Australia registered a comprehensive 120-run victory on the last day of the second Test at Adelaide after England's lower order failed to survive Mitchell Starc's onslaught. With this loss, England's hopes of retaining the Ashes urn further faded as they have only three more matches for a comeback.
England asked Australia to bat first after winning the toss at the Adelaide Oval, following which rain played spoilsport for quite some time. After the game resumed, Cameron Bancroft was the first to go before David Warner and Usman Khwaja tried to bring some stability but could only manage 53 more runs for the second wicket. Skipper Steve Smith, who had played a heroic knock in the first Test, failed to play a long innings either as he was dismissed for 40. After James Anderson found his first breakthrough of the match in the form of Usman Khwaja, Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh ensured that they didn’t gift any more wickets to the visitors, ending the game at 209/4.
Australia started Day 2 horribly when Handscomb lost his wicket to Stuart Broad’s delivery before adding any run. Marsh tried to hold the other end and found support in the form of Tim Paine, whose timely half-century made their lead look more respectable before losing his wicket to Craig Overton. Mitchell Starc followed suit after a brief guest appearance, which brought in Pat Cummins. Marsh, along with Cummins built yet another partnership of 99 runs and remained unbeaten at 126, which helped Australia to declare at 442/8 after dinner. Rain decided to show up yet again and the game had to be stopped with England managing only 29 runs but not before losing Mark Stoneman on the second day.
Australia started the third-day in a positive manner as England lost their second wicket in the form of James Vince after adding only two more runs to the scoreboard. England failed to build any partnership whatsoever, as they lost skipper Joe Root with the scorecard reading only 50. While Nathan Lyon got the all-important wicket of the opener Cook, Cummins claimed his second wicket of the innings in the form of Dawid Malan reducing the English team to five wickets as they crossed the 100-run mark. The visitors got some relief when Chris Woakes and Overton went on to build the highest partnership of the innings of 66 runs. But Lyon and Starc struck again, claiming four and three wickets respectively that helped Australia wrap England’s innings at 227.
English players wanted to make amends for their batting order failure and the bowlers helped in the plan. Anderson took the first step by claiming Bancroft’s wicket after just five runs on the board. Woakes also joined the party restricting Australia to 53/4 at the end of the day.
Anderson continued his brilliant bowling on Day 4 when he gave the fifth breakthrough to his side in the form of Nathan Lyon. Woakes supported him by taking out the dangerous Marsh, who could score only 19 runs this time. Anderson got his maiden five-
With a target of 354 quite gettable, England started well with the opening pair adding 53 runs for the first wicket. However, their collapse started when Stoneman joined Cook in the dressing room instantly, after adding only one run to the total, on a Starc delivery. The fast bowler got his second of the day when he sent Vince back shortly before Root came to the crease and held his wicket from an end scoring 67 runs and ending England's Day 4 on a safe 176/4.
However, his heroics didn't matter much as Australian bowlers came all guns blazing on the fifth day. After Root and Woakes' wickets were quickly taken by Hazelwood in his first two overs, the rest failed to capitalize on the score. And after Lyon took the all-important wicket of Moeen Ali, who was caught leg before wicket in the 71st over, the rest of the way was easy for Starc to run through with his sheer pace. He claimed the remaining three wickets of Broad, Overton and Bairstow in his next three overs, handing England a heavy 120-run defeat on the second Test.