Latest England batting collapse leaves Australia in control of fifth Ashes Test

Manic day in Hobart as 17 wickets fall with hosts finishing with lead of 152 runs

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England suffered an all too familiar batting collapse against Australia on a manic day of Ashes cricket in the Hobart fifth and final Test.

Australia had been bowled out for 303 in their first innings only for Joe Root's tourists to then be skittled out for just 188 on Saturday - home captain Pat Cummins took 4-45 - as no batsman reached their half century and Chris Woakes top scored with 36.

England's bowling attack then hit back late on as Australia - who lead the series 3-0 and have comfortably retained the Ashes - finished their second innings on 37-3, but with a healthy lead of 152 at the end of Day 2.

“I think all results are still possible, absolutely," said debutant Sam Billings, who scored 29 for England. "We have to cut out those bad sessions and take it to a manageable total for us as a batting unit, there’s a huge opportunity to get a result out of this game.

“The first session is going to be huge and will really set the tone for the rest of the match. You’ve got to look at those big moments in each game and really grasp, so we’ll be looking to do that tomorrow.”

Australia had resumed the day on 241-6 and added another 62 runs for their final four wickets, with Nathan Lyon's brisk 31 - which included three successive sixes off Mark Wood - proving particularly frustrating for England until Stuart Broad ended the tail-ender's fun.

England began their innings in some of the best batting conditions of the series but could not shake the bad habits that have dogged them throughout the tour.

It began with a gift of a wicket for the Australians, Rory Burns needlessly run out by Marnus Labuschagne for a duck on his return to the side following a poor call by opening partner Zak Crawley.

The opener had some making up to do and helped himself to three boundaries in a typically assertive start, but it was a cameo when England needed a leading man. Cummins set up the trap and sprang it when an inside edge cannoned into the thigh pad and was snapped up by Travis Head at short-leg for 18.

After a hard-fought 49-run stand, Dawid Malan and captain Joe Root fell in quick succession before Ben Stokes was superbly caught to make it three wickets in 21 balls. Just seven runs had been added to the total in that time, leaving England 85-5.

Malan hit five boundaries before, not for the first time this series, Cummins had him caught down the leg-side flicking off his pads.

Root reached 34 before Cummins got the better of him, jagging one in off the pitch and winning a close lbw call. Stokes, meanwhile, scored his only four runs with a shot that was perilously close to leg slip, was well caught by Lyon trying to force Mitchell Starc through point.

Ollie Pope’s latest inconsequential stay ended on 14 when he nicked Scott Boland pushing indeterminately at one he might have left.

That left wicketkeeper Billings, who has and only joined the camp a few days ago after playing in the Big Bash League for Sydney Thunder, in the spotlight. He made 24 of 29 runs in boundaries but was caught at fine leg looking for more of the same, swinging with too much enthusiasm and too little balance.

Woakes was put down in the cordon on nought and five before nipping past Root to top score, but Australia mopped up Broad and Wood with minimal resistance.

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

England's bowlers then showed a bit of fight. Broad dismissed David Warner for the 14th time in Test cricket courtesy of a superb diving catch from 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.

Updated: January 15, 2022, 5:27 PM
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