Australia claimed a 120-run victory over England in the second Test in Adelaide to take a 2-0 lead in the five-Test Ashes series.
The home side finished strongly on Wednesday’s final day to snuff out the tourists bid to run down a record run chase at Adelaide Oval.
Here are five things we learned from the first-ever Ashes day-night Test match:
Root’s brave toss call backfires
Joe Root raised eyebrows when he became the first England captain to bowl after winning the toss in Adelaide since Bob Willis in 1982-83. Australia went on to declare their first innings at 442 for eight and from there England were always behind the game. Although England battled back on the fourth day to have an outside winning chance, the damage had been done from Root’s call at the toss. “It’s so easy to say in hindsight,” Root said answering the criticism. “If you look at the conditions and the way the ball moved around we were massively in the game. We couldn’t quite take the wickets earlier.”
Marsh justifies his place
Shaun Marsh answered his critics with the only century in the pink ball Test. The experienced left-hander, in his eighth recall to the Australian team, put together his fifth century batting at number six in his 25th Test, an unconquered 126 off 231 balls in his side’s big first innings. He was fittingly named man-of-the-match and now has 196 runs in the series averaging 98 to anchor his place in the Australian batting order.
Smith sleeps on a tough 24 hours
Skipper Steve Smith came in for plenty of criticism for not enforcing the follow-on and sending England back into bat a second time armed with a 215-run innings lead. It almost backfired with Australia bundled out for just 138, presenting England with an unexpected winning chance to chase down a record fourth innings of 345 at Adelaide Oval. They made a good fist of it and needed 178 runs with six wickets heading into the final day before Australia closed it out. Smith was adamant he had made the right call to give his fast bowlers a rest, although he did admit to popping a sleeping pill after a “pretty tough 24 hours” preceding the final day.
Anderson not finished yet
England’s all-time leading Test wicket-taker Jimmy Anderson showed he still has what it takes after claiming his first five-wicket haul in Australia to give England a winning chance. He bowled beautifully in his five for 43 in the second innings to knock over the home side for 138 and switch the momentum. The 35-year-old paceman has now taken 514 wickets in 131 Tests and says he’s bowling as well as ever. “People keep telling me that I am about to finish and retire, so I want to show them that I can keep going,” he declared.
DRS: Decision Reviews ‘Strange’?
Both teams had their issues with the decision review system (DRS) in the Adelaide Test. Steve Smith burned both of Australia’s reviews in the space of three balls in England’s second innings after having earlier missed a chance to overturn a call. Counterpart Joe Root reasoned there was no point complaining about a series of “strange” decision reviews in his side’s loss. “A few where we were out in the middle in the field and we thought that it’s just regulation … out,” Root said. “We are where we are with it and we have to get on with it because it’s there for this series.”