Steve Smith felt Mitchell Starc bowled "as well as he has for a long time" after Australia cruised to a 275-run victory over England in the second Ashes Test to take a 2-0 series lead.

The hosts posted a mammoth first-innings declaration total of 473-9 at the Adelaide Oval after Smith had stepped up as stand-in captain, following new Test skipper Pat Cummins coming into close contact with a positive COVID-19 case last Wednesday.

England could only muster 236 in response, despite 80 and 62 from Dawid Malan and captain Joe Root respectively, with Starc taking 4-37 from his 16 overs – only Nathan Lyon went at a lower economy (2.07).

Australia were again able to declare in the second innings, setting England an improbable 468 to win, before tearing through the tourists to leave six wickets required for victory on the final day.

Jos Buttler battled hard during a 207-ball stint but fell in unusual circumstances as he trod on his stumps going back to Starc, before Jhye Richardson fittingly sealed victory to complete his maiden five-wicket Test haul by removing James Anderson.

While Richardson managed a final-innings 5-42, Smith reserved special praise for Starc – who boasted 7-80 after two wickets in the second innings.

"Mitchell Starc bowled as well as he has for a long time, he led this attack well," Smith told reporters at the post-match presentation.

"He summed it up quickly that there wasn't a great deal of swing so he just wanted to bash a good length and hit some good areas - he did that as well as he has in his career.

"He looked in really good rhythm and I'm incredibly proud of the way he went about his business."

Australia have now won each of their last nine pink-ball Test matches, the only side with a perfect 100 per cent winning record, while England are winless in their last four day-night fixtures since last defeating West Indies in August 2017.

Smith, who fell seven short of a century in the first innings, was captaining for the first time since the 2018 ball-tampering scandal in Newlands and enjoyed his return to the helm, while hailing the performance of some England batters.

He added: "We weren't nervous. They showed some good resistance and fight. Jos played extremely well - it was an innings we haven't seen from him before, he's usually a bit of a dasher. He showed good fight, as well as [Chris] Woakes and [Ollie] Robinson.

"We felt there was time left and all it would take was a couple of good balls.

"I had fun this week as captain and did enjoy it. The guys played really well. We were able to control the game from the first day as Marnus [Labuschagne] and Davey [Warner] set it up with their partnership.

"So we were able to declare when we wanted and bowl where we wanted to bowl."

Joe Root says the England bowlers must be "braver" after Australia won the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval by 275 runs to take a 2-0 series lead.

Jos Buttler made 26 from 207 balls before he stepped back onto his own wickets and Chris Woakes top-scored with 44 as the tourists put up an admirable fight on the final day.

However, it was always likely to prove fruitless and they were eventually bowled out for 192 in the final session.

Jhye Richardson (5-42) claimed a maiden five-wicket Test haul on his Ashes debut, showing Australia's strength in depth in their bowling ranks in the absence of Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.

Cummins is set to return to captain Australia for the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne after missing out in Adelaide due to being a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.

England's' shortcomings with the bat have been plain to see, but skipper Root wants to see the bowlers change their approach to give them a chance of getting back into the series.

Asked about England's plans, he said: "I think when you look at ball in hand in particular, I don't think we've bowled the right lengths if we're being brutally honest, we needed to bowl fuller.

"As soon as we did in that second innings, we created so many chances and we made it hard work. We need to do that more, we need to get the ball up there, be a bit braver because when we do we make life difficult.

"That's one of the frustrating things, we did that four years ago and we didn't learn from it – we've made mistakes throughout the game that we made last week, whether it be no-balls, missed chances, we just have to be better. We have to learn those lessons quickly ahead of next week."

England will ponder making changes in Melbourne, with fast bowler Mark Wood expected to return.

Root said during the post-match presentation: "Of course someone like Woody, he's always going to offer something, that extra bit of pace he has and hopefully he'll be raring to go for the rest of the series."

Despite England having a mountain to climb, Root believes they can pull off a remarkable fightback and challenged his fellow batters to step up.

Asked if he believes they are capable of winning the series, he said: "Absolutely, you have to be. I think, I'm convinced we have got what we need to win over here, we just need to be better and we can't keep making the same mistakes.

"Guys need to get themselves in, get past that first 20-ball period and then get greedy.

"We need to leave better on occasions as well and manage certain passages of play better, but we're more than capable of doing that and we've shown it in small pockets that we can we've just got to do it for longer, and as I said, do better."

Jhye Richardson took 5-42 as Australia claimed a 275-run victory over England in the second Ashes Test to take a 2-0 series lead.

Australia headed into day five requiring just six wickets to take a 2-0 series lead, Joe Root's side batting only for a draw, given they needed an improbable 386 runs for victory.

Any chance of England escaping without defeat hinged on the shoulders of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler, after the tourists' captain Joe Root fell to Mitchell Starc (2-43) on the final ball of day four.

Australia flew out of the blocks, Starc removing Ollie Pope – caught at slip by stand-in captain Steve Smith – and Nathan Lyon picking up the crucial wicket of Stokes, who was dismissed for a 77-ball 12.

Buttler and Chris Woakes then lived charmed lives, with the wicketkeeper edging Starc between a motionless Alex Carey and David Warner, while the right-arm all-rounder survived a caught-behind review from Lyon having not scored.

That England partnership lasted 31 overs before Woakes was bowled by Richardson, with Ollie Robinson following soon after as he was caught at slip by Smith off Lyon.

Stuart Broad successfully reviewed a leg before wicket decision to make it into the final session, but Buttler (26) fell in bizarre fashion, stepping on his own stumps after a 207-ball stint at the crease.

Richardson fittingly removed James Anderson, caught in the gully by Cameron Green, as England made it 12 Tests without a win in Australia (D1, L11); their joint-longest run without a victory Down Under (also 12 matches between January 1937 to February 1951).

England head to Melbourne for the Boxing Day Test needing a win to stand a chance of regaining the Ashes, while a draw would ensure Australia retain the urn yet again.

Buttler battles to no avail

Buttler, who before the Ashes insisted he would play with a carefree with "nothing to lose", battled against Australia almost single-handedly on Monday, but even his best efforts were not enough against a relentless Australia.

It was a mixed bag of a Test for the 31-year-old, who took some stunning catches, but also dropped some golden chances behind the stumps.

Contrasting fortunes under the lights

England's rear-guard almost masked multiple selection issues across the Gabba and the Adelaide Oval, but what cannot be denied is Australia's magnificent pink-ball form.

The hosts have won all nine of their day-night Test matches, the most by any side and the only team with a 100 per cent record, while England have lost each of their last four games in the format – last winning against West Indies in August 2017. Richardson was the pick of the bunch for the hosts, sealing his five-for when he dismissed Anderson.

Australia have named an unchanged 15-man squad for the remainder of the Ashes ahead of Test matches in Melbourne, Sydney and Hobart.

Pace pair Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood will re-join the squad after both missed the second Test in Adelaide.

Cummins was ruled out after being a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case, while Hazlewood missed due to a side injury.

The duo will come back into contention to replace Jhye Richardson and Michael Neser who stepped up in their respective absences in Adelaide.

Opening batsman Marcus Harris has been retained in the squad despite managing only 38 runs in four innings during the series. Usman Khawaja remains the back-up batsman in the squad and could still displace Harris.

The Australians will have rest days on Tuesday and Wednesday before assembling in Melbourne on Thursday ahead of the Boxing Day Test from Sunday at the MCG.

Australia leads the series 1-0 and is in a strong position to claim victory on the final day in the second Test in Adelaide on Monday.

Australia Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Steve Smith (vc), Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, Jhye Richardson, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner

Travis Head was delighted to see Joe Root dismissed with the final ball of day four in Adelaide, while Australia's stand-in vice-captain expects Nathan Lyon to dominate day five of the second Ashes Test.

Root's 24 on Sunday may have seen him overtake Alastair Cook (4,844) to become England's top run-scorer as Test captain, but the current skipper had little to celebrate barring yet another personal landmark in a fantastic 2021 for the Yorkshireman.

The tourists started positively, dismissing nightwatchman Michael Neser (3), Marcus Harris (23) and Steve Smith (6) in quickfire fashion to leave the hosts 55-4.

However, Marnus Labuschagne (51) and Head (51) fought back, before Cameron Green (33 not out) and Mitchell Starc (19) guided Australia to their declaration total of 230-9, setting England a mammoth 468 to win.

Rory Burns (34) and Dawid Malan (20) offered some brief resistance after Haseeb Hameed had been removed for a duck by Jhye Richardson, but the pair were soon sent packing to leave Root and Ben Stokes (3 not out) to try and save the day.

Root, though, fell to Starc's final delivery after he had earlier been hit in the groin by the left-arm quick, and Head appreciated what a big wicket the England captain was.

"Root is a huge wicket, he is in fantastic form," Head told reporters after play ended on the penultimate day at the Adelaide Oval with England 82-4.

"I have a lot of sympathy for him – it wasn't a great time to get hit.

"We got told to give him some space [on the pitch]. Starc on that line is never pretty and unfortunately with the day he [Root] has had it wasn't a great time to get hit.

"They've still got some quality players. Nathan Lyon will play a massive part, the ball is turning. It's a big day tomorrow."

England will need what would seemingly be a miracle on Monday, with Stokes – who delivered unlikely heroics at Headingley in 2019 against the same opposition – leading the charge.

England's fast-bowling coach Jon Lewis expressed his support for Stokes, who he believes is the best man for the task ahead, while hailing the valiant efforts of Root.

"Anytime one of your best players [Root] gets out, it's a knock," Lewis told reporters.

"Joe showed a hell of a lot of character to go out. There was no doubt in Joe's mind he was going out to bat and it shows what a great player and brilliant leader he is. 

"Since he got hit he stood up, he could have had a nightwatchman. He wants to show his team how hard he wants to try for the team.

"They will try to survive the day tomorrow to get ourselves out of this game with a draw. It's a big ask I know."

"Ben [Stokes] has done it before, he has done special things in an England shirt."

England captain Joe Root fell to the last ball of day four to leave Australia needing just six wickets to win the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

After some early promise with the ball, the tourists allowed Australia to add another 185 runs to their overnight score of 45-1, before losing four wickets in their chase of 468.

James Anderson bowled nightwatchman Michael Neser (3) in the second over of day, before Marcus Harris was impressively caught behind for 23 off the bowling of Stuart Broad.

Jos Buttler put down a chance to dismiss Steve Smith on the next ball, though made amends with another tremendous left-handed catch to dismiss Australia's stand-in captain, leaving the hosts 55-4.

However, a solid partnership of 89 from Marnus Labuschagne (51) and Travis Head (51) was followed up by contributions from Cameron Green (33 not out) and Mitchell Starc (19), before Smith declared on 230-9, setting England a huge target of 268.

Haseeb Hameed continued the trend of early England wickets falling as he edged Jhye Richardson for a duck, and though Rory Burns (34) and Dawid Malan (20) looked like they might build a good partnership, both fell shortly after reprieves.

Root and Ben Stokes (3 not out) tried to see out the rest of the final session only for the former to edge Starc to Alex Carey on 24 in what proved to be the last ball of the day, leaving England on 82-4 and Australia on the brink of a 2-0 lead in the series.

A sore day for Root down under

It was a painful day for England skipper Root in more ways than one, starting it off the field after being hit in the groin during throwdowns in the warm-up, before being hit in a similar area again by Starc just before being removed by the same man before the close of play.

One slight positive was his knock of 24 ensured that he overtook Sir Alastair Cook (4,844) to become England's top run scorer as Test captain, though it may not seem like something worth celebrating with his team staring down the barrel of another humbling Ashes defeat.

England fail to make second chances count

The tourists have not played well in Australia so far, but have also had their fair share of bad luck with dropped catches and multiple wickets taken off no balls, but they were their own worst enemies on the rare occasions things went their way.

Smith inexplicably dropped Malan on 19 off the bowling of Nathan Lyon, but he added just one more run before being out loge before wicket first ball of the next over to Neser.

Burns was then given out caught behind but successfully reviewed after replays showed the ball clipping his hip and missing the bat, but he too failed to take advantage of the second chance as he added just four more runs before edging Richardson to Smith.

Joe Root has been sent for scans after being struck in the abdomen during England's warm-up prior to day four of the second Ashes Test at Adelaide Oval.

The England skipper did not start the day's play on the field, after the blow not long prior to the scheduled commencement.

Root, who made 62 in the first innings, was hit in the abdomen while facing throwdowns in the nets.

"He is currently being assessed by the England medical team," an England team spokesman said in a statement.

Root did return to the playing field in the first session on day four but appeared sore.

Australia resumed on the fourth day at 45-1, with England taking three wickets in the opening 12 overs without Root on the field, with vice-captain Ben Stokes stepping in as skipper.

Mitchell Starc says he and Nathan Lyon may have also missed the second Ashes Test if they had not snubbed Pat Cummins at an Adelaide restaurant.

Australia captain Cummins was force to sit out the match at Adelaide Oval after the paceman was deemed to be a close contact with a positive coronavirus case at a restaurant.

Fellow fast bowler Starc and spinner Lyon dined at the same establishment, but were considered to be casual contacts with the person who had the virus.

Starc took 4-37 and Lyon claimed 3-58 as England meekly collapsed from 150-2 to 236 on day three in reply to 473-9 declared. Australia then closed in complete command on 45-1 in their second innings - leading by 282 runs.

Left-arm quick Starc revealed it could have been a very different story if Cummins had replied to his text message. 

He said: "It was just fortunate we were sitting outside. It was almost a bit of a p***-take because Pat didn't reply to my message so thought we'd sit away from him and sit outside so it's been a lucky one."

Starc says he did not lose any sleep fretting over whether dining out could have cost him another chance to exploit England's vulnerable batting line-up in a match Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of due to a side strain.

"Spinner [Lyon] didn't sleep. I slept quite fine, there wasn't much I could do about it after," he said.

It was revealed on Saturday that both sides will face stricter protocols for the Melbourne and Sydney Tests due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Players can only follow Starc and Lyon's lead and dine outside, while they must also socially distance with members of the public.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley told SEN radio: "We need to make sure there's social distancing, so we ask everyone to be respectful in the public.

"That's the real shame because what we have seen is players wanting to interact with fans. That's been a feature of the Big Bash. But we've now got very clear protocols.

"As it comes to those on the field of play we need to make sure that people are operating in a really biosecure way."

Mitchell Starc says he and Nathan Lyon may have also missed the second Ashes Test if they had not snubbed Pat Cummins at an Adelaide restaurant.

Australia captain Cummins was force to sit out the match at Adelaide Oval after the paceman was deemed to be a close contact with a positive coronavirus case at a restaurant.

Fellow fast bowler Starc and spinner Lyon dined at the same establishment, but were considered to be casual contacts with the person who had the virus.

Starc took 4-37 and Lyon claimed 3-58 as England meekly collapsed from 150-2 to 236 on day three in reply to 473-9 declared. Australia then closed in complete command on 45-1 in their second innings - leading by 282 runs.

Left-arm quick Starc revealed it could have been a very different story if Cummins had replied to his text message. 

He said: "It was just fortunate we were sitting outside. It was almost a bit of a p***-take because Pat didn't reply to my message so thought we'd sit away from him and sit outside so it's been a lucky one."

Starc says he did not lose any sleep fretting over whether dining out could have cost him another chance to exploit England's vulnerable batting line-up in a match Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of due to a side strain.

"Spinner [Lyon] didn't sleep. I slept quite fine, there wasn't much I could do about it after," he said.

It was revealed on Saturday that both sides will face stricter protocols for the Melbourne and Sydney Tests due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

Players can only follow Starc and Lyon's lead and dine outside, while they must also socially distance with members of the public.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley told SEN radio: "We need to make sure there's social distancing, so we ask everyone to be respectful in the public.

"That's the real shame because what we have seen is players wanting to interact with fans. That's been a feature of the Big Bash. But we've now got very clear protocols.

"As it comes to those on the field of play we need to make sure that people are operating in a really biosecure way."

Dawid Malan admitted it was "disappointing and frustrating" as England endured another batting collapse on day three of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide.

The tourists began Saturday at 17-2 as they desperately tried to chase down Australia’s total of 473-9.

England appeared to be making a decent charge with the partnership of Malan (80) and Joe Root (62) moving them to 150-2.

However, the floodgates opened upon Cameron Green's dismissal of Root, with Malan following soon after, while Ollie Pope went for five and Jos Buttler was out for a duck as the visitors slid to 169-6.

Nathan Lyon (3-58) and Mitchell Starc (4-37) did the damage for Australia, who led by 282 runs at stumps with nine second wickets still standing and are closing in on a 2-0 lead.

 

"After we lost those two wickets last night, the thoughts were just to get a partnership going, which myself and Rooty got," Malan told BT Sport.

"We got ourselves into a half-decent position. But once again, as soon as the Aussies opened the door, they just jumped straight through it.

"It's disappointing and frustrating that we got ourselves back into the fight and then lost a few too many wickets in clusters.

"I think it’s a bit of a trend; it's something we did on the last tour and the last Test here. We get a bit of momentum and a partnership going and as soon as the Aussies take that one wicket, we lose two or three in clusters.

"When we lose that one wicket, we need to make sure we get another partnership going as quickly as possible.

"Luckily, we got that one wicket tonight and, hopefully, we can have a crazy hour or two somewhere [on Sunday]. We need to take wickets, try to put them under as much pressure as we can, and then bat for a very long period."

Malan also praised Root following their impressive partnership, although it ultimately proved academic in the context of the innings.

"He's one of the best batters that has ever played the game," Malan added.

"Every innings, he seems to find another way to score runs, so that's fantastic for me to watch and learn."

The Roger Harper-led West Indies selection panel has been relieved of its duties.

Australia had a 2-0 Ashes series lead in their sights after another batting collapse by England put the hosts firmly on top in Adelaide.

The hosts led by 282 runs at stumps on day three after dismissing the tourists for 236 in 84.1 overs, with Australia electing not to enforce the follow-on and going on to reach 45-1 in their second innings.

Despite impressive contributions from Dawid Malan (80) and Joe Root (62), England's momentum collapsed once captain Root fell. From 150-2, they slid to 169-6, and it was damage limitation from that point.

The visitors had begun the day at 17-2, replying to Australia's 473-9, knowing it would take a huge effort to get close to that total but determined it was not impossible.

Malan and captain Root looked to have England comfortable, steering them to 150 before the skipper fell victim to Cameron Green, edging to Steve Smith at first slip.

Malan followed Root back to the England changing room six overs later after a first wicket of the day for Mitchell Starc, another chance gobbled up by Smith.

The wickets fell fast as Ollie Pope went for just five and Jos Buttler was out for a duck, with spinner Nathan Lyon (3-58) and paceman Starc (4-37) doing the damage.

Ben Stokes, who required 24 balls to get off the mark, was bowled for 34 by Green after looking to up the scoring tempo once Chris Woakes (24) fell by the wayside.

Ollie Robinson (0) soon followed and Stuart Broad went for nine, while James Anderson was five not out as the innings ended painfully.

Though 237 runs to the good, Australia skipper Smith snubbed the follow-on option and told his batsmen to pile on more runs and more English agony.

Marcus Harris was 21 not out while a mix-up saw David Warner run out for 13 before the close of play.

Ben Stokes refused to accept that England are already beaten after another dominant day from Australia in the second Ashes Test.

The hosts, captained by Steve Smith in the absence of Pat Cummins, had ended the opening day on 221-2 and ensured England toiled further on day two as the tourists were stuck in the field for 150 overs overall in Adelaide.

Australia eventually declared on 473-9 on Friday, after Marnus Labuschagne (103) had completed his first Ashes century and Smith had crafted an excellent 93 of his own.

The mammoth total was aided by Alex Carey's 51, while Mitchell Starc (39 not out) and debutant Michael Neser (35) enjoyed lower-order cameos as they bludgeoned Joe Root's bowlers around the park.

England lost openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed in the first seven overs in response, before play was abandoned due to a lightning storm looming over the Adelaide Oval with Root's side 17-2.

But star all-rounder Stokes, who ran himself into the ground for his 3-113 from 25 overs, insisted his side are not already beaten heading into Saturday's third day.

"We know that tomorrow is going to be a good day for batting," Stokes told BBC's Test Match Special.

"Losing two wickets is not ideal, but tomorrow is a new day. We'll park everything, just like we parked the result in Brisbane.

"We don't believe we're beaten already."

Indeed, Stokes made an early comeback to feature in the Ashes touring party, after initially taking a break from cricket to allow his finger injury to heal and to prioritise his mental wellbeing.

While things have not gone to plan so far for the 30-year-old or England, Stokes believes his decision to play has already been justified and is by far worthwhile.

Asked by reporters whether he had enjoyed his return so far, Stokes said: "Yes. I've loved every minute of it.

"If you don't feel sore getting up in the morning, you've probably not done what's required of you. You've just got to love the dirt when you get that deep in the game and understand what you're playing for.

"We've seen a lot of the support we've been getting on social media from everyone back in England, and the guys who have been supporting us here in Australia have been absolutely phenomenal.

"It's incredible wherever we go. You hear them even though they're outnumbered, and there are people who are staying up through the middle of the night to watch us from afar in the bars and stuff.

"That's incredible to see. Obviously, the first Test didn't go well and Australia are ahead at the moment, but we know back home we'll be getting as much support as we always do and for us it's about letting them know we really appreciate it."

West Indies Women head coach Courtney Walsh believes his most difficult task preparing for next year's ICC Women's Cricket World Cup, will be keeping his players focused and ready for the task at hand following the cancellation of the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe.

The players returned home to their respective islands last weekend.

“That’s going to be a big challenge,” Walsh told the Antigua Observer.

“We had a break and didn’t get to play as much cricket as we wanted to play for them to get that exposure, so I don’t want to use the words ‘starting over again’, but it is going to be something similar where we are going to have to restart or reset and see how best we can get things going to have everybody clicking again.”

Following the cancellation of the qualifiers that were to be held between November 21 and December 5, the West Indies Women were forced to spend 11 days in quarantine in Oman.

West Indies Women had won their first match against Ireland Women by six wickets.

The 2022 ICC Women’s World Cup gets underway on March 4, 2022, with West Indies Women facing hosts New Zealand at the Bay Oval in Tauranga.

England's hopes of levelling the Ashes in the second Test appear to be all but over after Australia's stand-in captain Steve Smith declared at 473-9 on Friday.

Australia were sitting pretty at 221-2 at the end of day one in Adelaide and picked up where they left off, with Smith and a wagging tail cashing in as the tourists flagged.

England subsequently went into bat after a mammoth 150 overs in the field, looking exhausted and embarrassed as they begrudgingly attempted to chip away at a surely unassailable total, losing both openers cheaply to reach 17-2 at stumps.

Australia did not have it all their own way, though.

Marnus Labuschagne (103) raised his bat with a boundary early on to seal his first Ashes century, but the wickets did soon fall.

Ollie Robinson trapped Labuschagne lbw before Joe Root (1-72) and Ben Stokes (3-113) sent Travis Head (18) and Cameron Green (2) back to the pavilion. Australia were 303-5 at lunch, giving England reason for optimism.

However, Smith (93) – skippering in the absence of Pat Cummins – kept plugging away until he was eventually halted by James Anderson just short of his century. The same England bowler then took the wicket of Alex Carey (51) in his next over.

Yet the final hour or so of Australia's innings proved brutal as their tail swung into action. Mitchell Starc hit 39 not out from as many balls and Michael Neser reached 35 off 24, giving the hosts a real injection towards the end.

Smith's declaration was timed to minimise the length of England's break after a gruelling fielding session, and the tourists lost Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed in the first seven overs.

Play was abandoned due to a looming electrical storm, the rain presumably a welcome arrival for Joe Root's men.

Robinson makes Australia work

While the second Test has largely been tricky for England thus far, Robinson certainly showed some class with the ball as he recorded figures of 1-45, somewhat miserly compared to the rest of the England attack.

Every other England bowler afforded Australia more runs despite only Anderson presiding over more than Robinson's 27 overs, with Chris Woakes and Stokes each conceding over 100 runs.

Smith tides the hosts over

After the excellent early work of David Warner (95) and Labuschagne on Thursday, things could have fallen apart on day two, but Smith ensured the boat was not rocked.

His 93 off 201 deliveries was steady and patient, precisely what Australia needed. While Head and Green did not have quite the same impact, Smith's showing at least allowed the likes of Carey, Starc and Neser to go into bat with a little less pressure, and they certainly made the most of that.

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