The Ashes: Australia seal dominant 275-run win over England to take a 2-0 lead


England made Australia work for it, but in the end the second Test went the way it was always going to go when the final day began at Adelaide.

And if Joe Root’s team did well to string out proceedings until the game’s final session, with Jos Buttler battling away for more than four hours before treading on his stumps, then Australia’s victory by 275 runs accurately reflected the gulf between the sides.

Christmas has come early for a side led variously by Pat Cummins and Steve Smith, and they can now wrap up another home Ashes win when the third Test gets under way on Boxing Day at the MCG. You’d have to be deluded to bet against them.

Australia celebrate the winning moment as they beat England by 275 runs in Adelaide

Australia can't believe their luck as Jos Buttler stepped back and hit the stumps

Australia can’t believe their luck as Jos Buttler stepped back and hit the stumps 

Buttler couldn't quite believe what had just happened after his stoic 26 runs off 207 balls

Buttler couldn’t quite believe what had just happened after his stoic 26 runs off 207 balls

England have now lost 11 of their last 12 Tests in Australia. Put a different way, it’s now 4,000 days since they last won in this country – a joyous innings triumph at Sydney in January 2011 that increasingly feels like ancient history.

If they make it 12 out of 13 at Melbourne, there will be uncomfortable questions for a host of figures at the ECB and within the dressing-room. Some are being asked already.

In fairness, with England resuming on 82 for four, the match appeared to be heading for a swift conclusion after Ollie Pope fell in the day’s third over, poking Mitchell Starc to second slip, where Smith held his fifth catch of the game. 

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That completed a miserable Test for Pope, who made five and four, and looks overawed by his first Ashes.

Nathan Lyon celebrates after claiming the wicket of Ollie Robinson to close in on victory

Nathan Lyon celebrates after claiming the wicket of Ollie Robinson to close in on victory

Chris Woakes had made 44 before Jhye Richardson took his wicket in a major blow for England

Chris Woakes had made 44 before Jhye Richardson took his wicket in a major blow for England

Not long ago, as he sparkled in South Africa, he was widely tipped to be England’s next gun batsman. But injuries and technical issues derailed him, and in his last three innings here he has failed to build on the mature 35 he made amid the first-day carnage at Brisbane.

England will have to decide whether to persist with him for the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne, or give yet another chance to Jonny Bairstow.

Ben Stokes, who had started the final day with three runs from 40 balls, continued to defend – somewhere between stoutly and grimly – against Nathan Lyon’s off-breaks, which repeatedly threatened his outside edge.

So it was a surprise when his dismissal came from one that beat him on the inside, as Stokes stayed back and was hit in line with middle and leg. 

Umpire Paul Wilson rejected Lyon’s appeal, and it looked as if Smith had to talk his team-mates into consulting DRS.

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It was a good job he did: to Stokes’s dismay, the technology yielded three reds, sending him on his way for a 77-ball 12, to take his match haul to a positively restrained 46 runs off 175 deliveries. Lyon’s accuracy was the major reason for that.

At the other end, Buttler should have come and gone already. After a 15-ball duck in the first innings, he nearly bagged his first Test pair – only for a regulation edge off Starc to bisect wicketkeeper Alex Carey and David Warner at first slip. It was Carey’s catch – a rare blemish amid otherwise smooth glovework.

Had Carey gone for the ball, England might have lost before the dinner interval (‘lunch’, in old money). Instead, he and Chris Woakes, driving sweetly, hung around until the break, which England took at 142 for six from 74 overs.

The part-time spinners hurried Australia through to the second new ball, and with the last delivery of its eighth over Jhye Richardson nipped one back to hit the top of Woakes’s middle stump.

After two minutes short of two hours, and 97 balls, Woakes was gone for 44. Twice in this Test he has shown spirit with the bat, but whether we see him again in the series is another matter.

Match figures of one for 149 did little to silence those who felt Mark Wood should have played here instead. Series figures of three wickets at 76 apiece have done nothing to alter the pre-series wisdom that Woakes should only be used at home.

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Ollie Robinson hung around for an hour before prodding Lyon, now round the wicket, to that man Smith at slip, and the 20-minute interval came around with England 180 for eight from 107 overs, and Buttler – deep into the second-longest innings of his Test career – on 25 from 190 balls.

They couldn’t do it, could they? No, they could not. In the second over of the final session, Buttler pushed Richardson into the off side, only for his back foot to slide on to the stumps. 

He was the first England Test batsman to fall hit wicket since Andrew Strauss in 2008, and the first England batsman to fall that way in the Ashes in Australia since Denis Compton at the SCG in 1947-48.

But then it has been that kind of tour for England. Perhaps the biggest surprise is that it took until the final session of the second Test for anyone to tread on his own wickets.

Soon after, Jimmy Anderson fended Richardson into the gully, handing one of Australia’s second-string seamers an unexpected five-for, and the hosts a 2-0 lead. They are not in the mood to relinquish it.



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