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Australia set England record target to win 2nd Ashes test

ADELAIDE, Australia

Australia have set England a record target of 468 runs to win the second Ashes test in Adelaide after declaring its second innings at 9-230 during the middle session on day four.

First-innings centurion Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head top-scored, making 51 apiece, with Cameron Green adding an unbeaten 33 as Australia sought quick runs in the evening session.

England will need to create history to win with the highest successful fourth-innings test run chase being the West Indies’ 7-418 against Australia in 2003. The highest successful fourth-innings chase in Adelaide is Australia’s 6-315 to beat England in 1901/02.

Earlier Sunday, England’s bowlers took three early wickets to stall Australia’s push for victory, despite an injury in the warm-up for captain Joe Root which prevented the English captain from taking the field for the start of play.

Resuming Sunday at 45-1, Australia lost opener Marcus Harris, Steve Smith and nightwatchman Michael Neser early, before a rally by Labuschagne and Head guided Australia to 134-4 at the break, with a lead of 371 runs.

Before play, England skipper Root was hit in the lower abdomen while batting in the nets and was taken to hospital for further assessment. Fortunately, Root was cleared of any serious injury and returned to the field later in the session.

Allrounder Ben Stokes stood in as captain for Root as the tourists found their line and length early to make inroads into Australia’s batting line up.

In the space of three balls Neser was bowled by James Anderson for three, before Harris was caught spectacularly by Jos Buttler diving to his left off Stuart Broad for 23.

Buttler, who has had mixed fortunes with the gloves here in Adelaide, then dropped Smith from Broad’s next ball. The following delivery Broad thought he had trapped Australia’s star batsman lbw, but the third umpire review upheld a close on-field decision of not out.

Smith’s reprieve was short-lived, with Ollie Robinson having the stand-in captain caught down the leg side by Buttler for six reducing the hosts to 55-4.

After dinner, Head and Labuschagne fell playing big shots immediately after scoring their half-centuries, while Root (2-27) returned with his off spinners to dismiss Alex Carey (six) and Mitchell Starc (19).

Jhye Richardson (eight) was caught by Buttler trying to heave Dawid Malan (2-33) into the stands prompting Smith to make his second declaration of the match.

Australia lead the five-match series 1-0.

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