Pink ball carnage in Adelaide

England may be running out of fit fast bowlers but the ones still bowling have shown they can be dangerous in Australian conditions as the tourists closed in on victory against the Cricket Australia XI.

Chasing 268 to win, the CA XI were 7-70 at stumps after the eighth-wicket partnership of Matt Short and Gurinder Sandhu ensured the match went into a fourth day despite England taking the extra half hour officials had offered them.

Yet while England's bowlers had a night out, Friday wasn't easy going for their batsmen, and next month's historic day-night Test at the venue won't go anywhere near the distance if this day's play was anything to go by. The moving pink ball proved a weapon of mass destruction, after most of the day's cricket was played under lights, which were turned on earlier than usual due to overcast conditions.

England had advanced to 1-93 in their second innings shortly after tea before losing 6-31 as medium-pacer Simon Milenko (5-34) and former Australian one-day international bowler Sandhu (2-47) used the favourable conditions to their advantage.

But a 70-run partnership between Jonny Bairstow and Mason Crane stemmed the bleeding. Wicketkeeper Bairstow finished 61 not out, with England's innings ending on 207 at the fall of the ninth wicket because of the absence of injured fast bowler Jake Ball.

The CA XI crumbled even more spectacularly, with seamer Chris Woakes removing the top four batsmen to be the chief destroyer. Craig Overton and James Anderson got in on the act, too, and when the CA XI slumped to 7-25, the record for the lowest first-class score at Adelaide Oval - Western Australia's 41 against South Australia in 1989-90 - appeared in danger.

Not that things are perfect for England with the first Test less than a fortnight away.

Former captain Alastair Cook was again scratchy, while his successor Joe Root was again removed cheaply.

Having begun day three on one, with England 0-5, Cook crawled to 32 before nicking a ball from Milenko to be caught behind by captain Tim Paine not long after tea.

Cook, England's most-capped Test player and run-scorer, faced 85 balls in his innings, considerably more than he'd faced in his Perth duck last weekend, or his 15 in the first innings in Adelaide.

There has been no similar problem for Cook's opening partner Mark Stoneman, who passed 50 for the third time on tour, heading to tea unbeaten on 51. He didn't add to that total, though, his innings ending as he chopped one on from left-arm quick Jackson Coleman just after the interval, triggering the collapse. Root was next, trapped lbw by Sandhu on one. Root, who made 58 in the first innings, had contentiously been dismissed for nine in the match in Perth, but there appeared to be no arguments about this decision.

Stoneman's form should be a silver lining for England given the revolving door of men who have opened with Cook since the retirement of Andrew Strauss in 2012.

Speaking after play, Short said the pink ball made life harder for batsmen.

"I think once the lights come on and the sun goes down there's always a bit more in the wicket. Maybe a bit of moisture comes out of it," Short said.

"There's a bit more zip for the bowlers.'

Despite his team being headed for defeat, Short was confident Australia were well-placed ahead of the Test series.

"I think the Aussies in the Test matches will get up on them," he said.

"I think we've found out a couple of their batsmen, and a few of the senior [Australian] coaches were watching as well.

"We had our plans with them today and I'm sure the 1s [the Test side] will do the same and I'm pretty sure they'll be all right."

England's James Anderson hinted however that the pink ball impact was overplayed.

"We've seen the batsmen struggle a little bit around the twilight period when the light starts to drop and the floodlights have taken effect. It's not much more movement from a swing point of view. Potentially it seams a little bit more as the dew comes down but it's not a lot of difference to be honest," he said.


ENGLAND: 1st innings 293


N Larkin lbw Woakes 6
J Carder
c Anderson b Overton 24
R Gibson
c Malan b Ball 4
W Pucovski
b Crane 4
T Paine
lbw Anderson 52
J Sangha
c Malan b Woakes 3
M Short
c Bairstow b Anderson 45
S Milenko
lbw Crane 50
G Sandhu
lbw Crane 18
D Fallins
not out 15
J Coleman
not out 4
Sundries (1b, 6lb, 1nb) 8

TOTAL (for nine wickets, declared) 233

FALL: 21 (Larkin), 32 (Gibson), 41 (Carder), 47 (Pucovski), 57 (Sangha), 143 (Short), 160 (Paine), 214 (Milenko), 217 (Sandhu).
BOWLING: J Anderson 16-7-30-2, C Woakes 14-0-48-2, J Ball 3.4-2-5-1, C Overton 15-6-40-1, J Root 4.2-1-11-0, M Crane 21-2-78-3 (1nb), J Vince 2-0-14-0.
OVERS: 76.

ENGLAND: 2nd innings

A Cook c Paine b Milenko 32
M Stoneman
b Coleman 51
J Vince
lbw Sandhu 29
J Root
lbw Sandhu 1
D Malan
c Paine b Milenko 5
J Bairstow
not out 61
C Woakes
c Paine b Milenko 2
C Overton
lbw Milenko 0
M Crane
c Milenko b Fallins 18
J Anderson
c Pucovski b Milenko 0
J Ball (absent hurt) 0
Sundries (8lb) 8

TOTAL (for nine wickets) 207

FALL: 79 (Cook), 93 (Stoneman), 94 (Root), 121 (Malan), 121 (Vince), 124 (Woakes), 124 (Overton), 194 (Crane), 207 (Anderson).
BOWLING: J Coleman 14-3-55-1, G Sandhu 19-5-47-2, M Short 5-0-13-0, S Milenko 16.4-3-34-5, D Fallins 13-1-50-1.
OVERS: 67.4.


N Larkin c Bairstow b Woakes 2
J Carder b Woakes 0
R Gibson c Bairstow b Woakes 9
W Pucovski c Vince b Woakes 1
T Paine b Overton 5
J Sangha c Root b Overton 5
M Short not out 28
S Milenko c Bairstow b Anderson 1
G Sandhu not out 17
Sundries (2lb) 2

TOTAL (for seven wickets) 70

FALL: 0 (Carder), 3 (Larkin), 7 (Pucovski), 14 (Paine), 18 (Gibson), 24 (Sangha), 25 (Milenko).
BOWLING: J Anderson 7-2-12-1, C Woakes 10-4-17-4, C Overton 7-3-10-2, M Crane 6-0-27-0, J Root 3-1-2-0.
OVERS: 33.


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This story Pink ball carnage in Adelaide first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.