The Ashes - Second Test, Day Three: England struggle with the bat before striking back with the ball

The Ashes - Second Test, Day Three: England struggle with the bat before striking back with the ball

Australia lead by 268 runs at the close of play but lost four early wickets in their second innings.

Chris Lincoln

England bowlers James Anderson and Chris Woakes gave the underdogs a glimmer of hope with four late wickets but the tourists have it all to do on day four of the second Test against Australia.

Wickets tumble during the first session

Resuming at 29-1, a mere 413 runs behind Australia's mammoth total, it did not take long for England to slip into more despair. Just eight balls into the day's play, James Vince slashed at a Josh Hazelwood delivery with minimal foot movement as he was caught behind for just two.

The next partnership, of Alastair Cook and Joe Root, looked to be critical but England had barely passed 50 when their captain was dismissed. Root appeared to get carried away after just hitting a boundary and edged the next ball from Pat Cummins straight to Cameron Bancroft at second slip.

Cook was beginning to settle after a desperate performance in the first Test but struggled to capitalise on his start of 37 as Nathan Lyon struck. The England opener pushed at a delivery before clipping the ball to Steve Smith at slip.

England's problems were reflected by a desperate moment for Moeen Ali. Containing rather than countering, the all-rounder was dropped by Tim Paine off the bowling of Lyon before almost being run out.

Yet just as Moeen began to find the boundary, Dawid Malan gloved a Cummins delivery to Paine for just 19. England were stranded on 102-5 and added just 26 more before the end of a disappointing first session.



Catching practice for Australia's bowlers

Three overs after the break and wickets were tumbling again. Moeen played a nothing shot straight back to Lyon who took an outstanding catch high to his left of his own bowling to dismiss Moeen for 25.

Lyon's caught and bowled heroics were then copied by Mitchell Starc who dismissed Jonny Bairstow for 21. The England wicketkeeper played a shot straight back to Starc who slowed the ball down with his palm before grabbing it at the second attempt.

It was only at 142-7 that an England partnership progressed with very little needless shots and a smudge of patience. Debutant Craig Overton and Chris Woakes put on 66 before the latter had a rush of blood to his head. Woakes swiped at a Starc short delivery and swatted straight up in the air for a third successive caught and bowled dismissal.

Stuart Broad only made three before and after the interval as he failed to deal with a Lyon bouncing delivery that was edged straight to Paine. James Anderson then lasted just nine more balls as he was dismissed LBW trying to sweep Lyon. England made just 227 with Overton stranded with an unbeaten 41 - England's highest individual score.

Anderson and Woakes strike back

Yet Steve Smith opted not to enforce the follow-on, despite holding an advantage of 215 runs. It proved a questionable decision as Australia crumbled under the lights.

David Warner escaped a review when Root thought he had edged Broad to Bairstow. However, England only had to wait 14 balls before making their breakthrough as Cameron Bancroft pushed at an Anderson delivery to edge behind to Bairstow.

Warner and Usman Khawaja set about being patient in an attempt to show England how they should have batted. Yet an excellent swinging delivery from Anderson trapped the latter LBW for 20 after 48 balls.

England smelt blood and Warner soon followed for 14. Woakes caught the edge as the ball flew to Root at second slip.

At 41-3, Smith escaped a review that looked to be a certain wicket for Anderson hunting an LBW. Yet the decision was overturned, only for Smith to fall for six at the hands of Woakes. This time the LBW review could not save the Australian captain.

Australia concluded the day on 53-4, 268 runs ahead of England and still firm favourties. However, the tourists have kept themselves in the contest with an excellent late spell of bowling under the lights.