There were no winners on day two of the fifth Ashes Test in Hobart, but Australia remains in control of the encounter after a chaotic Saturday that saw a whopping 17 wickets fall.
Neither Australia or England will win any awards for their batting on the day which well and truly belonged to the fast bowlers of both sides.
Nonetheless, England was marginally dealt the bigger humiliation as it was skittled for 188 inside 48 overs, having been 2-78.
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That left England with a first innings deficit of 115 runs heading into a nerve-jangling final hour of play under the Bellerive Oval lights for Australia’s batters.
Like England, Australia found itself in strife with the bat as it lost 2-5 in 3.1 overs.
It was just the second time since 1896 that Australia had lost its first two wickets for less than 10 runs twice in a Test match.
England smelt an opportunity to roll the Australians cheaply to set-up a manageable fourth innings total to chase.
That possibility drew slightly closer to reality just 20 minutes before stumps when a stubborn Usman Khawaja (11) was eventually dismissed, as he failed to get his gloves out of the way of a Mark Wood bouncer.
Khawaja’s dismissal made it 3-33 for Australia.
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When combined with the quick four wickets lost in the day’s first session, when Australia completed a first innings of 303, it mounted to a loss of 7-95 on the day.
Crucially for the hosts, the damage stopped there as Steve Smith and nightwatchman Scott Boland reached stumps without further loss.
Australia will resume batting on Sunday at 3-37 with Smith on 17 and Boland on 3.
Michael Vaughan and Shane Warne don’t believe England is out of the fight at Bellerive Oval and revealed the scenario that would have Australia staring down the barrel of a shock loss.
Speaking after play, Vaughan said England will need to be immaculate in the field and bowl aggresively to create an upset.
“They’ve got to try and get the last seven wickets for 100, and then it’ll be a challenge to chase 250 on this sort of surface,” Vaughan said.
Warne added: “Steve Smith, while he’s still at the crease, Australia will feel like they can pile on the pain and make a big score.
“But I think that’s the case; seven wickets for 100 runs. If that’s what England can do, I think we’ve got a real good game on.”
Earlier, David Warner was dismissed for a pair having been brilliantly caught by Ollie Pope at point.
The man to bowl the delivery was Ashes nemesis Stuart Broad, who has now taken the left-hander’s wicket 14 times in Test cricket.
He was swiftly followed into the sheds by Marnus Labuschagne who strangled a Chris Woakes delivery down legside for five.
Australia came to the crease late after Pat Cummins took 4-45 and Mitchell Starc 3-53 in another massive England collapse.
After the early runout of Rory Burns for a duck, and Zak Crawley’s dismissal to Cummins at short leg, Dawid Malan and Joe Root began to rebuild England’s innings.
The tourists found themselves sitting comfortably at 2-78, but Cummins brought himself back on to bowl — and the rest is history.
The loss of 3-7 followed as Cummins removed Malan (25), and Root (34) inside two overs, while Ben Stokes (4) fell to a Nathan Lyon screamer at backward point to give Starc his first wicket.
From there, England couldn’t stop the bleeding.
Pope, Sam Billings, Chris Woakes and Mark Wood all passed 10 runs, but regular wickets continued to fall at the hands of Australia’s quicks.
The only negative for the Australians was that Woakes was dropped in the slips twice — one each to Warner and Khawaja — off the bowling of Boland, whose 1-33 didn’t tell the full story of his brilliant spell. Meanwhile, Australia also missed two England edges which it failed to review.
England’s pain ended on 188 runs with Woakes (36) and Root (34) the only batters to pass 30 runs.
Earlier, Australia resumed the day on 6-241 and only added 62 runs to its first innings score with Alex Carey (24), Starc (3) and Cummins (2) all gone relatively cheaply.
Lyon helped the Australians save some face by blasting three sixes on his way to 31 off 27 balls.
Play resumes on Sunday from 3pm AEDT.