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Fifth Ashes Test, Hobart (day two of five)
Australia 303 (Head 101, Green 74) & 37-3
England 188 (Cummins 4-45)
Australia lead by 152 runs

England’s batting again crumpled before Australia lost late wickets on the second day of the fifth Ashes Test in Hobart.

Australia closed on 37-3 in their second innings, a lead of 152, at the end of a frenetic day when 17 wickets fell.

England had earlier been bundled out in their first innings for 188 in response to Australia’s 303.

In an awful start typical of England’s miserable tour, Rory Burns was run out for a duck in the second over.

Chris Woakes top-scored with 36 and Joe Root made 34 as a number of England batsmen failed to capitalise after getting in. Captain Pat Cummins led an excellent Australia bowling display by taking 4-45.

Needing to strike early to keep their slim hopes alive, England removed David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne to leave Australia 5-2, with Usman Khawaja then falling to Mark Wood.

Steve Smith was taken to the close by brave nightwatchman Scott Boland and despite the torrid time they were given under the floodlights, Australia are in a strong position for the victory that would see them end the series as 4-0 winners.

England are not completely out of the contest, but it would take a remarkable performance on the third day for them to end a 14-match, 11-year winless streak in Ashes Tests down under.

Weary England risk ending with a whimper

For all of the optimism England might have taken from escaping the fourth Test with a draw, this has been a timid, end-of-term performance from a team who look as if they cannot wait for the series to be over.

Australia were allowed to escape from 12-3 on Friday then, in more favourable batting conditions on Saturday, England collapsed once more in a blur of self-inflicted dismissals.

Until they took late wickets under the lights, the most fight shown by the tourists came when Stuart Broad yelled across the ground early in the day to admonish a robotic camera.

This latest collapse was the fifth time in nine innings in the series that England failed to manage 200, while they have never reached 300.

Given the seam movement offered by the grassy pitch, it is debatable as to what extent Australia’s first-innings total is above-par and how far short England have fallen.

And, even though Australia’s lead seems modest, they might not need many more runs on Saturday to give England too many to chase.

More to follow.

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