Victorian debutant Scott Boland produced the spell of a lifetime as Australia secured an Ashes series victory with an emphatic triumph over England in the third Test at the MCG on Tuesday.

England were skittled for a feeble 68 as Australia clinched an unassailable 3-0 series lead with victory by an innings and 14 runs inside two days and one session.

Player of the Match Boland was the story of the third day, claiming four wickets in 11 deliveries including England skipper Joe Root to finish with remarkable second-innings figures of 7-6 from four overs.

Root offered the only resistance with 28, after the visitors resumed at 31-4 but wilted against a hungry Australian attack.

Mitchell Starc (29-3) got the first breakthrough of Ben Stokes bowled for 11, before Boland took over as England lost their final five wickets for eight runs.

Boland first trapped Jonny Bairstow lbw for 5, despite a review, after he was dropped at gully by Cameron Green.

The debutant proceeded to claim the key wicket of Root caught by David Warner at first slip, before dismissing Mark Wood and Ollie Robinson for ducks.

Green claimed the final wicket to secure the series victory, clean bowling Jimmy Anderson to bowl England out for 68, their ninth lowest total in Ashes history.

England lasted only 15.4 overs on the third day, with the game being the shortest completed Test match hosted by Australia in 70 years, lasting 1084 balls.

Australia took four late wickets amid a devastating spell with the ball to grab a stronghold on their way to sealing the Ashes after England had fought back on day two of the third Test at the MCG.

Mitchell Starc claimed the scalps of Zak Crawley and Dawid Malan in successive balls before Victorian debutant Scott Boland had Haseeb Hameed caught behind and bowled Jack Leach to leave the visitors reeling.

England were 31-4 at stumps, trailing by 51 runs as Australia, who lead the series 2-0, look to clinch the Ashes in Melbourne. Joe Root (12*) and Ben Stokes (2*) will resume at the crease on day three.

The visitors had rallied to keep the Boxing Day Test alive, having dismissed Australia for 267 led by veteran James Anderson with 4-33.

All this after drama forced the resumption of play to be delayed after a coronavirus scare within the England camp, before all the players were cleared for an 11am local start.

Australia had resumed at 61-1 after England were all out for 185 on the first day. Marcus Harris resumed at the crease and top scored with 76 on his home deck.

England had made good inroads into the Australia batting order at 110-4, dismissing number one Test batsman Marnus Labuschagne for 1 and vice-captain Steve Smith for 16 from Chris Wood (71-2) and Anderson respectively.

Harris was the only Australian to score more than 40, with Travis Head (27) getting a start before falling to Ollie Robinson (64-2), who had a hamstring scare but played on.

England appeared set for a nominal first-innings deficit before a late cameo from Starc (24*) and captain Pat Cummins (21) opened up an 82-run lead.

However, Australia turned the game in a stunning final 45 minutes with Cummins almost having Crawley caught behind for a duck when Alex Carey botched a chance, before the English opener went in the next over to Starc (11-2).

Starc trapped Malan lbw next ball despite a review, before Boland was introduced to the attack, having Hameed caught by Carey before clean bowling Leach two balls later.

Starc misses rare Boxing Day hat-trick

Starc almost claimed the first Boxing Day Test Ashes hat-trick since Shane Warne in 1994 when he dismissed Crawley and Malan in successive deliveries. England skipper Root survived a close call on the hat-trick ball which had the MCG crowd on their feet as it whizzed past the bat.

Local hero fires up crowd

Local debutant Boland only managed one wicket in the first innings but received great support from his home crowd during his brief batting innings before a double strike with his only over after being thrown the ball late in the day.

Australia tightened their grip on the Ashes as another abject performance from England meant it was a brutal Boxing Day for the tourists in Melbourne.

On day one of the third Test, a must-win match for England, Joe Root's men were dismissed for 185 and saw Australia race to 61-1 at stumps.

Australia are seeking to secure a third consecutive men's Ashes series win on home soil, while England's mission is to somehow make the contest competitive.

After bruising defeats in Brisbane and Adelaide, the evidence of day one pointed to more incoming misery for Root and co.

Having made six and a duck in Adelaide, Haseeb Hameed again fell without scoring at the top of the England order as the opener perished to returning Australia captain Pat Cummins.

His edge through to Alex Carey in the second over gave Cummins a 100th Test wicket on home soil, and a 101st was not long in arriving as the skipper prised out England's second opener, with a gully catch accounting for the recalled Zak Crawley.

Crawley made 12, and his exit meant that, at 13-2, England were again looking for Dawid Malan and captain Root to perform a rescue act. They enjoyed a century alliance in Adelaide but here could only put on 48 for the third wicket, with Malan edging through to David Warner at slip to fall for 14 and give Cummins a third victim.

Root reached 50 but went no further, a promising innings ending in disappointing fashion as he tickled Mitchell Starc through to Carey. And although Ben Stokes made 25 and Jonny Bairstow 35, England needed more from their middle order due to the openers' failings.

Poor shot selection accounted for most of the England wickets, and the theme continued as Jos Buttler fell for three before tea, lobbing spinner Nathan Lyon to debutant Scott Boland at deep mid wicket.

Australia wrapped up the innings when Lyon had both Jack Leach (13) and Ollie Robinson (22) caught in the deep to secure figures of 3-36.

Paceman Cummins posted the same numbers as Lyon, and the Australia skipper, who missed the Adelaide tussle after being deemed a close contact of a COVID-19 case, would have relished the sight of his batsmen piling on the runs in their reply.

Blood drawn, but Aussies fight on

Australian only require a draw at the MCG to retain the Ashes, but their instinct will always be to go flat out for victory against the old enemy. Boland, a 32-year-old Melbourne native, made two catches and snagged a popular first Test wicket when he pinned Mark Wood lbw, and the day ended in English despair when an edge from Marcus Harris through the slip cordon ran away for four. Harris had treatment for a bloodied finger moments earlier after being hit on the glove by Stokes, but battled on.

Banishing MCG blues

Australia have lost two of their last three men's Tests on Boxing Day (W1), being beaten twice by India after having been undefeated in their seven Tests prior starting on December 26 (W5, D2). They have won only one of their last three Boxing Day Tests played against England (D1, L1). James Anderson gave England brief hope when he had Warner (38) caught low down by Zak Crawley before the close – the 10th time he has dismissed Warner in Tests – but this was emphatically Australia's day.

Joe Root says the England captaincy is "not a dictatorship" as the tourists prepare to try and keep the Ashes series alive in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG.

Root called on his attack to be "braver" by bowling fuller lengths after Australia went 2-0 up with a resounding 275-run victory at the Adelaide Oval.

England start the third Test in Melbourne knowing they must win to have any chance of regaining the urn and captain Root does not see a problem with himself and the bowlers having a difference of opinion.

"I like to give our bowlers, especially the senior ones, that responsibility," Root said. "They [James Anderson and Stuart Broad] have more than 300 Tests between them and over 1,000 wickets, and they know what they are doing.

"It's working alongside them, it's not a dictatorship. Every now and again, you don't always agree on everything and that's fine.

"Ultimately, it's about coming to a point where you get the results we want. Unfortunately, in the last game, we didn't quite get there."

Root will break former Pakistan batter Mohammad Yousuf's record of 1,788 Test runs in a calendar year if he scores 159 or more in England's last match of 2021.

England must raise their game in the field, having dropped at least five catches in four of their past five Tests. They put seven chances down in Adelaide.

Australia have lost two of the previous three Boxing Day Tests, both of those defeats coming at the hands of India.

 

England set to ring the changes

The tourists are set to wield the axe after two heavy defeats, with Zak Crawley, Jonny Bairstow, Jack Leach and Mark Wood potentially getting the nod.

Rory Burns is reportedly in danger of being dropped and fellow opener Haseeb Hameed is also under pressure, while Chris Woakes looks likely to miss out after he went for 149 runs and took only one wicket in the second Test.

Ollie Pope has also been out of sorts early in the series, failing to reach double figures in his past three innings after starting with 35 at the Gabba.

Crawley has not played for England since a drawn Test against India at Trent Bridge in August.

 

Cummins returns, Labuschagne on top of the world

Pat Cummins returns to skipper Australia after missing the last Test due to coming into close contact with a positive coronavirus case at a restaurant in Adelaide.

Australia now have the number one Test bowler in the world in Cummins and the best batter on the planet, with Marnus Labuschagne taking that mantle from Root.

Labuschagne is the leading run-scorer in the series with 228 at an average of 76 following his maiden Ashes century in the second Test.

Josh Hazlewood is set to miss out again due to a side injury, so Jhye Richardson should get another opportunity after claiming a maiden five-wicket Test haul on his Ashes debut last week.

Joe Root has backed himself to score a maiden Test century in Australia as England search for a response in the Ashes after a dismal start.

England have been comfortably dispatched by Australia in the opening two Tests, succumbing to a 275-run defeat in Adelaide after a nine-wicket beating in Brisbane.

The tourists are without a win in 12 Test matches in Australia – their joint-longest such run (also 12 between January 1937 to February 1951) – and must defeat Justin Langer's side in Melbourne to stop them from retaining the urn.

Root has been in fine form, scoring 175 runs at an average of 43.75, but the England captain has yet to convert to three figures despite registering eight half-centuries in Australia - only Bruce Laird (nine times) has reached fifty more times in Tests Down Under without ever managing to a ton.

Indeed, Root has already surpassed Michael Vaughan (1,481 in 2002) for the most Test runs in a calendar year by an England player and sits fourth on the all-time list with 1,630 runs in 2021.

Root will eye the Boxing Day Test as a chance to further his record haul and the 30-year-old remains confident he can manage a maiden ton on Australian soil sooner rather than later.

"I expect a response from our players and I would like to bring a nice Christmas present home for everyone who stays up," Root told reporters.

"I feel in a really good place with my batting. I feel confident I can, in these next three games, bang out a hundred in these conditions.

"I know that's a brave thing to say but my conversion rate, this year, it's not been an issue at all.

"I feel like I have managed that well and have an understanding of how I want to score my runs. There's clarity there, I just need to keep putting myself in those positions, just have the bit between my teeth, [make it] 'over my dead body'".

 

Australia number three Marnus Labuschagne, who leads the Ashes scoring charts with 228 runs, overtook Root as the ICC's top-ranked men's Test batter and England's skipper admitted he wants his title back.

"I've never been one for that but it would be nice to have it back for Christmas," he responded when asked about being displaced at the top of the rankings.

Root will also be expecting a response from his bowling attack after he provided a scathing summary post-match in the second Test, in which he slammed his bowlers for repeating mistakes from four years ago and needing to be braver with their lengths.

He hopes his outburst, which was followed up by a "brutally honest" Chris Silverwood debrief with the England players, will act as a catalyst for change on Saturday.

"I did [get angry] at the end of the last game because of the situation we're in and the manner in which we lost," he continued.

"I'll always try to look at things with a level, pragmatic approach but I don't think you could after the way we've played those last two games. I expect a response from everyone this week.

"Twice now we've got ourselves into a position, second innings in Brisbane, first innings in Adelaide, with decent partnerships between me and Mala [Dawid Malan], we needed to go on and we didn't.

"Sometimes that can happen, but the first 20 balls, starting your innings, you've got to be disciplined, you've got to know how you're going to get yourself in the game and we can't afford to be losing eight wickets for 70 or 80 runs.

"It is not good enough, it is not the level that an England Test team should be playing at. The guys know that and they're very aware of that. Their work ethic is very good and you'll have seen how guys practiced and how long they bat for in the nets, but sometimes I think we can be smarter about what we are practicing and how we are practicing.

"And understanding that batting, in my opinion, it's about making good decisions for long periods of time."

Mark Wood expects a response from England after stern words from Chris Silverwood and a discussion among senior players following their poor start in the Ashes.

Joe Root's side have been comfortably outplayed by Australia in the opening two Tests, most recently succumbing to a 275-run defeat in Adelaide after a nine-wicket loss in Brisbane.

Another crushing blow at the Adelaide Oval leaves England needing a minor miracle to overturn a 2-0 series deficit, the tourists now without a win in 12 Tests in Australia – their joint-longest run Down Under (also 12 between January 1937 to February 1951).

The third Test starts in Melbourne on December 25 and Wood hopes an in-depth chat between players, and an honest evaluation from Silverwood, after defeat in the second Test will leave England in better shape.

"We obviously review the game, chat about what we did well, what we didn't do well, but this time it was sterner from Chris Silverwood," Wood said.

"To hear [Chris Silverwood] speak like that – not because he's under pressure or anything – but to hear him speak like that rather than just being his usual coaching self, he was actually annoyed and wanted a change.

"Hopefully it comes at the right time for us to catch a spark.

"Stokesy [Ben Stokes] and Joe Root spoke to the group about… basically a bit of a kick up the bum saying 'this isn't good enough'.

"We've talked in-depth about how things can get better. Not just words or cliched words, we actually set out what we're going to do in Melbourne practice-wise, what we're going to do differently."

 

Wood did not feature in Adelaide despite impressing in the opening Test, with Stuart Broad and James Anderson leading the tourists' bowling attack in the latter pink-ball outing.

Right-arm paceman Wood is expected to return for the next Test to offer Root an alternate option to his attack after the England captain criticised his bowlers' lengths.

Root provided a scathing summary earlier in the week as he claimed his bowlers "needed to be braver" and had repeated mistakes from four years ago, but Wood believes his captain's words did not come across in "the way he totally wanted" to.

Wood added: "I don't think there's any friction between the bowlers and the captain. It's not like that at all."

Nevertheless, it is now or never heading into Saturday and the Durham quick believes England can still change their fortunes around.

"We've got to believe we can turn this round," Wood said. "We haven't shown our best stuff yet. We know that Australia have played really well. If we can match them then we believe we can win Test matches here.

"We've just got to up our game in all three areas. At the minute, Australia have scored 400 twice, we've had batting collapses and we've dropped catches.

"We've got facets of the game that need major work. We've now got a couple of days to stop thinking about cricket, get away in Melbourne and enjoy the lead-up to Christmas."

Australia's Marnus Labuschagne has risen to number one in the ICC Test batting rankings.

Labuschagne made his Test debut for Australia in 2018 against Pakistan in Dubai. However, it was during the 2019 Ashes that the 27-year-old came to prominence.

He became the first player to be a concussion substitute in a Test match when he replaced Steve Smith in the second match at Lord's, after the former Australia captain had been struck on the back of the neck.

His resilient 59 helped Australia secure a draw and he was named in the line-up for the following Test and has not looked back since.

Labuschagne has averaged 62.14 from 20 Tests, and has scored 74, 0 (not out), 103 and 51 in his four innings in the 2021-22 Ashes as Australia cruised into a 2-0 lead.

He has hit six centuries, including one double-hundred against New Zealand in January 2020.

Labuschagne's career-high 912 rating points saw him leapfrog England captain Joe Root, who has had a brilliant 2021 when it comes to run-scoring, even if his side have struggled.

Indeed, Root has now scored 4,859 runs as England Test captain, surpassing the previous record set by Alastair Cook (4,844).

Steve Smith, Kane Williamson and India's new white-ball captain Rohit Sharma complete the top five.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam, meanwhile, has risen to the number one spot for T20I batsmen, though he is tied with England's Dawid Malan.

Mitchell Starc has bowled impressively in the Ashes so far and has moved into the top six for bowlers.

Ricky Ponting questioned Joe Root's leadership after the England captain's comments following the second Ashes Test.

England slumped to another heavy defeat in Adelaide as Australia cruised into a 2-0 series lead.

The tourists now head to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test in need of a victory to stand any chance of regaining the Ashes. Australia will retain the urn if they win or the match finishes as a draw.

A frustrated Root was critical of his side's display in his post-match media duties, and in particular England's bowlers as Australia accumulated 703 runs across their two innings.

"I think when you look at ball in hand in particular, I don't think we've bowled the right lengths if we're being brutally honest, we needed to bowl fuller," he said.

"As soon as we did in that second innings, we created so many chances and we made it hard work. We need to do that more, we need to get the ball up there, be a bit braver because when we do, we make life difficult."

These comments, however, annoyed former Australia skipper Ponting, who told cricket.au: "I nearly fell off my seat when I heard that!

"Whose job is it then to make them change? Why are you captain then?

"If you can't influence your bowlers on what length to bowl, what are you doing on the field?

"Joe Root can come back and say whatever he likes but if you're captain, you've got to be able to sense when your bowlers aren't bowling where you want them to.

"And if they're not going to listen, you take them off, simple as that.

"Give someone else a chance that is going to do it for you. Or you have a really strong conversation with them on the field to tell them what you need. That's what captaincy is all about."

Ponting also suggested England bowled better when Root was off the field at the start of day four.

"The interesting thing for me is the only time they bowled full in the game was when Joe Root wasn't on the ground," he said.

"The start of day four when they had a meeting on the ground before play started, Ben Stokes took over the captaincy, and that was the only time in the game they pitched the ball up."

Joe Root does not believe Australia are "that much better" than England despite their dominant start to the Ashes.

England once again paid the price for a poor first-innings batting performance at Adelaide Oval, eventually succumbing to a 275-run defeat following prolonged resistance from Jos Buttler.

Buttler thwarted stand-in captain Steve Smith's side for over four hours as he made 26 off 207 balls before being trudging off after stepping on his stumps when facing Jhye Richardson (5-42), who claimed a maiden five-wicket Test haul.

Chris Woakes also made a battling 44, but England are 2-0 down and winless in 12 Test matches in Australia – their joint-longest run without a victory Down Under.

Captain Root says they have not done themselves justice in two emphatic defeats.

Root told reporters: "With the bat, we have got the ability. I don't think that Australia are that much better in these conditions as the scoreline suggests.

"I'm convinced we've got what we need to win Test matches over here but we're not going to if we keep missing chances and don't give ourselves an opportunity to get into the Test match with the bat.

"We've got to find ways of building those partnerships, getting in, making big contributions.

"That's something we'll have to do very well at Melbourne. I was absolutely gutted to get out last night. I should have been able to turn up today, put the pads on and lead by example, so I'm bitterly disappointed in myself."

Australia have now won all of their nine day-night Test matches, the only side to boast a 100 per cent winning record in such fixtures, while England are winless in their last four pink-ball outings since beating West Indies in 2017.

While Root bemoaned the lengths his bowlers settled on in Adelaide, the skipper reserved special praise for Buttler as he appreciated the tough task that lies ahead.

"Everyone is absolutely devastated for him, having had that mindset and that strength of character in what has been quite a difficult week for him," Root said of Buttler.

"I'm very proud of the way the guys fought today. The attitude and the desire, that's how we need to go about a whole match.

"But we can't just leave it to the last day to try and pull off an enormous feat like we had to do today.

"We've got three massive games now, with the Ashes on the line. If that's not motivation enough, I don’t know what is."

Joe Root says the England bowlers must be "braver" after Australia won the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval by 275 runs to take a 2-0 series lead.

Jos Buttler made 26 from 207 balls before he stepped back onto his own wickets and Chris Woakes top-scored with 44 as the tourists put up an admirable fight on the final day.

However, it was always likely to prove fruitless and they were eventually bowled out for 192 in the final session.

Jhye Richardson (5-42) claimed a maiden five-wicket Test haul on his Ashes debut, showing Australia's strength in depth in their bowling ranks in the absence of Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.

Cummins is set to return to captain Australia for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne after missing out in Adelaide due to being a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.

England's' shortcomings with the bat have been plain to see, but skipper Root wants to see the bowlers change their approach to give them a chance of getting back into the series.

Asked about England's plans, he said: "I think when you look at ball in hand in particular, I don't think we've bowled the right lengths if we're being brutally honest, we needed to bowl fuller.

"As soon as we did in that second innings, we created so many chances and we made it hard work. We need to do that more, we need to get the ball up there, be a bit braver because when we do we make life difficult.

"That's one of the frustrating things, we did that four years ago and we didn't learn from it – we've made mistakes throughout the game that we made last week, whether it be no-balls, missed chances, we just have to be better. We have to learn those lessons quickly ahead of next week."

England will ponder making changes in Melbourne, with fast bowler Mark Wood expected to return.

Root said during the post-match presentation: "Of course someone like Woody, he's always going to offer something, that extra bit of pace he has and hopefully he'll be raring to go for the rest of the series."

Despite England having a mountain to climb, Root believes they can pull off a remarkable fightback and challenged his fellow batters to step up.

Asked if he believes they are capable of winning the series, he said: "Absolutely, you have to be. I think, I'm convinced we have got what we need to win over here, we just need to be better and we can't keep making the same mistakes.

"Guys need to get themselves in, get past that first 20-ball period and then get greedy.

"We need to leave better on occasions as well and manage certain passages of play better, but we're more than capable of doing that and we've shown it in small pockets that we can we've just got to do it for longer, and as I said, do better."

Jhye Richardson took 5-42 as Australia claimed a 275-run victory over England in the second Ashes Test to take a 2-0 series lead.

Australia headed into day five requiring just six wickets to take a 2-0 series lead, Joe Root's side batting only for a draw, given they needed an improbable 386 runs for victory.

Any chance of England escaping without defeat hinged on the shoulders of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, after the tourists' captain Joe Root fell to Mitchell Starc (2-43) on the final ball of day four.

Australia flew out of the blocks, Starc removing Ollie Pope – caught at slip by stand-in captain Steve Smith – and Nathan Lyon picking up the crucial wicket of Stokes, who was dismissed for a 77-ball 12.

Buttler and Chris Woakes then lived charmed lives, with the wicketkeeper edging Starc between a motionless Alex Carey and David Warner, while the right-arm all-rounder survived a caught-behind review from Lyon having not scored.

That England partnership lasted 31 overs before Woakes was bowled by Richardson, with Ollie Robinson following soon after as he was caught at slip by Smith off Lyon.

Stuart Broad successfully reviewed a leg before wicket decision to make it into the final session, but Buttler (26) fell in bizarre fashion, stepping on his own stumps after a 207-ball stint at the crease.

Richardson fittingly removed James Anderson, caught in the gully by Cameron Green, as England made it 12 Tests without a win in Australia (D1, L11); their joint-longest run without a victory Down Under (also 12 matches between January 1937 to February 1951).

England head to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test needing a win to stand a chance of regaining the Ashes, while a draw would ensure Australia retain the urn yet again.

Buttler battles to no avail

Buttler, who before the Ashes insisted he would play with a carefree with "nothing to lose", battled against Australia almost single-handedly on Monday, but even his best efforts were not enough against a relentless Australia.

It was a mixed bag of a Test for the 31-year-old, who took some stunning catches, but also dropped some golden chances behind the stumps.

Contrasting fortunes under the lights

England's rear-guard almost masked multiple selection issues across the Gabba and the Adelaide Oval, but what cannot be denied is Australia's magnificent pink-ball form.

The hosts have won all nine of their day-night Test matches, the most by any side and the only team with a 100 per cent record, while England have lost each of their last four games in the format – last winning against West Indies in August 2017. Richardson was the pick of the bunch for the hosts, sealing his five-for when he dismissed Anderson.

Travis Head was delighted to see Joe Root dismissed with the final ball of day four in Adelaide, while Australia's stand-in vice-captain expects Nathan Lyon to dominate day five of the second Ashes Test.

Root's 24 on Sunday may have seen him overtake Alastair Cook (4,844) to become England's top run-scorer as Test captain, but the current skipper had little to celebrate barring yet another personal landmark in a fantastic 2021 for the Yorkshireman.

The tourists started positively, dismissing nightwatchman Michael Neser (3), Marcus Harris (23) and Steve Smith (6) in quickfire fashion to leave the hosts 55-4.

However, Marnus Labuschagne (51) and Head (51) fought back, before Cameron Green (33 not out) and Mitchell Starc (19) guided Australia to their declaration total of 230-9, setting England a mammoth 468 to win.

Rory Burns (34) and Dawid Malan (20) offered some brief resistance after Haseeb Hameed had been removed for a duck by Jhye Richardson, but the pair were soon sent packing to leave Root and Ben Stokes (3 not out) to try and save the day.

Root, though, fell to Starc's final delivery after he had earlier been hit in the groin by the left-arm quick, and Head appreciated what a big wicket the England captain was.

"Root is a huge wicket, he is in fantastic form," Head told reporters after play ended on the penultimate day at the Adelaide Oval with England 82-4.

"I have a lot of sympathy for him – it wasn't a great time to get hit.

"We got told to give him some space [on the pitch]. Starc on that line is never pretty and unfortunately with the day he [Root] has had it wasn't a great time to get hit.

"They've still got some quality players. Nathan Lyon will play a massive part, the ball is turning. It's a big day tomorrow."

England will need what would seemingly be a miracle on Monday, with Stokes – who delivered unlikely heroics at Headingley in 2019 against the same opposition – leading the charge.

England's fast-bowling coach Jon Lewis expressed his support for Stokes, who he believes is the best man for the task ahead, while hailing the valiant efforts of Root.

"Anytime one of your best players [Root] gets out, it's a knock," Lewis told reporters.

"Joe showed a hell of a lot of character to go out. There was no doubt in Joe's mind he was going out to bat and it shows what a great player and brilliant leader he is. 

"Since he got hit he stood up, he could have had a nightwatchman. He wants to show his team how hard he wants to try for the team.

"They will try to survive the day tomorrow to get ourselves out of this game with a draw. It's a big ask I know."

"Ben [Stokes] has done it before, he has done special things in an England shirt."

England captain Joe Root fell to the last ball of day four to leave Australia needing just six wickets to win the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

After some early promise with the ball, the tourists allowed Australia to add another 185 runs to their overnight score of 45-1, before losing four wickets in their chase of 468.

James Anderson bowled nightwatchman Michael Neser (3) in the second over of day, before Marcus Harris was impressively caught behind for 23 off the bowling of Stuart Broad.

Jos Buttler put down a chance to dismiss Steve Smith on the next ball, though made amends with another tremendous left-handed catch to dismiss Australia's stand-in captain, leaving the hosts 55-4.

However, a solid partnership of 89 from Marnus Labuschagne (51) and Travis Head (51) was followed up by contributions from Cameron Green (33 not out) and Mitchell Starc (19), before Smith declared on 230-9, setting England a huge target of 268.

Haseeb Hameed continued the trend of early England wickets falling as he edged Jhye Richardson for a duck, and though Rory Burns (34) and Dawid Malan (20) looked like they might build a good partnership, both fell shortly after reprieves.

Root and Ben Stokes (3 not out) tried to see out the rest of the final session only for the former to edge Starc to Alex Carey on 24 in what proved to be the last ball of the day, leaving England on 82-4 and Australia on the brink of a 2-0 lead in the series.

A sore day for Root down under

It was a painful day for England skipper Root in more ways than one, starting it off the field after being hit in the groin during throwdowns in the warm-up, before being hit in a similar area again by Starc just before being removed by the same man before the close of play.

One slight positive was his knock of 24 ensured that he overtook Sir Alastair Cook (4,844) to become England's top run scorer as Test captain, though it may not seem like something worth celebrating with his team staring down the barrel of another humbling Ashes defeat.

England fail to make second chances count

The tourists have not played well in Australia so far, but have also had their fair share of bad luck with dropped catches and multiple wickets taken off no balls, but they were their own worst enemies on the rare occasions things went their way.

Smith inexplicably dropped Malan on 19 off the bowling of Nathan Lyon, but he added just one more run before being out loge before wicket first ball of the next over to Neser.

Burns was then given out caught behind but successfully reviewed after replays showed the ball clipping his hip and missing the bat, but he too failed to take advantage of the second chance as he added just four more runs before edging Richardson to Smith.

Joe Root has been sent for scans after being struck in the abdomen during England's warm-up prior to day four of the second Ashes Test at Adelaide Oval.

The England skipper did not start the day's play on the field, after the blow not long prior to the scheduled commencement.

Root, who made 62 in the first innings, was hit in the abdomen while facing throwdowns in the nets.

"He is currently being assessed by the England medical team," an England team spokesman said in a statement.

Root did return to the playing field in the first session on day four but appeared sore.

Australia resumed on the fourth day at 45-1, with England taking three wickets in the opening 12 overs without Root on the field, with vice-captain Ben Stokes stepping in as skipper.

Dawid Malan admitted it was "disappointing and frustrating" as England endured another batting collapse on day three of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

The tourists began Saturday at 17-2 as they desperately tried to chase down Australia’s total of 473-9.

England appeared to be making a decent charge with the partnership of Malan (80) and Joe Root (62) moving them to 150-2.

However, the floodgates opened upon Cameron Green's dismissal of Root, with Malan following soon after, while Ollie Pope went for five and Jos Buttler was out for a duck as the visitors slid to 169-6.

Nathan Lyon (3-58) and Mitchell Starc (4-37) did the damage for Australia, who led by 282 runs at stumps with nine second wickets still standing and are closing in on a 2-0 lead.

 

"After we lost those two wickets last night, the thoughts were just to get a partnership going, which myself and Rooty got," Malan told BT Sport.

"We got ourselves into a half-decent position. But once again, as soon as the Aussies opened the door, they just jumped straight through it.

"It's disappointing and frustrating that we got ourselves back into the fight and then lost a few too many wickets in clusters.

"I think it’s a bit of a trend; it's something we did on the last tour and the last Test here. We get a bit of momentum and a partnership going and as soon as the Aussies take that one wicket, we lose two or three in clusters.

"When we lose that one wicket, we need to make sure we get another partnership going as quickly as possible.

"Luckily, we got that one wicket tonight and, hopefully, we can have a crazy hour or two somewhere [on Sunday]. We need to take wickets, try to put them under as much pressure as we can, and then bat for a very long period."

Malan also praised Root following their impressive partnership, although it ultimately proved academic in the context of the innings.

"He's one of the best batters that has ever played the game," Malan added.

"Every innings, he seems to find another way to score runs, so that's fantastic for me to watch and learn."

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