Ben Stokes still hopeful of England fightback in second Ashes Test

England all-rounder Ben Stokes remains bullish about day three of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide, despite a tortuous Friday in the field.

A century from Marnus Labuschagne, 93 from Steve Smith and some late punishment from the tail saw Australia declare on 473 for nine, with England openers Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed removed just before the close of play.

Dawid Malan and captain Joe Root managed to survive the remaining couple of overs before lightning and rain brought the game to an early close with England wobbling on 17-2, a huge 456 runs behind their hosts.

However, Stokes was still in a positive mood at stumps, despite being slapped about for 113 runs from his 25 overs. He claimed a total of three wickets during the innings, following another tough day for both bowlers and fielders.

Perhaps he will be drawing on his Headingley heroics, where England had plumbed the depths of 67 all out before his unforgettable day-four chase, when he finished 135 not out and put on 76 with number 11 Jack Leach. 

A turnaround of similar proportions could be required to prevent England going 2-0 down in the coming days.

"If you don't believe you're already beaten," said the all-rounder, whose words appeared to be aimed as much at fans back home as they were to team-mates in the dressing room.

"We've seen a lot of the support we've been getting on social media from everyone back in England and the guys who have been supporting us here in Australia have been absolutely phenomenal," he said.

"It's incredible wherever we go. You hear them even though they're outnumbered and there are people are staying up through the middle of the night to watch us from afar in the bars and stuff.

"That's incredible to see. Obviously the first Test didn't go well and Australia are ahead at the moment but we know back home we'll be getting as much support as we always do and for us it's about letting them know we really appreciate it."

Just a few months ago Stokes was not expected to be anywhere near this series, but came back from a mental health break to take his place in the touring party.

Asked if it had been a worthwhile decision after six largely punishing days and some long, lean spells in the field he was emphatic.

"Yes. I've loved every minute of it," he said.

"If you don't feel sore getting up in the morning, you've probably not done what's required of you. You've just got to love the dirt when you get that deep in the game and understand what you're playing for.

"It was always going to be a tired end to the day after being in the field for that long but it's always nice to come off, get your bowling boots off and concentrate on batting.

"They wore us down, put overs into our legs and were able to go and put a pretty commanding score on the board.

"It looked a pretty easy wicket to bat on once you got yourself in, so hopefully our batters can go in and do that."

While player safety protocols dictated the game should end when the lightning bolts started appearing a little too close for comfort, Labuschagne was only thinking about forcing home the Australian advantage.

"I saw a big lightning bolt, almost like a big camera flashing, but I was just hoping we could stay on the field so we could get some more wickets," he said.

Australia had already guaranteed another difficult day for Burns, who nicked a fine delivery from Mitchell Starc to take his record on tour to 17 runs in three innings, with a grand total of 31 balls faced.

"Starcy is doing a beautiful job of getting Rory out at the minute, it seems that way," added Labuschagne.

"We all know Starcy has bowled some really good balls at him and we want to make sure we keep driving forward and putting England under pressure."

Latest news