After gaining advantage at the end of the first day, Australia went on further to torment the England bowlers. Marnus Labuschagne had his fair share of luck on day two as well. By adding five runs to his overnight score of 95, Labuschagne scored his first Ashes century and the third in day/night Tests. Even after reaching his ton, Labuschagne had a breather as he was caught behind off the first ball from Ollie Robinson’s spell on day two but Robinson had overstepped when he was on 102. However, the mistake wasn’t costly as he could add a solitary run before being dismissed by the same bowler.
The previous match centurion Travis Head departed early and Cameron Green added only four runs. A small collapse was steadied by a 91-run partnership between Steve Smith and Alex Carey for the sixth wickets partnership. Smith fell short by seven runs of his 16th ton as a captain and the 28th overall. A blazing innings by the debutant Michael Neser took Australia to a score of 473/9 before declaring the innings. In reply, England are already in trouble as both their openers are back in the hut with just 17 runs on board. Here are a few notable stats from the second day:
Labuschagne’s dream run in day/night Tests
Marching into the second Test, Labuschagne had an average of 81.5 in six innings with two centuries and two half-centuries in day/night Tests. Labuschagne extended his good run in the day/night Test with another century, his third. By virtue of it, he became the first batsman to hit three tons in day/night Tests. The only other batsman with multiple tons in day/night Tests is Asad Shafiq (2). His average now has catapulted to 84.6 in seven innings.
The first innings big scorer
Post being the first ever concussion substitute in the 2019 Ashes back in England, Labuschagne’s numbers in the first innings has been stupendous. In 14 innings, he has scored 1428 runs at an average of 102 with six centuries and five half-centuries. In those 14 innings, his lowest score has been 47 against India in Australia’s previous day/night Test. His 14 innings scores read: 103 (Today), 74, 108, 91, 48, 47, 215, 63, 143, 162, 185, 48, 67 & 74.
Smith also struck by the ‘nervous nineties’
There is a special story written almost every time Smith bats as a captain. In the second Test, at the cusp of another century, Smith was undone by a ball that kept a bit low to the pitch standards. Given out on-field, Smith had to depart as it was an umpire's call on impact. Hence, fell short by seven runs of his 16th ton as a captain. In his Test career as a skipper, this was the first instance of him getting dismissed in the nineties. The last Australian skipper in Ashes to be dismissed in the nineties was Mark Taylor in 1995 at the same venue.
On another note, this was only the second instance in an Ashes Test where two batsmen were dismissed in the nineties. Paul Collingwood (96) and Kevin Pietersen (92) in the fourth innings of the first Test at Gabba in 2006 were involved in the other instance.
Neser sizzles with the bat on debut
On the verge of declaration, Neser on his debut came out to bat all-guns blazing. Starting off at a strike rate of 100 (13 runs off 13 balls), Neser smashed 16 runs in the 147th over of Australia’s innings off the bowling of Chris Woakes. He further scored six runs to take his tally to 35 off 24 balls before being dismissed. His blazing innings of 35 came at a strike rate of 145.8, which is the second fastest for a batsman on debut with minimum 20 runs scored in an innings. Only Tim Southee on his debut against England in 2008 had a better strike rate in this classification (where ball data available).
England bowlers' drudgery
Catch drops, misfields, overthrows and again a dismissal off a no-ball. A repetition of the same mistakes from the first Test saw England suffer even more. England bowlers bowled 150.4 overs in their first innings. All their six bowlers bowled over 20+ overs and four of their bowlers bowled 25+ overs. Mind you this is not the first time they have bowled these many overs in Adelaide. In the last six matches they have played in Adelaide since 2000, only once in 2010 did they bowled less than 130 overs in the first innings.
To add more, this is the seventh time in Tests that six of their bowlers have bowled 20+ overs in an innings. In Ashes, the last time six bowlers bowled 20+ overs in an innings was exactly 101 years back (1920) in Sydney.