Mitchell Starc celebrates the wicket of Joe Root as Australia took a 2-0 lead in the Ashes. Image: cricket.com.au

Australia continued their dominance in Day/Night cricket while England continued to fall into traps they keep setting for themselves with the same mistakes in a match that mirrored the one in Adelaide four years ago in more ways than one.

England showed great fight on the final day but Australia ultimately continued their dominance in Day/Night Test matches, securing a 275 run victory in the Second Ashes Test and taking a 2-0 series lead heading into Melbourne.

The same problems are continuing for Joe Root’s England side, making the same mistakes again both on and off the field and the raw numbers make for some grim viewing as to the depth of the problems as they battle to resuscitate their tour.

Australia on the other hand has some selection decisions of their own to make after some both impressive and disappointing performances in Adelaide.

As the attention turns to Boxing Day at the MCG, Here are the Top 6 talking points to emerge from the Second Test at the Adelaide Oval.

Australia still Perfect in Pink

England loaded up and targeted the Pink ball Test in Adelaide as their point to make an impact in the series.

What they failed to compute maybe was that they were coming up against a side that remains undefeated against the pink Kookaburra ball. Securing their ninth win in nine pink ball Tests.

Having been the country that pioneered Day-Night Test cricket, Australia has been one of the countries continuing to push ahead with the tactical side of the game, with game management now an equally important part of the game when it comes to managing conditions, The timing of potential change of innings’, declarations and when to take the new ball when it becomes available.

Their players too are adapting and becoming accustomed to and finding extra gears with the pink ball.

Marnus Labuschagne now has scored 637 runs, hit three centuries, and averages 91.00 in the format. Mitchell Starc became the first man to take 50 wickets with the Pink ball. Josh Hazelwood, although he didn’t play in this game, his record with the pink ball is also rather impressive, the next best on the list of most wickets with a pink ball with 32.

With another Pink Ball Test to come in Hobart this series, Australia will aim to continue their perfect record under lights 

England show some mettle late as batting woes deepen. Numbers paint grim picture

It was a stoic and heroic rearguard from Jos Buttler on the final day, who along with Chris Woakes frustrated the Australian attack as they stood their ground as long as they could to deny Australia victory. Try as they may though, England still failed to do what they have been struggling to do for a number of years now, with the exception of Joe Root, and that is make runs.

England’s average score in this series is 218. They lost this Test by 275 runs. They could have had another innings and still not chased it down.

England’s batters this year in Test cricket have accumulated a collective 49 ducks. With their record standing at 54 ducks in a year – set in 1998, it is not beyond the realms that they equal or better the dose.

Joe Root has too much of a reliance on him. While he has an ally in Dawid Malan, who has settled nicely into the tour, the rest of the batting remains England’s biggest Achilles heel and biggest issue they must address ahead of Melbourne.

At the end of the first innings, Root and Malan had combined for  2-300 for England on this tour. The rest of the side, 28-341.

The Buttler/ Woakes partnership on Day 5 was only the second England partnership of the tour that had exceeded 50 runs that didn’t involve both Joe Root or Dawid Malan.

While the blowtorch was rightly on the bowling and the tactics of the English attack, it is once again the batting where the focus needs to be shifted for the biggest examination.

Mirror images aplenty, highlighting same issues for England

The longer this Test went on, the number of mirror images and comparisons that could be drawn and made to the corresponding Ashes Test four years ago continued to emerge.

On both occasions, Australia batted first and ran up a big total, batting well into the second evening. On both occasions, Australia bowled England out in its first innings cheaply and on both occasions, Australia had the option too but didn’t enforce the follow-on, opting to commence their second innings under lights and both times, find themselves in a spot of discomfort and 4/50 odd runs.

Four years ago, England went a seam heavy attack, with Moeen Ali playing the role as the main spinner, his second discipline as a cricketer. This year, England went pace heavy again and resorted to spin overs from Joe Root, Dawid Malan, and even three overs of off-spin from Ollie Robinson.

The selection issues were highlighted in the aftermath of the Brisbane Test, they are only going to be further examined and questioned at the end of this Test, as the same old issues and problems continue to rear their head for England.

If England desperately wanted to select five seamers and go chips in to cash in with the Pink ball, that’s fine, but try to include some variation in the attack. Much like 2017/18, their pace attack lacked variety and was easily thwarted by the Australian batters.

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Lyon share of wickets and work on a familiar ground

Nathan Lyon knows the Adelaide Oval like the back of his hand.

The man who used to prepare the pitch out in the centre now sits equal with Shane Warne having taken the most Test wickets (56) than any other player at the ground. And, despite one English detractor, was the big factor in pulling Australia right back on top during Day 3, with a long, probing spell in the second session of play which created pressure and brought about wickets.

He swapped ends to the Cathedral end, the same end that Joe Root was able to find something from when he had the ball in his hand in the first innings and immediately found the bounce, turn, and started causing problems for the English batters. He finished the first innings with 3/58.

When Australia returned to the field for the second bowling innings, Lyon was introduced early in the preceding’s. While he didn’t take a wicket in his opening spell, he looked increasingly threatening with every passing delivery. Generating turn, spin, bounce, and deviation and consistently challenging both edges and the defences of the English batters.

Lyon took five wickets for the match to take his series tally to nine, showing that the champion off-spinner has plenty more left in the tank.

Crucial selection call looms as unchanged Squad named for Boxing Day

267 men have made more Test runs than Marcus Harris as an opener. (466.) Five of them have a worse average. (22.19.) then the incumbent Australian opener.

George Bailey was resolute pre- series that Harris was the man to open the batting with Warner and will be given an extended run in the Test side to cement his place moving forward, in a year where Australia has alot of scheduled and tentative Test commitments abroad.

However, following a pair of low scores in Brisbane and another single-figure score in the first innings at Adelaide, the pressure gauge has again been turned right up as it would appear that Harris is running out of chances.

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After surviving the night session on Day 3 and making it to Stumps, Harris had a golden opportunity on Day 4 to make some big runs and ensure he would take his place on Boxing Day at his adopted home ground. He only added two to his overnight score, dismissed for 23, courtesy of another blinding Jos Buttler catch behind the stumps. The same way he fell in the first innings.

With Sheffield Shield cricket now on hold till February and no other tour matches scheduled, and an unchanged squad picked for the next three Tests, there might be some sleepless and apprehensive nights ahead for the Victorian as he awaits his fate with selection.

Replacement seamers hold their own in place of stars

Australia’s much-spoken about depth in the fast bowling department was finally put to the Test as Australia was dealt a blow on Test match eve. Already without Josh Hazelwood for Adelaide, with the right -armer picking up a side injury in the nine-wicket win at the Gabba, The Australians were dealt a hammer blow on the eve of the Test match with their captain and number one ranked fast bowler Pat Cummins ruled out of the test match for simply, being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It meant Jhye Richardson, who many thought was unlucky to miss selection at the Gabba, who many pundits thought would feature this Ashes series regardless due to his hot Sheffield Shield form would take his place and take a chance to impress. The late chaos with Cummins meant that Queensland seamer Michael Neser, who had been in the Australian quad for 24 consecutive Test matches would finally receive his baggy green and break through for that game for Australia.

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Neser’s debut started like a dream. First with the bat as he hit quick runs to run up Australia’s total in the first innings before claiming a wicket with his second delivery in Test cricket, having Haseeb Hameed caught at mid-off by Mitchell Starc.

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He also trapped Dawid Malan leg before in the second innings, only bowling the 24 overs in his debut Test but was very economical.

Richardson didn’t take a wicket in the first innings and was in fact rather expensive first up, but bounced back to claim his maiden five-wicket haul in Test cricket in the second innings and look increasingly threatening with the old ball later as the game moved later in the day.



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