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Ashes in a nutshell: England show grit in Adelaide but too late to avoid another heavy loss to Australia

Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes shared a seventh-wicket stand of 61 on the final day in Adelaide

England dug in on day five in Adelaide before Jos Buttler stepped on his stumps and Australia stamped out the tourists’ hopes of a draw to move 2-0 up with three Ashes Tests to play. Here are the notables…

SCORECARD | AS IT HAPPENED

REPORT

Jos Buttler’s dogged resistance ended in bizarre fashion as England slid to a 275-run defeat to Australia on the final day in Adelaide to leave them 2-0 down in The Ashes, writes David Ruse.

Buttler (26 off 207 balls) was ninth out, treading on his stumps while facing Jhye Richardson (5-42), as his longest Ashes innings, and second-longest of his Test career, came to an agonising halt early in the final session.

Buttler trudges off after treading on his stumps

Buttler trudges off after treading on his stumps

The England batter revived his side’s flickering chances of a draw by adding 61 from 190 balls with Chris Woakes (44 off 97), but those hopes faded once Woakes was bowled by Richardson midway through the second session and then all-but eliminated when Buttler knocked off his bails.

James Anderson (2) was the last man to fall, spooning Richardson to gully, as England were all out for 192 in 113.1 overs and suffered an 11th defeat in their last 12 away Ashes Test matches.

STATS OF THE DAY

– It is now 4,000 days since England last won a Test in Australia. Back then, David Warner, Pat Cummins and Joe Root were yet to play Test cricket, while Steve Smith was a leg-spinner who batted a bit

– Only one side has ever come back from 2-0 down to win an Ashes series, Australia managing the feat under the great Donald Bradman in 1936/37

– Chris Woakes is the only England batter in this series to reach double figures in all four innings.

Chris Woakes looks likely to be left out of the England side in Melbourne

Chris Woakes looks likely to be left out of the England side in Melbourne

TALKING POINTS

Where has this fight been throughout the rest of the series?

England always faced an uphill task on the final day in Adelaide, practically an impossible one, but the way they battled in defeat does give them crumbs of comfort heading into the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

If England had shown the discipline Buttler and Woakes displayed here in their previous innings, then perhaps their position in this series would not be so parlous. It is parlous, though, and that means changes may be afoot.

Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed and Ollie Pope, in particular, might be sweating on their places after a run of low scores. Jonny Bairstow, Zak Crawley and Dan Lawrence are waiting in the wings but they have not had any meaningful cricket so let’s not expect miracles.

Off-spinner Dom Bess is an option for England at the MCG

Off-spinner Dom Bess is an option for England at the MCG

England also have to work out how to bolster their bowling attack for a must-win game. Mark Wood will surely return, bringing the X-factor pace England so sorely lacked, and the tourists may want a frontline spinner.

It could also be one of Stuart Broad and Anderson, not both, although giving Ollie Robinson a breather after back-to-back Tests is also an option.

For all his efforts with the bat in Adelaide, Woakes looks vulnerable, as his match figures with the ball read an alarming 1-149 from 35.4 overs.

Yes, leaving out the Warwickshire man would give England a long tail – something that could be addressed slightly if off-spinner Dom Bess came into the side – but, at this point, that’s a cross England might have to bear

Then there is the question of what you do with Buttler?

He is definitely going to play after his courageous knock in the pink-ball Test but should he be wicketkeeper after mixing stunning catches with poor drops in Adelaide?

Matt Prior says he would take the gloves off Jos Buttler and play him as a specialist batter

Matt Prior says he would take the gloves off Jos Buttler and play him as a specialist batter

Former England gloveman Matt Prior told BT Sport he would play Buttler as a specialist batter at No 6 next time out with Bairstow coming in as keeper. As ever for England, there are some big decisions to make.

MOMENT OF THE DAY

England fans hoped it would be the moment they pulled off another great escape but alas not.

Those hopes were minuscule already and then pretty much wiped out when Buttler was the penultimate man to fall after playing Richardson from deep in his crease – too deep in his crease as it turned out.

That was THE moment. Fifteen minutes later came the winning moment as Anderson fenced through to Green and red-hot Australia won the pink-ball Test to leave England decidedly blue.

TWEETS OF THE DAY

WHAT THEY SAID

England captain Joe Root, speaking to BT Sport: “We need to be better with the bat, make bigger scores. Guys need to apply themselves better. Look at the second innings. That’s the desire, the way we need to go.

“We are going to need to play with that mentality for the rest of the series, which we are more than capable of doing. It’s frustrating as I know we are good enough to do it. We have just not managed to do it so far.”

Sir Alastair Cook, speaking to BT Sport: “This has been the least-prepared England side, with what has happened off the field. I’ve criticised some of the decisions but they’ve also had their hands tied a huge amount.

“I do feel for these England guys because they’ve had no preparation and been expected to play in the toughest conditions on the toughest tour.”

Matt Prior speaking to BT Sport: “The batting’s just not good enough. I’d love to sit here and say this excuse, that excuse, but it’s also not a new thing. We’ve consistently not scored enough runs for quite a long period.

“If you want to win Test matches, if you want to be the No 1 Test team in the world, you have to score big runs, and specifically big first-innings runs because you have to play the game on the front foot.”




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