for the Baggy Greens.
Captain Joe Root and head coach Chris Silverwood must decide whether several members of the team deserve selection for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.
Batsmen Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed and Ollie Pope are under most pressure while probably two of Woakes, Ollie Robinson, Stuart Broad and James Anderson will be replaced on the bowling front.
It is now precisely 4,000 days since England last won a Test match in Australia, stretching back to January 2011.
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There has been plenty of torment and eleven losses in 12 Tests in the intervening time.
And there is little sign of the pain ending any time soon – certainly not on this tour. England have never come from 0-2 down to win an Ashes series.
The futures of Root and Silverwood are already under discussion and the scrutiny will only grow in the coming weeks.
Resuming with 82-4, England’s realistic mission was to show some pride and fight rather than actually save the Test match.
Their position looked hopeless and so it proved. But it is fair to say they displayed more resilience with the bat than previously on this trip.
But the final day rearguard served only to highlight their poor first innings batting – and indeed their efforts in the First Test defeat in Brisbane.
Pope started with an elegant clip to the mid-wicket boundary in Mitchell Starc’s first over. But, in Starc’s second over, Pope edged to Steve Smith at second slip.
It was another soft dismissal for the Surrey batsman who is so often touted as some sort of wonderkid but, in reality, looks an edgy presence at the crease who averages 21 in Test cricket this year.
For Pope, this was an opportunity to make some runs in the relatively low-pressure environment of a match heading towards a likely conclusion. But he blew it.
Ben Stokes has been little more than a defensive stonewaller at the crease in this series, trying to block and build something that compensates for the failings of the other batters.
He was lbw to spinner Nathan Lyon for 12 from 77 deliveries after the Aussies reviewed.
Buttler escaped a pair when he edged Starc between wicketkeeper Alex Carey and first slip David Warner. They both watched the ball but it should have been Carey's catch.
England’s wicketkeeper became a strokeless wonder, taking the strategy to greater extremes even than Stokes. But he frustrated the Aussies with his dead-bat approach.
Buttler and Woakes stayed together for 31 overs while compiling a seventh-wicket stand of 61 runs before Woakes was bowled by a nip-backer from Jhye Richardson
Robinson helped add another 15 overs to Australia’s wait before being caught at slip off Lyon.
Buttler was eventually out when, deep in his crease, he tried to manipulate the strike and disturbed the stumps with his right heel.
The final wicket came when Anderson guided a short ball into the hands of gully and fast bowler Richardson completed a five-wicket haul.
Australia’s team is likely to be strengthened for the next Test by the return of captain Pat Cummins and fellow fast bowler Josh Hazlewood.
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