Ashes 2017/18 - second Test

Day five (close)

Australia 442-8d & 138 beat England 227 & 233 by 120 runs

ENGLAND have a mountain to climb if they are to retain the Ashes after falling 2-0 down courtesy of a 120-run defeat in Adelaide.

Resuming on 176-4 in pursuit of a record 354 runs to win, the tourists made the worst possible start when Chris Woakes edged the second ball of the day behind.

The situation got worse shortly afterwards as captain Joe Root, having failed to add to his overnight 67, also fell caught behind off Josh Hazlewood to leave England on 177-6.

Moeen Ali (2) was next to go, which brought Craig Overton to the crease looking to build on his first innings 41 not out.

This time, however, he was on the receiving end of a beauty from Mitchell Starc with the new ball and fell for seven.

The writing was truly on the wall for England thereafter, with Stuart Broad (8) and Jonny Bairstow (36) the final two wickets to fall.

While the result is again disappointing from a team perspective, Overton can be satisfied with his individual performance on debut.

Clean bowling Steve Smith is a memorable way to collect a maiden Test wicket, and the 23-year-old's defiant unbeaten 41 in the first innings showed his all-round ability - as did a superb diving catch in the deep on day four.

With the third Test not until December 14 in Perth, there have been reports that England are set to test the fitness of Durham seamer Mark Wood in the intervening two-day tour match which begins on Saturday.

Wood's extra pace would make him a useful asset, but he does not have many overs under his belt of late and the way Overton has gone about his work this week should ensure his place is not under threat - it would be very harsh to leave him out.

England will have to do something, however, if they are to avoid sliding towards a second consecutive 5-0 whitewash in Australia.

The batsmen are not converting starts, Alastair Cook is out of form and Jonny Bairstow looks wasted batting at seven - a rejig of the order may be required, though personnel changes are perhaps unlikely due to the lack of quality in reserve.

The selection of Mason Crane over Jack Leach as the second spinner in the squad also looks unwise. Moeen Ali, hampered by injury, has been innefective with the ball thus far while Nathan Lyon has shone for Australia.

There is a sense Crane is there for the 'experience' rather than as a viable playing option, which Leach would have been after taking over 116 wickets across the past two Championship seasons.