ADELAIDE – Joe Root and Dawid Malan built a 128-run stand to survive the opening session on day three of the second Ashes Test on Saturday and give England hope of salvaging the day-night clash.
By dinner they were 140 for two, 333 behind Australia with Root unbeaten on 57 and Malan 68 not out on a cooler Adelaide day than the sweltering temperatures the England bowlers were forced to toil through on Friday.
They resumed at 17 for two after losing openers Rory Burns (four) and Haseeb Hameed (six) to a fiery 40-minute pink ball spell from Mitchell Starc, Michael Neser and Jhye Richardson under lights on Friday evening.
England's fate could have been worse, but wild weather forced them from the field early.
Skipper Root strode out with five to his name alongside Malan on one after Australia declared at 473 for nine, with the pair looking to emulate their 162-run partnership in the opening Test at Brisbane.
They had perfect batting conditions on a flat pitch and Root settled quickly, slamming a well-timed drive down the ground for four off Richardson to boost his confidence.
Starc was hit for 11 off his first over and the pair quickly brought up their 50 partnership off 71 balls, with little movement for the bowlers and only half a run-out chance for their efforts.
Spin king Nathan Lyon came on 40 minutes into the day and immediately caused problems, with Marnus Labuschagne dropping a difficult chance at silly mid-off when Malan was on 33.
He then tempted Root into a sweep that fell just short of the fielder in the deep.
Malan brought up his ninth Test 50 with a single off debutant Neser then survived a huge appeal for lbw the next ball, which a review showed was going high. He has only once gone on to make a century.
Root has never made 100 in Australia in any format, but got half-way there by bringing up his 52nd Test 50, tickling Richardson to the boundary with a thick edge.
England crashed by nine wickets in the first Test at Brisbane and if they go 2-0 down in Adelaide the Ashes are as good as gone, needing to win all three remaining Tests.