Matches (15)
T20 World Cup (4)
IND v SA [W] (1)
County DIV1 (5)
County DIV2 (4)
SL vs WI [W] (1)
2nd Test (D/N), Adelaide, December 16 - 20, 2021, England tour of Australia
473/9d & 230/9d
(T:468) 236 & 192

Australia won by 275 runs

Player Of The Match
103 & 51

Australia rise above Cummins chaos as Labuschagne, Warner grind England down

England's seamers toil under the lights as pair make 95 each on first day

Alan Gardner
Alan Gardner
David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne shake hands, Australia vs England, 2nd Test, The Ashes, Adelaide, 1st day, December 16, 2021

Getty Images

Australia 2 for 221 (Warner 95, Labuschagne 95*) vs England
Australia marched into a commanding position at the end of day one in Adelaide, the top-order grit of David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne denying England any pink-ball sparkle in their attempts to fight back in the series. The withdrawal of Pat Cummins, after Australia's new captain was forced into isolation by South Australia's Covid-19 regulations, forced a last-minute rejig of the home XI but thereafter proceedings followed a familiar script.
After Warner had fallen just short of three figures for the second innings in succession, Labuschagne walked off unbeaten at the close but still waiting for a maiden Ashes hundred. It was far from his most fluent innings, but England only had themselves to blame for not seeing the back of him earlier - Jos Buttler twice dropping the Australia No. 3, most egregiously when he was on 95 and clinging to his wicket as the pink ball zipped around under the floodlights.
Steven Smith, resuming the Australia captaincy in unexpected circumstances for the first time since his 2018 ban for ball-tampering, won the toss and duly opted to bat. It was hard going at times, but a 172-run stand for the second wicket between Warner and Labuschagne ensured Australia took a position from which, in Smith's words, they could hope to "control the game". England's five-man pace attack asked plenty of questions but ultimately managed as many wickets as catches dropped - one of them, ironically enough, via a superb Buttler take.
England struck early through the returning Stuart Broad, playing his 150th Test, but they were kept at bay during the afternoon and evening as Australia's second-wicket pair resumed a productive association that has now yielded six century stands. Warner seemed set to raise the individual hundred he missed out on in Brisbane, following a watchful innings that blossomed as the sun began to set - only to thrash a Ben Stokes ball to Broad in the covers for 95.
Remarkably, following an unbeaten 335 against Pakistan in 2019 and having not played against India last summer, it was Warner's first Test dismissal at Adelaide since the 2017-18 Ashes.
Labuschagne's innings was as dependably quirky as ever, loud cries of "No ruuuuuuuuuuuun!" punctuating his obdurate stay at the crease. Having moved quickly to 10 from his first nine balls, he was successfully tied down by England, playing out 37 consecutive dots before an attempt to break free saw an angled dab at Ben Stokes fly through the slip cordon at catchable height.
Stokes targeted Labuschagne with a sustained short-ball attack throughout the day, and it should have borne fruit shortly after the dinner break, a gloved pull down the leg side put down by Buttler despite the wicketkeeper getting a full hand to the ball. Labuschagne's efforts to reinforce his bubble brought out some of his famed eccentricities - the decision to duck a bouncer later in the same over bringing an enthusiastic, "Yeah, well played, Marn!"
His thoughts on the hard-handed attempt to punch James Anderson through the covers in the 85th over of the day went unrecorded, but Buttler's error ensured it went unpunished.
Chances were few and far between on an attritional day. Warner took 20 balls to get off the mark, twice surviving ambitious England reviews as he fought to stay afloat after losing his opening partner, Marcus Harris. Australia were 1 for 11 after the first ten overs - their slowest start to a Test innings in the last 20 years - and the session was into the second hour before Warner connected with an attacking stroke, as Chris Woakes was flogged through the covers.
Both he and Labuschagne began to open up as the ball and the England attack lost their hardness, although it was not until the 41st over that Australia's run rate rose above two an over - Warner launching some more short stuff from Stokes over cover and through backward square leg to bring up a 108-ball half-century, his third-slowest in Tests. Labuschagne nearly tickled the pink straight to leg slip when facing Root's offbreaks, before bringing up his own fifty, from 156 balls, shortly before the tea interval.
Having left out Jack Leach - the first time England had not picked a spinner in an Ashes Test since Headingley 2001 - Root filled in capably but the sight of him bowling a leg-stump line as Australia passed 200 two down, at a time when they were supposed to be creating twilit havoc, summed up their day.
With Anderson and Broad back in harness after being left out at the Gabba, England made a disciplined start. Broad's first ball to Warner since dominating the Australia opener during the 2019 Ashes - seven dismissals from 104 balls - brought an optimistic lbw appeal, and Harris was also in the crosshairs, given out lbw in the sixth over only to be saved by a review.
Harris did not last much longer, falling to a superb diving catch from Buttler. Whether Broad intended to pitch the ball quite as short and leg side as he did, England were certainly looking at that mode of dismissal, having stationed Haseeb Hameed at leg gully. Harris duly cuffed a pull off splice and glove and although Hameed wouldn't have got there, Buttler clung on one-handed while in mid-air and fully horizontal.
England knew the importance of trying to remove Warner early, having squandered several chances in Brisbane, and reviewed for a catch in the slips off Broad - the DRS showed the ball beating the inside edge before deflecting straight off the thigh pad. Root burned another review a few overs later, when Woakes struck Warner on the front pad. Third umpire Paul Reiffel deliberated at length over replays trying to discern an inside edge before deciding they were inconclusive, only for ball-tracking to show the delivery had pitched outside leg regardless.

Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick

AskESPNcricinfo Logo
Instant answers to T20 questions
England Innings
<1 / 3>

ICC World Test Championship