Shaun Marsh ton puts Australia in driving seat in Adelaide as England close on 29-1

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Remained unbeaten on 126: Shaun Marsh.

England lost an early wicket before rain forced play to be abandoned on day two of the second Ashes Test on Sunday after Australia declared their first innings on 442 for eight.

Mitchell Starc struck in the seventh over, trapping Mark Stoneman leg before wicket for 18, to leave the tourists on 29 for one when rain at the Adelaide Oval brought an early finish.

Alastair Cook was on 11 with James Vince yet to score in the first-ever Ashes day-night Test.

Stoneman wasted a review, which only confirmed the umpire’s decision, ending a dire day for the tourists.

Shaun Marsh earlier notched up his fifth Test century as Australia tightened the screws on England, making captain Joe Root pay for sending the home side in to bat.

Marsh scored a watchful and undefeated 126 off 231 balls.

Australia’s score surpassed their previous best in pink-ball Tests, 383 in the first innings of last year’s match against South Africa in Adeleide.

Steve Smith called a halt to Australia’s first innings shortly after the dinner break after Pat Cummins was dismissed for 44.

Marsh went for quick runs ahead of the declaration including a towering six while Nathan Lyon remained 10 not out.

England suffered further indignity just before the dinner break when Cook and Vince collided going for the same catch off Marsh in the gully and the chance off Chris Woakes went begging.

Marsh and Tim Paine both vindicated their contentious Test recalls as Australia took charge.

Marsh, in his eighth recall to the Australian team, backed up his 51 in Brisbane to strengthen Australia’s position.

Wicketkeeper Paine, who received a surprise Ashes recall after being out of the Australia side for seven years, cracked 57 off 102 balls.

Paine, who took a couple of painful blows on his right index finger which he shattered seven years ago, shared in an 85-run stand with Marsh before he was caught on the boundary pulling Craig Overton. 

Paine had eight pins and a metal plate inserted into the fractured finger which caused him to lose his spot in the Test side back in 2010.

England, who lost the first Test in Brisbane by 10 wickets last week, cannot afford to lose in Adelaide, where Australia have won the two day-night Tests against New Zealand and South Africa.

England had several calls go against them on day two. Marsh had an lbw decision on 29 by James Anderson overturned when a review showed the ball would have gone over the stumps.

Anderson was frustrated again, much to the delight of the home crowd, when a review denied him again after Paine on 24 had been given out lbw on the field.

Peter Handscomb only lasted three balls at the start of the day before he was trapped leg before wicket playing back on his overnight score of 36 by a fired-up Stuart Broad, who gave him an animated send-off.

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Afghanistan looking forward to playing in Test matches after ICC Intercontinental Cup win

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Test cricket ahead for Afghanistan.

Afghanistan captain Asghar Stanikzai insists his team is relishing the opportunity of testing themselves in Test cricket after they bid farewell to the four-day format by regaining the ICC Intercontinental Cup on Saturday.

Resuming play on 201-3, the UAE were all out for 331 with Rashid Khan the pick of the bowlers with figures of 5-83. It meant Afghanistan needed 19 runs to prevail and did so with 10 wickets to spare by reaching their target in 5.3 overs with unbeaten knocks from openers Ihansullah (18) and Javed Ahmadi (2) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium.

It was the second time Afghanistan has won this competition but greater tests will now lie await for the team when they showcase their talent against the elite international sides over the five-day format.

Afghanistan Cricket Board are still in discussions on when they will make their Test debut but Stanikzai says his players are ready for the “tough journey” ahead.

“We have a very tough journey to come and that is Tests of course,” said the 30-year-old, who scored a century in the first innings. “Especially when we play against big sides, it will be tough for us. We are getting prepared for that stage.

“The Intercontinental Cup is a good example because we have finished at the top of the standings. Three times we have played the I-Cup, and twice we have won the trophy. The guys are working very hard and in our domestic cricket, we have some very good talent coming through. As a unit, we are getting prepared very well for the Tests, mentally and physically.”

Despite their success in the longer format, which saw them win six of their seven matches in the I-Cup, he warned it will take time to make the transition against stronger opposition.

“It will be a little bit difficult in the first two Test matches that we play but after this, the guys will adjust just like how they have done in other formats. Inshallah, we will perform well and physically we are ready.”

UAE head coach Dougie Brown was impressed with the quality he saw of the champions and has backed them to make a big impact.

“They’ve got a good side, they’ve got a good method,” said the 48-year-old. “They have got a lot of good players and have strength in depth. They got funding and can spend time, money and energy in bringing through strength in depth which they will need when they compete on the world stage.

“They have obviously shown they can beat anybody. They just beat West Indies in a ODI match. Rashid Khan is world class. If he can get the right type of pitch against any opposition, he is going to be a handful. I think they will do really well. I think they will make great strides very quickly when they play Test matches.”

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Smith undone by debutant and other talking points of an enthralling first day at Adelaide

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Steve Smith fell to debutant Craig Overton on the first day.

The first ever day-night Test in Ashes history got underway at the Adelaide Oval on Saturday. Hosts Australia were coming into the game with a 1-0 lead after picking up a 10-wicket victory in the opening Test at the Gabba.

England meanwhile were fighting against history have overturned a 1-0 deficit in any Ashes series Down Under only twice before.

At the end of the day, Steve Smith’s men were well placed at 209-4 with Peter Handscomb and Shaun Marsh at the crease. Here, we look at the key talking points of an eventful first day.

JOE ROOT’S BRAVE CALL

With a first-innings average score of 430 since 2000 at the Adelaide Oval, one would think that batting first would be the normal thing to do after winning the toss.

England skipper Joe Root though, delivered a surprise when he put the Aussies into bat after getting the rub of the green in the toss. Overcast conditions and overnight rain might have played a factor in Root’s decision but only time will tell if it was a brave call or a regrettable one.

ENGLAND COME ALIVE UNDER THE LIGHTS

Despite losing Cameron Bancroft early to a bizarre run-out, Australia had started strong with David Warner and Usman Khawaja getting going nicely.

Australia’s batsmen had clearly been on the front-foot for the first half of the day but England found some joy once the lights came on at the Adelaide Oval.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad were a completely different proposition under the lights. Eventually the pressure told for Australia as they lost Khawaja and Smith in the final session of the day.

ANDERSON GETS CHIRPY

Before the start of the game, England’s leading pace Anderson had compared the hosts’ behavior to that of bullies. Smith had hit back at the 500-wicket man by saying that the Englishman was no angel himself on the field.

Hence it was no surprise that Anderson was a bit chirpier than usual when Smith arrived at the crease. Root inventively stationed Anderson at mid-on right next to the non-striker. There the 35-year-old wasted no time in getting engaged in a war of words with Smith and it had to take umpire Aleem Dar’s intervention to separate the two.

Anderson had some more words at stumps for Handscomb as they departed off the field. You can expect the friction to only increase come day two.

SMITH FALLS TO DEBUTANT

Craig Overton was handed his maiden Test cap as he was brought into the side in place of Jake Ball. The 23-year-old has impressed for Somerset this year and he sure had a debut to remember on Saturday.

The right-arm pacer had bowled excellently throughout the day and had troubled Smith on a couple of occasions. Smith had weathered the storm and was threatening to take the game once away from the Englishmen when Overton got the big breakthrough.

The Australian skipper played on to a harmless length delivery to hand Overton a maiden scalp to remember forever. Getting Australia’s best batsmen as your first Test wicket in an Ashes series to boot is the stuff of dreams for an Englishman.

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