It was another eventful day under lights with the pink ball as Joe Root’s men were bundled out for 227 runs after resuming from their overnight score of 29-1. The hosts were 53-4 when stumps were called on day three.
We look at the good and bad performances for an extremely crucial day in context of the five-match series.
NATHAN LYON-LED AUSTRALIAN BOWLING ATTACK TOPPLES ENGLAND
Australia’s first innings total of 442-8d showed that there were plenty of runs available on the wicket for the batsmen who can dig it out. England’s batsmen were not allowed the same luxury however as the hosts’ bowling attack showed why they were so feared before the start of the series.
All four of the Australian bowlers chipped in with vital contributions on the third day but it was spinner Nathan Lyon who shone the brightest with a four-wicket haul. The off-spinner got the important scalps of Alastair Cook and Moeen Ali with some nice flight and dip before removing the last England pair of Stuart Broad and James Anderson in the final session. The 30-year-old finished with figures of 4-60 to help Australia to a massive 215 first-innings lead.
JAMES ANDERSON AND CHRIS WOAKES LEADS FIGHTBACK UNDER LIGHTS
Chris Woakes had earlier led a mini England fight-back along with Craig Overton, making a well made 36 runs. The all-rounder then led another comeback with pink-ball in hand in the final session at the Adelaide Oval with two quick wickets including the massive scalp of Australia skipper Steve Smith.
England’s late charge was spearheaded by James Anderson who removed opener Cameron Bancroft with a perfect out-swinger before trapping Usman Khawaja plumb in front of the wickets.
Woakes then sent back the dangerous David Warner whose outside edge was taken sharply by Root at second-slip before perhaps his most important contribution of the night.
Smith had been reprieved once already after his review overturned the decision to adjudge him leg-before-wicket against Anderson but another review against Woakes could not save him from getting dismissed in the same mode.
JAMES VINCE AND JOE ROOT FALL TO NEEDLESS STROKES
England needed a massive day with the bat to keep their hopes alive in Adelaide and there was no doubt that the Aussies were going to come in hard at them on day three.
However, the way the visitors lost their first two wickets on the day will rile the English team management.
In only his fourth ball of the day, Vince went for a stroke he could well have done without to perish to Hazlewood. The right-hander tried to put away a rising back-of-the-length delivery but could only feather an edge to Tim Paine behind the stumps.
The way the skipper fell next was perhaps the most frustrating for the visitors. Root went hard at a full delivery from Cummins but sliced his effort to Bancroft at third slip to depart for only nine runs.
ENGLAND’S BATTING WOES BITE THEM HARD
The fall of Root, the cornerstone of England’s batting, set the tone for the day as the Aussie bowlers assumed the ascendancy. What was disappointing for the visitors was that no batsmen got stuck in at the crease to go big.
There were numerous starts in the innings but the fact that debutant Overton top-scored for England coming in at number nine tells you all you need to know about their batting performance on the day.
Cook failed to kick-on after getting to 37 while the likes of Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow were also guilty of throwing away good starts.
If not for the eighth-wicket stand between Woakes and Overton, England’s batting card would have looked shambolic.
Australia wrestled with a seaming pink ball under the lights to build a 268-run lead with six wickets in hand over England in an engrossing second Ashes Test in Adelaide on Monday.
In testing batting conditions the Australians struggled against the moving ball in the final twilight session as England roared back after trailing by 215 runs in the first innings.
On a fast-moving third day, England were dismissed for 227 but the Australians found it difficult to score against the hooping ball under the lights.
At the close, Australia were 53 for four with Peter Handscomb on three and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon not out three.
The Australians lost the wickets of Cameron Bancroft (4) and Usman Khawaja (20) to James Anderson and a restrained David Warner (14) to Chris Woakes in the final session.
Skipper Steve Smith survived a desperately close leg before wicket review before he had scored off Anderson but was not so lucky when he missed out in another tight lbw review to Woakes for six.
Holders England were fighting to stay in the Test as Australia chased a potentially decisive 2-0 lead in the five-Test series after winning last week’s Brisbane opener by 10 wickets.
Lyon and Mitchell Starc brought off spectacular catches as Australia had England under pressure in the first two sessions Monday.
Off-spinner Lyon pulled off a blinding one-handed catch to dismiss Moeen Ali off his own bowling in the second over after the first break.
Moeen chipped to the left of Lyon, who flung himself across the pitch in a split second reaction to take the catch.
Lyon, nicknamed GOAT (Greatest Of All Time), again produced a sublime example of cricketing skill following his laser throw to run out James Vince in the first Brisbane Test.
Moeen had scored 25 off 57 balls in a 30-run stand with Jonny Bairstow.
Five overs later Bairstow was on his way for 21 after Starc juggled the return catch and finally accepted it behind his back.
Stuart Broad and Anderson were dismissed shortly after the dinner break both off Lyon to end the England innings.
Lyon finished with four for 60 and took over from South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada (54) as the leading wicket-taker in the world this year with 55, while paceman Mitchell Starc claimed three for 49.
Woakes and Craig Overton dug in to put on 66 for the eighth wicket before Woakes fell to a short-pitched Starc delivery spooning a catch back to the bowler for 36. Overton remained unbeaten on 41.
Australia grabbed four wickets in the first session, including key batsmen Joe Root and Alastair Cook.
Root shaped to drive Pat Cummins only to send a thick edge to Cameron Bancroft at third slip for just nine.
Root, third in the Test batting rankings, only faced 10 balls while Cook, England’s other big hope, was deceived by Lyon’s flight and edged to Steve Smith at slip for 37 off 90 balls.
The former captain, who plundered 766 runs when England won in Australia seven years ago, has scores of two, seven and 37 in his three innings in the current series.
Vince went in the day’s second over to a poor shot, edging Josh Hazlewood outside off-stump to wicketkeeper Tim Paine for two.
Dawid Malan was the other wicket to fall off an inside edge caught behind to Cummins for 19.
Sri Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal remained unbeaten on 147 before bad light brought play to a slightly premature halt with the visitors 356-9 in reply to India’s first innings total of 536 runs.
Here, we look at the key talking points of the third day at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium.
SENIOR DUO ANGELO MATHEWS AND DINESH CHANDIMAL MAKE MARK
Amidst all the recent failures of the islanders, the need for the senior players to step up had been spoken about constantly within the team and management. With the rapid injunction of fresh faces in the past year or so, experienced players have perhaps not done enough to help smoothen the transition from the retirements of Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardane and Muttiah Muralitharan.
On Monday, Angelo Mathews and skipper Dinesh Chandimal stood up in the face of tremendous pressure to register their eighth and tenth Test tons respectively. Both had to play extremely patient innings as India’s bowlers constantly troubled them but they dug in to put together a 181-run stand to put the visitors in a position of relative safety.
INDIA’S SLIP CATCHING WOES LET THEM DOWN
While Mathews and Chandimal will take the plaudits for the day for their valiant centuries, they were certainly given a massive helping hand along the way in the form of some shambolic slip fielding by the hosts.
Mathews, who crossed the three-figure mark for the first time in over two years, was given three lifelines before getting to the landmark. He was dropped at second slip twice with India skipper Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay being guilty of putting down sitters. There was no improvement on day three when Rohit Sharma failed to grab a straightforward chance from Mathews in the second slip.
What was perhaps more baffling was the reluctance to use perhaps India’s most accomplished slip fielder in his favoured position as he was placed instead at gully. India’s pacers did well to make to create chances on a flat surface but they were let down by the catching in worrying signs for India before the tour of South Africa.
RAVICHANDRAN ASHWIN NOTORIOUSLY UNDERUTILISED
India’s leading spinner and 300-wicket man Ashwin was bafflingly underused by Kohli on both day and day three until the second session. The off-spinner was given only five overs in the first session of day three despite creating a leg-before wicket chance. Ashwin was not allowed to settle down into a rhythm as he deprived of a chance to bowl more than five overs on the trot.
That he provided the vital breakthrough just before tea after the marathon stand between Sri Lanka’s veteran makes the decision to under-bowl him initially even more surprising. Perhaps Kohli’s eyes were already on South Africa as he looked to give his pacers more of the ball but surely Ashwin could have been given a far greater role in Delhi.
DELHI PITCH SHARES LITTLE COMPARISONS WITH SOUTH AFRICA
Before the start of the series, Kohli had spoken about using the Sri Lanka series to prepare for the South African tour in the absence of enough warm-up games. The talk had been about using green tops in the three Tests to help mirror conditions in South Africa.
Sure enough the pitch at Kolkata for the first Test was a fast bowler’s delight but the subsequent pitches at Nagpur and now Delhi have been more or the less what one can usually expect from a subcontinent track.
Big scores and four tons have already come from the first three days as batsmen continue to dominate on a pitch not assisting the pacers in a way India would have liked. With the South Africa series starting almost immediately after the limited-overs series against the islander, surely there is a danger of India being massively under-cooked for the tough tour.