Fifth Ashes Test – Day two: England’s batters fail to fire once again


England ended day two of the final Ashes Test cursing another desperate batting display, rolled over for 188 to cede control of the match.

A total of 17 wickets fell as ball dominated in the floodlit clash at Hobart, but it was 10 English wickets through the middle that could prove decisive.

Australia reached the close 152 ahead, with Steve Smith in position to stretch the advantage on day three.

Quote of the day

When Stuart Broad aborted his run up as he approached the crease early in the day’s play, it was not immediately clear what had spooked him.

Mercifully for England it was not another injury, but the sight of a mobile camera hurtling round the boundary edge behind the wicketkeeper’s back.

Broad’s reaction was among the most unexpected utterances heard by a stump microphone and immediately went viral on social media.

Magic number

  • 147 in 50.1 overs (Brisbane)
  • 236 in 84.1 overs (Adelaide)
  • 185 in 65.1 overs (Melbourne)
  • 294 in 79.1 (Sydney)
  • 188 in 47.4 (Hobart)

The biggest problem affecting England has been their repeated inability to set the tone with bat in hand.

In their five first-innings attempts in the series they have routinely failed to put Australia under pressure, meaning they typically spend the second half of games scrambling to save it.

Burns saves his whites but not his wicket

Handed a Test recall after two games on the sidelines, Rory Burns suffered yet another painful day at the office as he was run out for a duck from the non-striker’s end.

There is little doubt that the call from Zak Crawley left him in trouble but former Australia captain Ricky Ponting, who has not missed a single chance to put the boot in to the old enemy, insisted the left-hander should take a share of the blame too having failed to dive when his predicament became clear.

Burns saved himself a laundry bill but may have cost himself another chance.

Robinson in the spotlight

Ollie Robinson has work to do on his fitness.
Ollie Robinson has work to do on his fitness (Jason O’Brien/PA)

There were some hard words from England bowling coach Jon Lewis after Ollie Robinson suffered a back spasm that restricted him to just eight overs on day one.

He has impressed with his skills but concerns over his physical fitness have now been put in the public domain.

The Sussex seamer was conspicuous by his absence in the morning session, demoted to number 11 in the batting order and surrendered new ball duties to Chris Woakes when he did return to the attack in Australia’s second innings.

Robinson has the chance to be a major player for England in the years to come but this has been an unhappy episode that requires a response.