Australia secured a thrilling 43-run victory over England in the second Ashes Test on Sunday, to take a 2-0 lead in the five-match series. The Aussies came out on top despite a heroic batting display by England skipper Ben Stokes.
Stokes assaulted the Australian bowlers, smashing 155 runs, including nine sixes and nine fours. His explosive innings raised hopes of a repeat of his memorable match-winning performance against Australia at Headingley four years ago. However, despite his valiant efforts, England’s other batters could not deliver in the second Ashes Test.
With England requiring 70 runs for victory, Stokes fell to a delivery from Josh Hazlewood, skying it to wicketkeeper Alex Carey. Earlier, controversy surrounded Bairstow’s dismissal, as he had left his crease before being stumped by Carey. However, soon after, Stokes unleashed three consecutive sixes off Cameron Green’s bowling to reach his Ashes Test century.
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At lunch, Stokes remained unbeaten on 108, with England needing an additional 128 runs to level the series. After the break, Stokes continued his onslaught. He hit Hazlewood for a six and surviving a dropped catch by Steve Smith at deep square leg. Smith let the ball slip out of his hands.
Mitchell Starc returned to the attack, but Stokes took him on for two more maximums. He formed a century partnership for the seventh wicket with Stuart Broad, who only scored 11 runs during the partnership. Broad faced a barrage of short-pitched deliveries but still tried to attack Carey.
Stokes reached 150 off only 197 balls with a shot off Green, but his attempt to clear the ropes once again resulted in a simple catch for Carey.
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Ollie Robinson was caught by Smith off Pat Cummins for one, while Broad’s resilient knock ended when he was caught in the deep by Green off Hazlewood for 11. Josh Tongue and James Anderson added 27 runs, but Hazlewood dismissed Tongue for 19. England ended their innings at 327, handing Australia another win.
Earlier, Ben Duckett played a fine innings of 83, forming a partnership of 132 runs with Stokes, resurrecting England’s chances after they had slumped to 45-4 on Saturday.
Australia remain in control after two exciting Ashes Test matches. England desperately need to win the remaining three games of the series to reclaim the coveted urn. The third Test, scheduled to take place at Headingley, begins on Thursday.