Ashes 2017-18, 5th Test, Day 2, Review: Australia in control after a commanding display with ball and bat

Ashes 2017-18, 5th Test, Day 2, Review: Australia in control after a commanding display with ball and bat

Australia finished the day on 193/2 after bowling England out for 346 in the morning session.

Usman Khawaja & Steve Smith
Steve Smith of Australia congratulates Usman Khawaja. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Australia finished the second day’s play well in control of the Test match as their opposition looked hapless especially in the third session. A couple of late wickets on the first day had put the home side into the ascendancy and they didn’t miss to latch on the opportunity. England, on the other hand, would be gutted as they failed to post a huge total on a flat track even after winning the toss. However, the first session on the third day will determine which way the Test is heading towards.

Earlier in the morning, the unbeaten overnight batsman Dawid Malan was snaffled soon after resumption. Steve Smith took a sensational one-handed catch in the second slip off Mitchell Starc to send back him on 62. But the lower order batsmen put up a stunning fight which they hadn’t been able to do all summer. While Moeen Ali scored 30, Tom Curran and Stuart Broad added 41 runs for the eighth wicket. Both were dismissed on 39 and 31 respectively as England were folded on 346.

The score seemed well below par as the pitched look extremely placid. For Australia, it was Pat Cummins who ran in hard and scalped 4 wickets conceding just 80 runs. Josh Hazlewood and Starc shared a couple each as Nathan Lyon had only a solitary wicket to show for 37 overs he bowled. For the visitors, the skipper Joe Root was the highest run scorer but missed out on another three-figure score. Dawid Malan was the other half-centurion as the other batters wasted the starts.

Solid Khawaja leads Aussie reply

Australia were rocked early as the struggling Camron Bancroft was castled in the second over itself through the gate by Stuart Broad for a seven-ball duck. But then David Warner and Usman Khawaja took the control serenely after a watchful start to their innings. The former was fluent in his strokeplay early on and scored a half-century before being fluffed a wonderful out swinging delivery by James Anderson. England had a sniff going into the third session but their nemesis all series, Smith walked out to bat much to the joy of the crowd.

He was no trouble whatsoever on his home ground and easily rotated the strike. Khawaja, at the other end, was enterprising against the spinners who did the bulk of the bowling with the hope of extracting some turn. The young debutant Mason Crane was nervous at the start as he dished out some short deliveries. But then settled into his rhythm without troubling the Aussie batsmen at all. Moeen’s struggle down under continued as he went wicketless and didn’t even bothered the hosts.

Both Smith and Khawaja remained unbeaten as they stitched a partnership of 107 runs and Australia finished at 193/2. They now only trail by 153 runs in the first innings and would look pile on the lead thereafter. Khawaja is nearing on his first Test ton against England as he is on 91 with Smith looking good as usual on 44. The first session of the third day will be vital for both the teams with the visitors have to find a way past these two batsmen. If they fail to do so, they might well go back home without a win under their belt in the Test series.

Smith and Co. would like to bat the whole day tomorrow and build a significant lead much like they did in Perth to regain the urn. As of now, Aussies look determined to end the series 4-0 and head into the ODI series with full confidence though there are a different set of players for England who will play the limited overs format.

Brief Scores

England 346 (J Root 83, D Malan 62; P Cummins 4/80, J Hazlewood 2/65)

Australia 193/2 (U Khawaja 91*, D Warner 56; J Anderson 1/25, S Broad 1/28)

Keep following CricTracker for more updates on Ashes