Australia in control as England’s batters collapse on day two of the last Ashes Test

A total of 17 wickets fell on an incredible day of Test cricket in Hobart as Australia took control of the fifth and final Ashes test.

After bowling Australia out for 303 runs, England took to the crease early in the day as they looked to set a competitive total. Instead, the tourists imploded and offered a weak-willed reply of just 188.

It was the fifth time they have failed to reach 200 in nine attempts this series, this time taking less than 48 overs to expose their soft centre.

Nevertheless, the bowlers appear to have given England a lifeline after taking three early wickets in the last hour of the match to leave Australia on 37/3.

The hosts are 152 runs ahead going into the third day of the Test. Considering England's lacklustre performances with the bat, Chris Silverwood's men will need another masterful bowling display to stand any chance of victory.

A detailed look at day two

England players are seen waiting on a DRS decision during Day 2 of the Fifth Ashes Test between Australia and England at Blundstone Arena in Hobart, Saturday, January 15, 2022.

The day began with Australia 241 for six and advancing quickly. However, England picked up the last four scalps for 62 before going up to the crease themselves.

Mark Wood was at the centre of the bowling scrap, enjoying mixed rewards from a barrage of 90mph bouncers. His steady stream of short stuff was too much for Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins, who both top-edged pulls to the boundary riders, but he found an unexpected nemesis in Nathan Lyon.

The number 10, not renowned for his ability to tame extreme pace, took up Wood's challenge and proceeded to dump him into the grass bank for three sixes in quick succession. Lyon ended up with an impressive score of 31.

England have faced the worst of the batting conditions on a number of occasions, but with blue skies appearing for the first time in the match, they had no cause for complaint. Instead, they set about producing some self-inflicted wounds.

Scott Boland (left) and Alex Carey (right) of Australia celebrate the wicket of Sam Billings of England during Day 2 of the Fifth Ashes Test between Australia and England at Blundstone Arena in Hobart, Saturday, January 15, 2022.

First up was Rory Burns who looked ripe for the picking in Starc's first over - which culminated in a thin edge that everybody missed - before a dodgy call from Zak Crawley left him scrambling.

A moment's hesitation from both men proved fatal, with Marnus Labuschagne throwing down the stumps from cover and Burns failing to produce the dive that might have spared him a duck.

Crawley had some making up to do but only got as far as 18 before springing Cummins' short-leg trap.

Things improved either side of the interval, with Joe Root and Dawid Malan working through some difficult moments to scratch out a stand of 49.

Root's departure always gives the Australians a buzz and they quickly knocked off their next biggest target. Ben Stokes managed one streaky boundary before standing up tall and carving Starc low to point.

By now England were relying on another recycled batter - Ollie Pope standing in for the injured Jonny Bairstow - and debutant Sam Billings to dig them out of a hole. Pope fared no better than before, caught behind for 14 pushing at the ball, but Billings gave a spirited account having made 24 of 29 runs in boundaries.

Mark Wood of England appeals unsuccessfully for the wicket of Usman Khawaja of Australia during Day 2 of the Fifth Ashes Test between Australia and England at Blundstone Arena in Hobart, Saturday, January 15, 2022.

Woakes nipped past Root to top score with 36, but Australia mopped up Broad and Wood with minimal resistance.

Thrust back into action after minimal rest, England's workhorses got back to business and landed some handy blows.

Broad dismissed David Warner for the 14th time in Test cricket courtesy of a superb diving catch from Ollie Pope at point, condemning his old rival to a pair, before Billings picked up his first two dismissals.

Woakes had Labuschagne strangled off his hips and Wood removed Usman Khawaja with a brute of a ball that left him flailing, but Steve Smith and nightwatcher Boland held on for stumps with a lead of 152 secured.

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