England left with mountain to climb in Adelaide

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England's batsmen struggled again on day four of the second Test in Adelaide, leaving Australia in pole position to take a 2-0 advantage in the Ashes series.

Aussie captain Michael Clarke declared his sides second innings on their overnight score of 132-3, leaving England chasing a mammoth 531 to level the series at 1-1.

Having only managed to put 172 runs on the board in their first innings, England looked unlikely to reach their target, and got off to a dreadful start when captain Alastair Cook was removed for just one run.

As has been the case so often in this series it was Mitchell Johnson who had done the damage, tempting Cook into a reckless hook in his first over which was gleefully caught by Ryan Harris at long leg.

Still needing 530 to win, it seemed England might be better off shutting up shop and looking to bat out the remaining two days to earn an unlikely draw.

Any chance of doing so, however, was reduced when Cook's opening partner, Michael Carberry, lost his wicket for just 14. Having initially looked comfortable and ready to build on his first-innings 60, the Hampshire man was caught on the boundary off the bowling of Peter Siddle leaving his side on 20-2.

Needing a calm head to steady the ship, Kevin Pietersen arrived at the crease to partner the inexperienced Joe Root and finally Andy Flower's men put up some resistance.

The pair made steady progress as Root patiently passed fifty and Pitertersen provided the entertainment, plundering occasional leg-spinner Steven Smith for three sixes as the partnership passed 100.

However, just as England looked to be making progress the aggressive Siddle struck again. The paceman left Pietersen unsure whether to play or leave and before he'd made up his mind he was out- his off bail removed after a slight deflection off his bat.

It was now down to Ian Bell to support Root, and with the latter looking comfortable England would have hoped Bell could match the 72 he scored in the first innings and produce another helpful partnership.

With tea approaching Bell looked to snack on a full toss from Smith, but he bit off more than he could chew and Johnson was on hand to take a diving catch at mid on.

England were now in a precarious position, needing 388 runs to win with four sessions of the Test remaining, they found themselves on 143-4. Australia were well and truly in the ascendancy now.

Next to go was Root, who's brave innings was ended on 87 when he was caught by Brad Haddin having got an inside edge off the bowling of Nathan Lyon.

Clarke and his side were delighted to see the back of Root, and with his dogged resistance out of the way, Australia hoped the end would be near.

Ben Stokes briefly looked like halting the charge, notching up a well-fought 28 off 90 deliveries but eventually succumbed to Ryan Harris and the new ball.

Stokes proved to be the last wicket of the day as Matt Prior and Stuart Broad saw out the rest of the day, seeing off punishing treatment from the ferocious Johnson to leave England on 247-6 at the close of play.

With victory well out of reach, Cook's side will need to hope the tail can wag on for a full days play if they're to secure a dramatic, and somewhat miraculous draw.

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England cricket
Australia cricket
Joe Root
Kevin Pietersen

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