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.

Mitchell Starc says he and Nathan Lyon may have also missed the second Ashes Test if they had not snubbed Pat Cummins at an Adelaide restaurant.

Australia captain Cummins was force to sit out the match at Adelaide Oval after the paceman was deemed to be a close contact with a positive coronavirus case at a restaurant.

Fellow fast bowler Starc and spinner Lyon dined at the same establishment, but were considered to be casual contacts with the person who had the virus.

Starc took 4-37 and Lyon claimed 3-58 as England meekly collapsed from 150-2 to 236 on day three in reply to 473-9 declared. Australia then closed in complete command on 45-1 in their second innings - leading by 282 runs.

Left-arm quick Starc revealed it could have been a very different story if Cummins had replied to his text message. 

He said: "It was just fortunate we were sitting outside. It was almost a bit of a p***-take because Pat didn't reply to my message so thought we'd sit away from him and sit outside so it's been a lucky one."

Starc says he did not lose any sleep fretting over whether dining out could have cost him another chance to exploit England's vulnerable batting line-up in a match Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of due to a side strain.

"Spinner [Lyon] didn't sleep. I slept quite fine, there wasn't much I could do about it after," he said.

It was revealed on Saturday that both sides will face stricter protocols for the Melbourne and Sydney Tests due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Players can only follow Starc and Lyon's lead and dine outside, while they must also socially distance with members of the public.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley told SEN radio: "We need to make sure there's social distancing, so we ask everyone to be respectful in the public.

"That's the real shame because what we have seen is players wanting to interact with fans. That's been a feature of the Big Bash. But we've now got very clear protocols.

"As it comes to those on the field of play we need to make sure that people are operating in a really biosecure way."

Mitchell Starc says he and Nathan Lyon may have also missed the second Ashes Test if they had not snubbed Pat Cummins at an Adelaide restaurant.

Australia captain Cummins was force to sit out the match at Adelaide Oval after the paceman was deemed to be a close contact with a positive coronavirus case at a restaurant.

Fellow fast bowler Starc and spinner Lyon dined at the same establishment, but were considered to be casual contacts with the person who had the virus.

Starc took 4-37 and Lyon claimed 3-58 as England meekly collapsed from 150-2 to 236 on day three in reply to 473-9 declared. Australia then closed in complete command on 45-1 in their second innings - leading by 282 runs.

Left-arm quick Starc revealed it could have been a very different story if Cummins had replied to his text message. 

He said: "It was just fortunate we were sitting outside. It was almost a bit of a p***-take because Pat didn't reply to my message so thought we'd sit away from him and sit outside so it's been a lucky one."

Starc says he did not lose any sleep fretting over whether dining out could have cost him another chance to exploit England's vulnerable batting line-up in a match Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of due to a side strain.

"Spinner [Lyon] didn't sleep. I slept quite fine, there wasn't much I could do about it after," he said.

It was revealed on Saturday that both sides will face stricter protocols for the Melbourne and Sydney Tests due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Players can only follow Starc and Lyon's lead and dine outside, while they must also socially distance with members of the public.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley told SEN radio: "We need to make sure there's social distancing, so we ask everyone to be respectful in the public.

"That's the real shame because what we have seen is players wanting to interact with fans. That's been a feature of the Big Bash. But we've now got very clear protocols.

"As it comes to those on the field of play we need to make sure that people are operating in a really biosecure way."

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."

The Roger Harper-led West Indies selection panel has been relieved of its duties.

Australia had a 2-0 Ashes series lead in their sights after another batting collapse by England put the hosts firmly on top in Adelaide.

The hosts led by 282 runs at stumps on day three after dismissing the tourists for 236 in 84.1 overs, with Australia electing not to enforce the follow-on and going on to reach 45-1 in their second innings.

Despite impressive contributions from Dawid Malan (80) and Joe Root (62), England's momentum collapsed once captain Root fell. From 150-2, they slid to 169-6, and it was damage limitation from that point.

The visitors had begun the day at 17-2, replying to Australia's 473-9, knowing it would take a huge effort to get close to that total but determined it was not impossible.

Malan and captain Root looked to have England comfortable, steering them to 150 before the skipper fell victim to Cameron Green, edging to Steve Smith at first slip.

Malan followed Root back to the England changing room six overs later after a first wicket of the day for Mitchell Starc, another chance gobbled up by Smith.

The wickets fell fast as Ollie Pope went for just five and Jos Buttler was out for a duck, with spinner Nathan Lyon (3-58) and paceman Starc (4-37) doing the damage.

Ben Stokes, who required 24 balls to get off the mark, was bowled for 34 by Green after looking to up the scoring tempo once Chris Woakes (24) fell by the wayside.

Ollie Robinson (0) soon followed and Stuart Broad went for nine, while James Anderson was five not out as the innings ended painfully.

Though 237 runs to the good, Australia skipper Smith snubbed the follow-on option and told his batsmen to pile on more runs and more English agony.

Marcus Harris was 21 not out while a mix-up saw David Warner run out for 13 before the close of play.

Ben Stokes refused to accept that England are already beaten after another dominant day from Australia in the second Ashes Test.

The hosts, captained by Steve Smith in the absence of Pat Cummins, had ended the opening day on 221-2 and ensured England toiled further on day two as the tourists were stuck in the field for 150 overs overall in Adelaide.

Australia eventually declared on 473-9 on Friday, after Marnus Labuschagne (103) had completed his first Ashes century and Smith had crafted an excellent 93 of his own.

The mammoth total was aided by Alex Carey's 51, while Mitchell Starc (39 not out) and debutant Michael Neser (35) enjoyed lower-order cameos as they bludgeoned Joe Root's bowlers around the park.

England lost openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed in the first seven overs in response, before play was abandoned due to a lightning storm looming over the Adelaide Oval with Root's side 17-2.

But star all-rounder Stokes, who ran himself into the ground for his 3-113 from 25 overs, insisted his side are not already beaten heading into Saturday's third day.

"We know that tomorrow is going to be a good day for batting," Stokes told BBC's Test Match Special.

"Losing two wickets is not ideal, but tomorrow is a new day. We'll park everything, just like we parked the result in Brisbane.

"We don't believe we're beaten already."

Indeed, Stokes made an early comeback to feature in the Ashes touring party, after initially taking a break from cricket to allow his finger injury to heal and to prioritise his mental wellbeing.

While things have not gone to plan so far for the 30-year-old or England, Stokes believes his decision to play has already been justified and is by far worthwhile.

Asked by reporters whether he had enjoyed his return so far, Stokes said: "Yes. I've loved every minute of it.

"If you don't feel sore getting up in the morning, you've probably not done what's required of you. You've just got to love the dirt when you get that deep in the game and understand what you're playing for.

"We've seen a lot of the support we've been getting on social media from everyone back in England, and the guys who have been supporting us here in Australia have been absolutely phenomenal.

"It's incredible wherever we go. You hear them even though they're outnumbered, and there are people who are staying up through the middle of the night to watch us from afar in the bars and stuff.

"That's incredible to see. Obviously, the first Test didn't go well and Australia are ahead at the moment, but we know back home we'll be getting as much support as we always do and for us it's about letting them know we really appreciate it."

West Indies Women head coach Courtney Walsh believes his most difficult task preparing for next year's ICC Women's Cricket World Cup, will be keeping his players focused and ready for the task at hand following the cancellation of the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe.

The players returned home to their respective islands last weekend.

“That’s going to be a big challenge,” Walsh told the Antigua Observer.

“We had a break and didn’t get to play as much cricket as we wanted to play for them to get that exposure, so I don’t want to use the words ‘starting over again’, but it is going to be something similar where we are going to have to restart or reset and see how best we can get things going to have everybody clicking again.”

Following the cancellation of the qualifiers that were to be held between November 21 and December 5, the West Indies Women were forced to spend 11 days in quarantine in Oman.

West Indies Women had won their first match against Ireland Women by six wickets.

The 2022 ICC Women’s World Cup gets underway on March 4, 2022, with West Indies Women facing hosts New Zealand at the Bay Oval in Tauranga.

England's hopes of levelling the Ashes in the second Test appear to be all but over after Australia's stand-in captain Steve Smith declared at 473-9 on Friday.

Australia were sitting pretty at 221-2 at the end of day one in Adelaide and picked up where they left off, with Smith and a wagging tail cashing in as the tourists flagged.

England subsequently went into bat after a mammoth 150 overs in the field, looking exhausted and embarrassed as they begrudgingly attempted to chip away at a surely unassailable total, losing both openers cheaply to reach 17-2 at stumps.

Australia did not have it all their own way, though.

Marnus Labuschagne (103) raised his bat with a boundary early on to seal his first Ashes century, but the wickets did soon fall.

Ollie Robinson trapped Labuschagne lbw before Joe Root (1-72) and Ben Stokes (3-113) sent Travis Head (18) and Cameron Green (2) back to the pavilion. Australia were 303-5 at lunch, giving England reason for optimism.

However, Smith (93) – skippering in the absence of Pat Cummins – kept plugging away until he was eventually halted by James Anderson just short of his century. The same England bowler then took the wicket of Alex Carey (51) in his next over.

Yet the final hour or so of Australia's innings proved brutal as their tail swung into action. Mitchell Starc hit 39 not out from as many balls and Michael Neser reached 35 off 24, giving the hosts a real injection towards the end.

Smith's declaration was timed to minimise the length of England's break after a gruelling fielding session, and the tourists lost Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed in the first seven overs.

Play was abandoned due to a looming electrical storm, the rain presumably a welcome arrival for Joe Root's men.

Robinson makes Australia work

While the second Test has largely been tricky for England thus far, Robinson certainly showed some class with the ball as he recorded figures of 1-45, somewhat miserly compared to the rest of the England attack.

Every other England bowler afforded Australia more runs despite only Anderson presiding over more than Robinson's 27 overs, with Chris Woakes and Stokes each conceding over 100 runs.

Smith tides the hosts over

After the excellent early work of David Warner (95) and Labuschagne on Thursday, things could have fallen apart on day two, but Smith ensured the boat was not rocked.

His 93 off 201 deliveries was steady and patient, precisely what Australia needed. While Head and Green did not have quite the same impact, Smith's showing at least allowed the likes of Carey, Starc and Neser to go into bat with a little less pressure, and they certainly made the most of that.

Pakistan achieved their highest ever successful run chase in T20 Internationals on Friday to complete a 3-0 series sweep of the West Indies in Karachi.

The home side made 208-3 from 18.5 overs to win by seven wickets.

The Pakistan opening pair of Mohammad Rizwan and Captain Babar Azam were comfortable throughout the first powerplay, taking 60 from the six overs with Rizwan on 32 and Babar on 27.

The pair raced to 98-0 after 10 overs with Rizwan bringing up a half century, his second of the series, on the last ball of the 10th over, and Babar on 46.

A boundary off the first ball of the 11th over bowled by Oshane Thomas made Mohammad Rizwan the first batsman ever to score 2000 T20 runs in a calendar year.

Babar achieved his 50 off 40 balls in the 12th over.

Rizwan and Babar brought up their 150-run partnership in the 15th over, which ended with Pakistan 158-0, still needing a further 50 from 30 balls to secure the sweep.

Babar was finally dismissed for 79 on the first ball of the 16th over bowled by Odean Smith.

Rizwan’s brilliant innings of 87 from 45 balls was finally ended in the 18th over when he was caught off the bowling of Dominic Drakes leaving Pakistan on 184-2 needing 24 off 16 balls to win.

Fakhar Zaman was the next Pakistan batsman to go, caught in the 19th over off the bowling Romario Shepherd for 12 to leave them 195-3.

Pakistan got to their target off 18.5 overs thanks to a late cameo of 21 from seven balls from Asif Ali.

Earlier, The West Indies won the toss and elected to bat, posting an excellent 207-3 thanks to 64 from captain Nicholas Pooran.

He was well supported by Shamarh Brooks who got 49 and Brandon King who scored 43.

Shahnawaz Dahani was Pakistan's best bowler on the day with 1-23 from his four overs.

Mohammad Rizwan was named Man of the Match and, after his brilliant 203 runs in three matches, was also named Man of the Series.

The West Indies have set Pakistan a target of 208 to win the third and final T20 in Karachi thanks to 64 from Captain Nicholas Pooran, his highest T20 International score.

Darren Bravo and Gudakesh Motie replaced Shai Hope and Akeal Hosein in the team for this game as Hope and Hosein were among the five additional members of the touring party to test positive for COVID-19 during PCR tests administered by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday.

With Hope missing, Shamarh Brooks joined regular opener, Brandon King, at the top of the innings. Together they brought up 50 in the fifth over with King going well on 37 and Brooks on 11.

King was dismissed on the last ball of the powerplay by Mohammed Wasim Jr for a well-played 43 to leave the team 66-1 after six overs.

Pooran came to the crease to join Brooks who was on 21.

Brooks narrowly missed out on a maiden T20 International 50 when he was dismissed for 49 by Shahnawaz Dahani in the 10th over to leave the West Indies 99-2.

After 15 overs the West indies were 153-2 with Pooran on 37 and Bravo on 16. Pooran brought up his fourth T20 International 50 in the 17th over off 31 balls.

He was eventually dismissed by Wasim Jr for 64 from 37 balls to leave his team 192-3 in the 18th over.

The 200 came up in the 19th over with Bravo on 30 and Rovman Powell on four.

The West Indies eventually ended their turn at the crease on 207-3 with Darren Bravo finishing not out on 34 from 27 balls and Rovman Powell not out on six.

Pacer Shahnawaz Dahani was the pick of the Pakistan bowlers with 1-23 from his four overs.

 

The ODI series between Pakistan and the West Indies have been postponed due to an outbreak of the Covid-19 virus among the visiting delegation. Five additional members of the touring party tested positive for the virus after PCR tests conducted by the Pakistan Cricket Board on Wednesday.

England batting coach Graham Thorpe implored his side to support Jos Buttler after the wicketkeeper twice dropped Marnus Labuschagne on the opening day of the second Test.

The tourists toiled for large parts of Thursday in Adelaide, having lost the first outing in Brisbane comfortably, after stand-in captain Steve Smith won the toss and elected to bat.

Smith, who captained Australia for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal in 2018, was taking the place of Pat Cummins, after the fast bowler was forced into isolation following contact with a COVID-19 case in a restaurant on Wednesday.

David Warner batted for long periods, only to fall for 95 in the final session of the first day-night Test as he was partnered by Marnus Labuschagne who ended play unbeaten on 95, with Australia 221-2.

The pair shared a second-wicket stand of 172, their sixth century partnership together – no duo can top their combined runs total since Labuschagne's Test debut in October 2018 – but England had ample chances to remove Australia's number three.

Buttler shelled a tough opportunity off the bowling of Ben Stokes with Labuschagne on 21, before dropping a regulation chance from James Anderson in the final hour with the right-hander still five away from his century.

Thorpe, who averaged over 49 for England against Australia during his playing career, insisted that the touring party need to rally around Buttler after the pair of errors.

Thorpe said to BBC's Test Match Special: "Dropped catches hurt us. Jos will have to clear his mind and go again.

"No-one means to drop catches but that's the game and sometimes it can happen to you. We need to get around him and support him.

"Australia were looking to take two set batters into the last session and they played the game very well. They defended well early on - we went past the bat a lot but they kept their wickets.

"We have to keep going at it, luck can turn. I thought we bowled well - you can look at occasionally going fuller but there wasn't much margin for error on that pitch.

"Australia are in a good position. It's up to us to take early wickets with the new ball, that'll be crucial. We have to show some fight and heart."

Marnus Labuschagne is aiming to capitalise on England's missed opportunities after Australia closed on 221-2 after the opening day of the second Test in Adelaide.

David Warner (95) and Labuschagne (95 not out) produced gutsy performances after stand-in captain Steve Smith opted to bat on Thursday, with Australia already boasting a 1-0 series lead.

Smith – captaining for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal in 2018 - was taking the reins due to Pat Cummins isolating after the fast bowler came into contact with a COVID-19 positive member of the public in a restaurant on Wednesday.

Smith's winning toss looked fruitful as Labuschagne batted with David Warner for most of the day in a 172-run second-wicket stand – the pair's sixth century partnership in Tests - no other duo has scored more runs since Australia's number three debuted in October 2018.

Warner subsequently fell in avoidable fashion, caught at cover by Stuart Broad – who earlier dismissed Marcus Harris – off the bowling of Ben Stokes in the final session of the first day-night Test.

Labuschagne was also fortunate to remain undefeated, given he was twice dropped by Jos Buttler – on 21 and 95 – the second of which by all means a regulation chance off James Anderson's bowling.

Aware of the opportunity ahead of him, Labuschagne now wants to cash in with Smith on England's lack of clinical catching when it mattered.

"That was massive for the team just getting through that period, me and Steve [Smith]," Labuschagne told reporters. "It sets us up really well to get a big first-innings score tomorrow.

"The last bit of play there I just wavered a bit where I played that shot and got dropped. I was a bit in disbelief, but it's my job to make sure I capitalise on that now.

"I gave them a chance there and I gave them a chance earlier, going down leg, so I've got to make sure that tomorrow I give away no chances."

Labuschagne reached 2,000 Test runs in just his 34th innings, with only four players – Michael Hussey, Herbert Sutcliffe, George Headley and Don Bradman – achieving the landmark in fewer outings.

But the right-hander was quick to credit his partner for much of the day Warner, who once again fell short with three figures in his sight.

"He [Warner] batted beautifully today, how he went about his innings and his patience," Labuschagne added. "Especially early, I think he went about 20 balls without scoring and then glimpses of the attacking David Warner we know.

"I feel bad for him missing out today but 95, he'd take that at the start of the day."

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