Overton removes Smith; Australia 209-4 at stumps on day 1
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) Craig Overton’s first test wicket was a big one, dismissing Australia captain Steve Smith for the first time in the series and backing England skipper Joe Root’s decision to bowl first in the first day-night test ever in the Ashes.
Smith’s unbeaten 141 in the series-opener in Brisbane last week turned the first test in Australia’s favor, setting up a 10-wicket victory.
But he was out for 40 on Saturday and at stumps on a rain-interrupted day one in the second test, Australia was 209-4 from 81 overs after being sent in to bat. Peter Handscomb was unbeaten on 36 and Shaun Marsh was 20 not out.
Root was the first test captain since 1982 to decide to bowl first in Adelaide after winning the toss. Then, it was England’s Bob Willis, and the visitors lost by eight wickets.
Australia has won both previous day-night tests at the Adelaide Oval – beating New Zealand in 2015 and South Africa last year – but in both tests the Australians batted second after losing the toss.
It was slow going in the rain-reduced first session, with only 33 runs scored without loss in 13 overs. England struck twice in each of the next two sessions to keep the Australians in check.
Chris Woakes had David Warner (47) caught behind to go with his run out of Cameron Bancroft (10) in the middle session, and he almost picked up another wicket but Mark Stoneman couldn’t hold a catch at deep backward square after Usman Khawaja top-edged a pull shot when the Australian No. 3 was on 44.
Khawaja went on to post his ninth test half century and reached the dinner interval at 53, but didn’t add another run before Jimmy Anderson broke through four balls into the night session.
Khawaja chased a swinging ball and was well caught in the gully by James Vince as Australia slipped to 139-3.
Smith seemed to be in control, facing 90 balls and engaging in an ongoing verbal joust with Anderson until he chopped on to his stumps against Overton, who was playing his first test after coming into the England lineup at the expense of Jake Ball, to make the total 161-4.
The banter was flowing in Adelaide, after England accused the Australian captain of disrespecting them in the post-match news conference in Brisbane.
”One went through him a bit quicker – beat him for pace,” Overton explained. Smith ”was saying I was slow, so it was nice to beat him for pace.”
Khawaja said the Australians were in a reasonable position after being sent in, and losing most of a day-time opening session because of rain.
”We’re pretty happy with 4-200 but it’s going to be important how we bat tomorrow,” Khawaja said. ”It was good old-fashioned Ashes cricket, it was entertaining.”
England needed one more breakthrough to get into the lower-order, but was unable to exploit the extra movement of the night-time conditions in front of more than 55,000 spectators in Adelaide.
The England players wore black arm bands in honor of first-class umpire Russell Evans, who died Friday aged 52.