'Holy heck': Cricket world rattled by 'scary' moment in Ashes Test

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
The massive bolt of lightning, pictured here at Adelaide Oval.
The massive bolt of lightning sent the players from the field. Image: Cricket Australia/Getty

The second day's play of the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval came to a dramatic and premature end on Friday when a massive bolt of lightning sent players from the field.

England went to stumps at 2-17 in reply to Australia's 9(dec)-473, needing a fighting effort to avoid going down 2-0 in the five-Test series.

While 2-17 was a disastrous start for the tourists, it could have been even worse had the day's play not been abandoned about 45 minutes early.

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With Dawid Malan on strike and facing Michael Neser, a massive flash of lightning near the Adelaide Oval left players and commentators shaken.

Malan backed away with his arms in the air after the ball went past him, with umpires immediately deciding to take the players from the field.

Replays showed the enormous bolt of lightning striking somewhere close to the Adelaide Oval, vindicating the umpires' decision.

“A big flashing camera it almost looked like,” Marnus Labuschagne said after stumps.

“Neser was a bit spooked by the noise and the thunder.”

Play was officially abandoned for the day not long after, with Saturday's third day to commence at 2.11pm rather than 3pm.

“Lightning is one of those cases where the safety of everyone in the ground really is the consideration, not just the players but also the spectators and the ground staff,” former umpire Simon Taufel told Channel 7.

“When they see a flash of lightning, if there is a clap of thunder within 30 seconds, that suggests to them that the lightning is too close.

"If they feel the threat is such that they need to take the players from the field and look after the safety of everyone in the ground, they’ll do so.

“They’re unlikely to resume play until there is a 30-minute difference between the last flash of lightning or thunderclap. In this case, we will reach that cut-off time before that happens, so they’ve called stumps for the day.”

Australia well on top after day two in Adelaide

Australia's pink-ball expertise has put them in the box seat in Adelaide after Marnus Labuschagne's first Ashes ton put them well on top, along with a classy 93 from Steve Smith and Alex Carey's maiden half-century.

Debutant paceman Neser then claimed his first Test wicket off just his second delivery, while Mitchell Starc also struck after the pair had earlier rammed home Australia's advantage with the bat.

Labuschagne's century was his most watchful, lasting 400 minutes for a score of 103 that included three drops and a dismissal off a no-ball.

Smith was also patient on the opening day, before bursting to life on Friday and narrowly missing out on a 12th Ashes ton when he was lbw to Jimmy Anderson (2-58).

Finally, with the game well in their control, Neser (35) and Starc (39no) piled on 83 runs in 10 overs after tea against a weary attack to set up the declaration.

Aussie players, pictured here celebrating after Michael Neser's first Test wicket.
Aussie players celebrate after Michael Neser's first Test wicket. (Photo by Sarah Reed - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

And Australia's tempo ensured they had it at the right time - under lights and with the new ball seaming during the hardest time to bat.

"Certainly one of the the strategies and tactics is managing the night session and managing the tougher times to bat," Labuschagne said.

"If as a batting group you can get through a day, two, three or four down and you can have the opposition bat in that night session you can do some damage.

"Tonight we only had maybe 10 overs at them and we got two wickets. So it certainly seems to be doing a little bit more at night."

As has been the case in the past, Australia didn't waste their opportunities in the night session.

Starc had Rory Burns caught at second slip for four, pushing at the kind of ball the England opener had watched Australia's bats leave for two days.

Jhye Richardson also had the ball moving, while Neser's first Test scalp came when Haseeb Hameed played in front of his body and pushed a catch to mid-on.

It put Australia even further on top, with the certainty that if England are still batting at twilight on Saturday they will again have a new ball to face.

with AAP

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