Jan 15 (Reuters) – England’s batting once again crumbled in the face of Australian pace bowling on Saturday and the tourists limped to tea on 124 for six on the second day of the day-night fifth Ashes test, still 179 runs in arrears.
Debutant wicketkeeper Sam Billings, unbeaten on 19, and Chris Woakes, who had been dropped twice in his five not out, will resume under the lights for the final session at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval.
The tourists dismissed Australia for 303 in the opening session but were quickly on the back foot when they came out to bat with Rory Burns run out by a direct hit from Marnus Labuschagne.
Pat Cummins soon removed the other opener, Zak Crawley, and the Australia captain returned after the break to break a 49-run partnership between Dawid Malan and Joe Root that threatened to bring some solidity to the England innings.
Malan departed for 25 when he got a faint edge on a Cummins delivery down the leg side and wicketkeeper Alex Carey did the honours behind the stumps.
England skipper Root had made 34 when Cummins trapped him in front and Ben Stokes quickly followed for four when Nathan Lyon brilliantly caught him out at point.
Scott Boland got into the act by having Ollie Pope caught behind for 14 and the paceman would have removed Woakes for a golden duck with his next delivery had David Warner not spilled a straightforward slip catch.
Woakes got his second “life” off Boland just before the second break when Australia’s slip-fielders got in each other’s way and Usman Khawaja dropped a regulation chance.
England’s hopes of finally securing a victory after three heavy losses and a draw in the series so far were sky high after they reduced Australia to 3-12 early on day one.
They have gradually faded since and Australia’s tailenders once again played their part on Saturday morning, adding 62 runs for the loss of the last four wickets.
Lyon contributed half of that tally with his innings of 31, which included three sixes.
England’s effort was not helped by being a bowler short with Ollie Robinson still suffering from a back spasm that forced him from the field on Friday. (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, Editing by Peter Rutherford)