Second Ashes Test Match, Adelaide
Australia 570-9 dec & 132-3 dec
England 172 & 247-6
England need 284 runs to win
Diligent, dogged batting from Joe Root and Kevin Pietersen gave England a glimmer of hope of surviving the second Test with a draw, although the loss of both batsmen in the hours before stumps on day four means the task remains a decidedly uphill one.
With Australia surprising some by declaring around ten minutes before play was due to start on Sunday, England were thrust into bat earlier than they expected—knowing that they needed 531 runs to win or, more realistically, needed to bat for as much as 180 overs if they were to secure a draw.
Vague concerns over the weather forecast had helped influence Australia captain Michael Clarke’s decision to declare, and rain might still be needed if England are to avoid slipping 2-0 down in the series after finishing the day 247 for 6.
Root and Pietersen had been instrumental in building that score, compiling 87 and 53 respectively after seeing openers Alastair Cook (1) and Michael Carberry (14) lose their wickets early to wafted hooks down the leg side.
Root and Pietersen, in contrast, showed restraint as they slowly added runs, before their 111-run partnership was finally ended when Pietersen played onto his own wicket off the bowling of the similarly determined Peter Siddle.
Coming in at No. 5, Ian Bell accumulated just six runs before being bamboozled by a rank full toss from Steve Smith, as Root fell soon after finally edging Nathan Lyon through to the wicketkeeper.
Ben Stokes was the last wicket of the day to fall, edging to Clarke off Ryan Harris having made 28 runs off 90 balls, leaving Matt Prior and Stuart Broad to continue England’s stand. The pair duly saw out play until stumps, sitting on 31 and 22 respectively, although some of the "intimidation" they faced in the middle might be just a taste of what is to come on Monday.
Afterwards, Root told the BBC:
Everyone watching and playing knew we were in a battle. But we're not going to lie down - we're going to show some fight and courage.
We have a scrap on. We knew we had to front up and did to a certain extent. We have to do the same tomorrow. If there's a bit of weather about it might help, but we're up against it.
We have to make sure we're out there for as long as possible and make it as hard for Australia as possible.
That's going to have to continue for the rest of the series. We have to make sure that we put big scores on the scoreboard.
|England's 2nd Innings Batting Scorecard|
|A Cook||c Harris b Johnson||1||7|
|M Carberry||c Lyon b Siddle||14||39|
|J Root||c Haddin b Lyon||87||194|
|K Pietersen||b Siddle||53||99|
|I Bell||c Johnson b Smith||6||19|
|B Stokes||c Clarke b Harris||28||90|
|M Prior||not out||31||70|
|S Broad||not out||22||23|