Stokes falls as Australia edge closer to second Test victory

Adelaide (Australia) (AFP) – Australia inched closer to winning the second Ashes Test Monday, taking the key wicket of Ben Stokes as England limped to the first break on day five at 142 for six, still needing to bat out two more sessions to salvage an unlikely draw.


The visitors resumed the pink ball Test in deep trouble at 82 for four chasing a nominal 468 to win and needing a miracle to avoid going 2-0 down in the five-Test series.

They lost two more wickets in the opening session, with Stokes, who had scored 12, and Ollie Pope on four succumbing to relentless pressure from left-arm pace bowler Mitchell Starc and off-spinner Nathan Lyon.

At dinner in the day-night encounter, Jos Buttler was 16 not out and Chris Woakes unbeaten on 28, with England still 326 runs from victory and needing to survive two sessions with the second new ball due after just six more overs.

England slumped by nine wickets in the first Test at Brisbane and if they lose this week their hopes of winning back a trophy they last secured on Australian turf in 2010-11 are all but over.

Joe Root's men will head to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test starting Sunday knowing that the only instance of a team coming from 2-0 down to win the Ashes was Australia in 1936-37.

With Root, the world's number one Test batsmen, removed by Starc in the final over on Sunday evening, England's hopes rested with all-rounder Stokes.

The 30-year-old has so often rescued his team, with memories of his match-winning exploits against Australia at Headingley in 2019 to keep that series alive still fresh.

He put his head down and lasted 77 balls for 12 runs before Lyon struck. The umpire initially ruled the lbw appeal not out, but Australia and reviewed and it was shown to be plumb in front.

Pope lasted only seven balls, edging to Steve Smith at slip off Starc for four to go with his disappointing first innings' five.

Buttler, who is desperately in need of runs, picked off two boundaries but was cautious, facing 88 balls for his 16 as he tried to stick around.

Woakes rode his luck to play more freely, striking two sweetly struck fours off Michael Neser on his way to 28.