Could Australia regret not enforcing follow on?

Author
Charlie Bristow, AAP,
Publish Date
Tue, 5 Dec 2017, 9:28AM
Steve Smith was dismissed for 6 in Australia's second innings in Perth. (Photo \ Getty Images)
Steve Smith was dismissed for 6 in Australia's second innings in Perth. (Photo \ Getty Images)

Could Australia regret not enforcing follow on?

Author
Charlie Bristow, AAP,
Publish Date
Tue, 5 Dec 2017, 9:28AM

Australia could be made to regret not enforcing the follow on on day three of the day-night Ashes test in Adelaide.

After skittling England for 227, the hosts decided to bat and were reduced to 53 for four at stumps, still with a healthy lead of 268 runs.

Australian paceman Mitchell Starc is in two minds about the decision.

"Pros and cons to both ways. It's purely up to Smithy [Steve Smith], so there was no conversation with the bowlers and that was his choice.

"Nightime's the best time to bowl with with it, but there are two night sessions left in the game so it's by no means a waste of session."

Australia embarrassed England's top order before Jimmy Anderson returned the favour under lights on an eventful third day of the pink-ball Test at Adelaide Oval.

"The night sessions are the toughest time to bat," Starc said.

"England have only done it for about 10 overs and if they want to win this Test they're probably going to have to do it twice.

"We're still very much in the driving seat."

Anderson found his mojo in an 11-over opening spell under lights that cost 16 runs and featured the dismissals of Cameron Bancroft and Usman Khawaja.

England's all-time leading wicket-taker also trapped Smith lbw for a duck, only for the skipper to successfully review Aleem Dar's verdict.

Three overs later, Smith was on six and unsuccessfully reviewed when he was trapped lbw by Chris Woakes.

Lyon will resume alongside Peter Handscomb. The nightwatchman infuriated the tourists with what Woakes called "time wasting" tactics.

Dar intervened when Joe Root, unimpressed with how long it took Lyon to recover from a blow to his thigh in the final over, confronted the unbeaten batsmen and needled them while everybody walked off.

"A bit of time wasting. It's within the rules, if we were in the same position I don't see why we'd try to do anything different," Woakes said.

"I can't blame them."

Starc quipped: "it's never nice being hit by the cricket ball".

Despite a wagging tail and four quick wickets, England have little room for error as they seek to avoid a defeat that would severely loosen their grip on the urn.

Only one team has battled back from 2-0 down to win an Ashes series, Don Bradman's Australia in 1936-37 on home soil.

"We fought back well ... anything is chase-able really. It's a good batting surface," Woakes said.

Root will likely regret his decision to bat first and England's inability to turn the screws when Australia slipped to 5-209 early on day two.

But his top order's tumultuous start to an innings that spanned 76.1 overs will cause even more introspection.

England started day three at 1-29 then crumbled to 7-142 before Craig Overton, on debut and batting at No.9, embarrassed his teammates by finishing top-scorer with 41 not out.

Lyon clutched an astonishing one-handed catch off his own bowling to remove Moeen Ali for the third time in the series, while he also dismissed Anderson, Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad to make it a world-best 55 scalps for the calender year.

Root lasted just 10 deliveries, struggling to hide his disbelief after playing an expansive drive that resulted in a thick edge flying to Bancroft at third slip.

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