England fought back to take three Australian wickets in the final session but still trail by 152 runs at the end of day two of the fifth and final Ashes Test in Hobart on Saturday. After conceding a 115-point lead when they were knocked out for 188 in their first innings, the visitors bounced back in the final hour of the day-night Test night session.
With an hour to beat before the stumps, Australia lost David Warner for their second duck of the match, caught brilliantly by Ollie Pope in the ravine of Stuart Broad’s bowling alley.
Marnus Labuschagne fell for five, caught by wicketkeeper Sam Billings wide of Chris Woakes, while Mark Wood called on Usman Khawaja to give Billings a short ball for 11.
At the stumps, Australia were 37-3 with Steve Smith on 17 and night watchman Scott Boland on three.
Australia captain Pat Cummins said his team did well not to lose more wickets.
“It’s the kind of night sessions you have to watch out for in day-night cricket, if you get caught with the new ball,” Cummins said.
“It was hot and humid tonight and the ball seemed to be doing a bit more.
“I think it’s a very good effort to be down three in really difficult conditions.”
Billings, who was making his test debut, was optimistic about getting a result.
“We played very well tonight, we created chances, created a lot of intensity,” he said.
“They’re up front in the game, but we have a chance to really make a statement and break through in the morning.”
Earlier, England beat Australia for 303 runs on a day when 17 wickets fell for 287 runs.
Australia are still in a dominant position and look likely to win this test and earn a 4-0 win in the series.
Any hopes England had of saving anything from the Ashes realistically ended when their stick crumbled again in the face of Australia’s relentless attack.
England lost four key wickets midway through the twilight session, including a horror streak when Dawid Malan (25), Joe Root (34) and Ben Stokes (4) fell for the addition of just seven points .
When the last session started, England again lost wickets at regular intervals and reached just 188 thanks to some late hits from bowlers Chris Woakes (36) and Mark Wood (16).
The visitors have already lost to the Ashes, trailing 3-0, and the batting weaknesses that torpedoed their streak have been brutally exposed once again.
England had fired the hosts midway through the first session but then had a disastrous start to the innings when recalled opener Rory Burns was run out scoreless with just two runs on the board.
Fellow flyhalf Zak Crawley hit a ball past him and called for a quick single, but the much-maligned Burns was slow to react and Labuschagne’s direct hit found him inches off his floor.
Crawley, who scored a fine 77 in England’s second round in Sydney, looked assured again until on the 18th he got an inside edge on his pad from Cummins and Travis Head took a hold short-legged net to leave England 29-2.
Skipper Root joined Malan at the crease and the pair set about trying to rebuild the innings in England.
Both men seemed comfortable for the most part and scoring freely, earning a handsome reward for their shots from the lightning-fast Bellerive Oval outfield.
However, Cummins got back into the attack with immediate dividends when Malan tickled a ball in the side of the leg directly to wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
He then trapped Root lbw to leave England reeling at 81-4 and four points later Stokes slapped a short ball from Mitchell Starc to a dive from Nathan Lyon on point.
Pope didn’t last long either and England’s only bright spark was Billings, who hit a windy 29 with six limits before breaking through on the thin-leg limit.
Cummins was the choice of the Australian attack with 4-45, while Mitchell Starc intervened with two late wickets to make it 3-53.
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