Starc in control along with Australia in 2nd Ashes test
Adelaide: Mitchell Starc’s milestone in day-night test matches has left Australia in command of the second Ashes test, with the home side taking a 282-run lead to stumps on day three with nine wickets in hand.
England capitulated from 150-2 to be all out for 236 in reply to Australia’s first-innings total of 473-9 declared.
Australia captain Steve Smith decided against enforcing the follow-on before the home side went to stumps Saturday at 45-1 with David Warner the man run out after a mid-wicket mix-up.
Under-pressure opener Marcus Harris survived both that and a crucial 17-over period under lights to finish unbeaten on 21 along with nightwatchman Michael Neser (2).
Australia remains unbeaten in the eight pink-ball tests it has played, partly because of game management and partly because of skill. A large chunk of that day-night expertise can be attributed to Starc.
No bowler enjoys using the pink ball as much as the left-hander, who claimed 4-37 in the first innings at Adelaide Oval. His record now stands at 50 wickets — 18 ahead of next-best Josh Hazlewood — at an average of 18.10 in day-night tests.
Cameron Green was also influential for Australia on Saturday with 2-24, claiming the key wicket of Joe Root and ending a 138-run stand between the England skipper and Dawid Malan.
Green beat Root twice in the over in the lead-up to catching his edge on 62 before Starc had Malan caught in the slips six overs later for 80.
It continued a poor game for wicketkeeper Buttler, who dropped century-maker Marnus Labuschagne twice, including on 21 before he went on to post 103.
Australia’s Nathan Lyon also had a big influence, taking 3-58 on a pitch where England opted against playing a specialist spinner.
Australia will now likely try to bat through until the twilight session on Sunday before leaving England with the best part of four sessions to save the match.
A loss for England in Adelaide would leave the visitors 2-0 down in the series and needing to win all three remaining tests to regain the Ashes.