Friday 15 December 2017 / 03:30 PM

ASHES WRAP: ENGLAND FIGHT BACK AS SMITH IGNORES FOLLOW-ON

Australia remain in a commanding position after three days of the day-night Test in Adelaide, but Steve Smith’s curious decision not to enforce the follow-on was compounded by several late strikes by the England bowling attack.

Resuming on 1/29 in reply to Australia’s 8/442 declared, England lost wickets at regular intervals to slump to 227 all out.

But the tourists were saved from total humiliation by lower-order digs from Chris Woakes (36) and debutant Craig Overton (41 not out), who combined for a 66-run eighth-wicket stand – the only partnership that exceeded 30 runs.

Under-pressure opener Alastair Cook (37) was the only other English batsman to make more than 25.

Nathan Lyon finished with 4/60 – including the highlight of the day, a screaming catch off his only bowling to remove Moeen Ali (25). Meanwhile, Mitchell Starc’s 3/49 featured two stellar caught-and-bowled efforts.

Leading by 215 runs, Smith decided against making England’s batsmen go around again, but the move appeared to back-fire with Australia stumbling to 4/53 at stumps.

Cameron Bancroft (4) fell in just the third over, before Usman Khawaja (20), David Warner (14) and Smith (6) all departed in the space of 28 balls during the last nine overs of the night session as Woakes and James Anderson notched two wickets apiece.

Peter Handscomb (3*) and nightwatchman Lyon (3*) will resume on Tuesday afternoon with Australia leading by 268. But a middle-order collapse could open the door for England with two days still left to play.

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Will Evans

CBS’s Editor-in-Chief and lead rugby league, union and cricket writer, Will is a Christchurch-based freelancer, also writing for Big League and Rugby League Review magazines, and The New Daily website. Will has written four rugby league books.

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