The Ashes 2017-18

Aussies opt against follow on in Ashes before struggling to 53-4 after dismissing England for 227

Jimmy Anderson and Chris Woakes strike to swing momentum slightly back towards the tourists after day three

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 December, 2017, 8:07pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 December, 2017, 8:07pm

Australia stumbled to 53-4 at the close of play on the third day of the day-night Ashes test in Adelaide after deciding not to enforce England to follow on, with many questioning skipper Steve Smith’s decision not to send the tourists back in.

England’s Jimmy Anderson and Chris Woakes took two wickets each as Australia lost Cameron Bancroft (4), Usman Khawaja (20), David Warner (14) and captain Smith (6) before stumps. Nightwatchman Nathan Lyon and Peter Handscomb both finished on three not out. Earlier on Monday, Lyon took a stunning return catch and finished with four wickets as Australia dismissed England for 227.

Mitchell Starc also chimed in with two caught-and-bowled dismissals in his haul of 3-49 to help Australia take a 215-run first-innings lead on day three at the Adelaide Oval.

England resumed at 29-1 in reply to Australia’s 442-8 declared and lost four wickets for 99 runs in the first session – skipper Joe Root (9) and Alastair Cook (37) among them.

Lyon struck early in the second session, breaking up the partnership between the last of the recognised batsmen when he dived at full length to his left to catch Moeen Ali’s mistimed drive as England slid to 132-6.

Starc took a reflex catch, on the second grab, to dismiss Jonny Bairstow (21) off his own bowling with the addition of 10 to the England total. The Australian paceman then ended a 66-run eighth-wicket stand by the same mode when Woakes (36) popped up an easy chance just before the dinner break.

Lyon took the last two wickets within four balls – getting Stuart Broad caught behind and Anderson adjudged lbw attempting a sweep shot – to finish with 4-60 from 24.1 overs.

Test newcomer Craig Overton finished unbeaten on 41. England’s troubles started in the second over of the day when James Vince (2) was caught behind off paceman Josh Hazlewood.

Root did not reach double digits before edging an attempted drive to Pat Cummins to third slip with the total at 50.

Cook defended determinedly for 89 balls before prodding forward to Lyon and edging to slip, giving the Australian off-spinner his 50th Ashes wicket.

England had one reprieve when Dawid Malan was given out lbw by umpire Aleem Dar after being hit on the back leg by Starc, but the decision was overturned when a review showed the ball was going over the stumps. Malan added only 13 more runs before being caught behind off Cummins for 19.

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Australia won the series opener by 10 wickets in Brisbane last week and, after being sent in to bat by Root after losing the toss in Adelaide, they were right on top in the second until choosing not to enforce the follow on.

England holds the Ashes after winning at home in 2015 but were swept 5-0 in the last series contested in Australia.