Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood joined hands to rip out the lower half of the England batting and bowl Australia to a commanding 120-run win in the inaugural Ashes day-night Test on Wednesday (December 6).
England resumed the final afternoon on 176 for 4 after being set a ground-record 354 to square the series, but was immediately rocked as Hazlewood had Joe Root, the captain, and Chris Woakes, the nightwatchman, both caught behind without addition to their respective overnight totals. No team has scored more than 315 in the fourth innings to win a Test at the Adelaide Oval.
Starc, the left-arm quick, then chopped the tail down on his way to figures of 5 for 88 as England was bowled out for 233.
The drama began off the second delivery of the day when Woakes was caught behind for five. The batsman reviewed the decision and while Hot Spot recorded nothing, Snicko detected an edge and the umpire’s decision was upheld.
Root fell in Hazlewood’s next over, getting a big nick, and England’s hopes all but receded with the skipper’s departure. To compound its woes, Nathan Lyon won the battle of the off-spinners for the fourth successive time, trapping Moeen Ali in front on the sweep for two. That left England reeling at 188 for 7 inside the first 45 minutes, with the writing firmly on the wall.
Craig Overton, who made an unbeaten 41 in the first innings, again defied the Australian bowling for 39 minutes before being trapped in front by a Starc in-swinger for seven with the first delivery of the second new ball.
Starc then had Stuart Broad caught behind for eight and finished off the Test just before tea, bowling Jonny Bairstow off the inside-edge for 36.
England could surrender the Ashes next week at the WACA ground in Perth, where it has not won a Test since 1978.
“We always had the faith in the team and the belief,” Steve Smith, the Australia skipper, said. “We thought if we could come out and bowl well this morning, hit our lengths and get one or two wickets, then things can happen quickly.”
Root was understandably disappointed, but still positive as he looked ahead to a come-from-behind series win. ” I don’t think we did ourselves justice,” he said. “We’re still massively in the series. We showed that from the way we played yesterday. That has to be the benchmark how we approach the rest of the series.”