ASHES rivals England and Australia were forced to take refuge as lightning flashed around the Adelaide Oval on day two of the second Test.
England batsmen Joe Root and David Malan joined Australia’s fielders in fleeing the middle as the umpires called off proceedings.
TV cameras captured footage of barbed lightning hitting the nearby Adelaide cathedral in the day/night clash.
And fans joked online that the Greek god Zeus had come to England’s rescue after the tourists were left behind 17/2 – 456 runs.
Australian broadcaster ABC Sport wrote on Twitter: “England has been saved from further pain by Zeus, as lightning strikes possibly stopped play for the evening.
“And they thought (Michelle) Stark’s thunderbolts were scary!”
Fan Michael Monaghan wrote: “Just celebrating the 1st Test wicket of Zeus (Michael) Neser.”
And Martin Johnson said: “Lightning hitting a cathedral forces cricket to stop. Proof God is a fan of England.”
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England severely left the field at 17/2, declaring Australia on 473/9.
Rory Burns continued his tour of utter despair when he was dismissed on the third ball on another day of misery for the visitors.
Surrey opener Burns was once again deceived by his quirky technique and at second slip, Mitchell Starc hit the ball straight into the hands of Steve Smith.
Burns’ score in this series now reads 0 (thrown on the first ball of the first Test, remember), 13 and 4.
He also dropped a sitter off catch in the first Test and bowled four overs with a wild shame at the stumps on the second day of the second Test.
Unless he scores some runs in England’s second innings, Burns could certainly go in favor of Kent’s Zak Crowley for the third Test in Melbourne on Boxing Day.
Haseeb Hameed then hit debutant seamer Michael Neser’s second ball in Test cricket straight into the hands of mid-on. Talk about soft dismissal.
England will face a formidable challenge to avoid going down 2-0.
Mistakes on the field continued for Root’s men as Australia extended their total to 221-2 overnight.
Marnus Labuschagne was caught on the first ball of the second day off Ollie Robinson, but replays showed the bowler had overstepped.
England took the second wicket in the series with a no-ball after Ben Stokes’ David Warner bowling was exempted in the first Test.
Another dropped catch was when Labuschagne threw a hook shot at square leg to Stuart Broad in front of Robinson. It was not easy, but there was only one chance.
England faltered and faltered in the ground and Burns’ wild throw conceded four more runs.
With errors in the toss, selection, batting, bowling and fielding, it is hard to imagine how much England have done right on this tour so far.
England’s bowling was not particularly bad while running for the second day. But he lacked penetration and variety on a slow pitch. And they probably lacked luck too.
Labuschagne, 95 not out at the start of the game, reached his century with a four-run lead off Jimmy Anderson and survived his no-ball out and the third drop of his innings before finally being lbw to Robinson.
Root full toss was bowled to Travis Head, who scored a quick run-a-ball century in Brisbane. Cameron Green was bowled for just two runs as Stokes returned from his short ball mode and pitched the ball for once.
Australia were at 294-5, but Steve Smith and Alex Carey’s 91-run stand for the sixth wicket crushed any hopes of being able to drag England into contention again.
Smith, captaining Australia in the absence of Pat Cummins, was forced to miss a match on Wednesday after sitting next to someone at a restaurant who tested positive for Covid, before Anderson was lbw. 93 made.
It was almost a failure by Smith’s standards of the last two Ashes series.
Anderson took his second wicket when wicketkeeper Alex Carey caught it at short extra cover after a fluent half-century.
But still the pain of the England bowlers did not end as Neser and Starc shared a 58-run partnership for the eighth wicket.
Starc and Jhye Richardson added 25 more before the announcement came. England finished with eight fielders on the boundary and were still hit for fours and sixes. After tea, Australia scored 83 runs in ten overs.
This is getting embarrassing.