England given slight hope in second test

England’s hopes of rescuing the second test in the Ashes have been given a boost when Australia elected not to force the follow-on. A late showing by the English bowlers has given England hope but the second test is still very much Australia’s to lose.

Australia sprung a slight surprise when they decided not to force England back into bat after dismissing the Lions for 227 in England’s first innings. Australia had declared on 442 and England’s inability to chase this total meant Australia could have forced England back into bat and potentially wrapped up this test on the third day.

England Ashes

The English bowlers have given the Lions an outside chance to level the series.

This decision could backfire with England reducing the Australians to 53-4 and haeding into day four 268 runs behind with six Aussie wickets remaining.

For Australia, losing David Warner and Steve Smith for only 20 runs will have been a demoraliser and they will need to ensure that a wobble doesn’t become a full-blown collapse. At lunch time on Monday the second series looked a formality but the dismissal of Warner and Smith has changed the complexion of the match and will put pressure on the remaining Australian batting order.

One concern to England will be the prospect of facing Shaun Marsh in the second innings. In the first innings Marsh scored 126 not-out off 231 balls in 358 minutes to put Australia so confidently ahead and if he can replicate even a fraction of that form then it is hard to see any other result here.

A defeat in the second series wouldn’t mean the end of the series as a competition. A drawn series would see England as holders retain the Ashes but that is still a huge ask on Australian soil.

Chris Woakes praises English character

Whilst not mission impossible, England face an uphill task to get a foothold in this Ashes test. But one player who is optimistic about England’s prospects is all-rounder Chris Woakes. Summarising the performance in Adelaide he said:

We have fought back well and we can take positive stuff from that. We’re behind in the game, but we bowled really well and have put pressure back on Australia. We knew we had to bowl a fuller length, we got it right tonight, pushed the ball up and got it moving around. We got the rewards.Chris Woakes, England cricketer

Woakes has been important in the England fight-back, taking two wickets in Australia’s second visit to the stumps and England will hope he continues in a similar vein when play continues at 3am on Tuesday morning.

If the English bowlers do make an impact they will then also look to Woakes to produce the goods with the bat. In the first English innings, he made 36 and had a good innings with test debutant Craig Overton. The stand with Overton added some credibility to the score which had dropped to a worrying 142-7 at one point.

The England man sounded upbeat when asked about that partnership, saying:

Australia were clearly on top, so it was good to build a partnership with Craig, he batted beautifully. We got plenty of verbals and plenty of short stuff. We applied ourselves pretty well. I was annoyed when I got out, I felt like I left a few runs out there.Chris Woakes, England cricketer

England will not be wanting to be in a situation in which the third test is a decider for the series.

England have not won since 1978 in Perth and the last thing the Barmy Army would want to see is another whitewash by Australia over England.

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