England slips to 65-2, battling to save 2nd testBy AP News Dec 08, 2013 12:00PM UTC
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — Michael Clarke set his counterpart Alastair Cook an almost insurmountable task, and the England captain quickly wilted.
With dark clouds over the Adelaide Oval and rain looming, Australia declared on its overnight 132-3 and took two quick wickets — openers Cook (1) and Michael Carberry (14) — both needlessly hooking short balls — to move within eight wickets of back-to-back test wins in the Ashes.
Set 531 to win, England was 65-2 at lunch on day four. Joe Root was 29 and Kevin Pietersen was unbeaten on 18.
Mitchell Johnson was the early destroyer again when Cook hooked to Ryan Harris behind square to have England in dire straits at 1-1.
At that stage, Johnson had taken eight consecutive England wickets after his 7-40 to skittle the tourists for 172 in the first innings.
Johnson didn’t concede a run in his first three overs as the other English batsmen were extra watchful against him.
At the other end, Carberry clipped a four off his pads and then cut one for four in the seventh over, the fourth from Harris, who had been unrelenting in his line until then.
But unlike his first innings, when he scored 60 and batted patiently while top-order batsmen around him played irresponsible, inexplicable shots, Carberry fell for the trap of trying to hook a short ball from Peter Siddle and was well caught by Nathan Lyon at deep long leg.
Pietersen went to the crease with England at 20-2 and started calmly, playing each ball on its merits rather than trying to impose himself on the innings as he has done so far in the series.
Root, who was out to a sweep in the first innings, played with composure and hit three boundaries in his 65 balls.
England hadn’t expected to bat in the first hour on Sunday, with most predicting Australia would let David Warner reach his century. But Clarke didn’t want to risk a potential result and so Warner remained unbeaten on 83.
England has not scored more than 180 runs in its first three innings of the series, and has never scored more than 400 runs in the fourth innings to win a test match.
No team has scored more than 418 in a winning fourth-innings chase in test cricket.
Australia won the first test by 381 runs in Brisbane and is determined to take a 2-0 lead before heading to Perth for the third test.
Cook’s squad arrived in Australia only three months after wrapping up a 3-0 Ashes win on home soil and chasing a fourth consecutive Ashes series win for England for the first time since the 1800s.