England captain Joe Root’s unbeaten 67 has left Australia facing a nervy final day of the second Ashes Test, admits the home side’s bowling coach David Saker.
Root led his team to a second-innings score of 176-4 on Tuesday, keeping them in contention to complete a remarkable comeback in Adelaide and chase down a record target of 354 to level the series at 1-1.
England bowled Australia out for 138 in the morning as paceman James Anderson (5-43) took his first five-wicket haul Down Under, while Chris Woakes (4-36) and Craig Overton (1-11) supported with four and one respectively.
England were still faced with what would be their highest fourth-innings chase in Test history yet Root, who developed a strong partnership with Dawid Malan before the batsman was bowled out on 29 by Pat Cummins just before the close, put the heat back on Australia with 67 off 114 balls.
"We've got a hell of a game haven't we?," said Australia bowling coach Saker.
"It's turned quite quickly but we're still in the ascendancy. Joe's innings was special but if we go bang-bang in the morning we're well on top.
"Malan was a huge wicket for the team. Pat Cummins really deserves it. He's been the best fast bowler in this game. A really good reward for us, but for him in particular. Tomorrow he'll be a really important player for us.
"Tomorrow will be very nervy from where I'm sitting. It's easier to be a player in those situations. It's set up for a fantastic game of cricket."
Root’s successful lbw review after being given out on 32 contrasted with Australia captain Steve Smith who botched both his reviews for no return and failed to take a second look at a Hazlewood lbw shout against Alastair Cook that would have seen the England opener depart for one.
Earlier in the day Smith had seen his middle and lower order fail to reverse the Baggy Green’s poor start to the second innings. Mitchell Starc finished as joint-top scorer with Usman Khawaja on 20, with both players taken by Anderson.
"It is great," said Anderson of his first five-wicket innings in Australia.
"I might not have done it without the pink ball so I have quite a lot to thank that for. I have had some success [in Australia] on certain tours and struggled on others at times so it is nice to finally get that five-wicket haul in conditions that are not suited to my bowling.”