It is the hope that gets you. England went into the last day of what has been a compelling second Test daring to dream they could make history by reaching their highest chase to win any Test. Sadly, those dreams soon evaporated.
It took Australia just short of the first session to take the last six English wickets for 51 of the 178 they needed on the final day to hurry to a 120-run victory that gives them what will surely be an Ashes-winning 2-0 lead with three to play.
England were made to rue their dismal performance on the first two and a half days as their stirring comeback was made to count for nothing by an Australian attack that proved their pedigree with pace and spin.
Mitchell Starc (centre) took five wickets as England were beaten by 120 runs in the second Ashes Test in Adelaide
The left-armer took the wickets of Craig Overton, Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad on the final day to blow England away
The result leaves the tourists trailing 2-0 in the series and one defeat away from surrendering the urn to Australia
Now England will head west to lick their wounds in Perth, with a two-day warm-up game preceding the third Test, knowing that they have squandered what looked like their best chance to win a Test in Australia.
The last day got off to the worst possible start for England when nightwatchman Chris Woakes, a batsman good enough to make his Test debut at No6 four years ago, fell to only Josh Hazlewood’s second ball of the day.
Woakes perhaps got the faintest of edges to Hazlewood as nothing showed up on HotSpot after Aleem Dar’s late decision to give him out but Snicko detected something and Dar probably got the call right.
And all the hope that England went into the last day with all but evaporated when Joe Root fell in Hazlewood’s second over of the day without adding to his overnight 67.
It was an excellent piece of bowling from Hazlewood to take Root’s edge with one that kept a little low but the brutal truth was that the England captain had once again fallen between 50 and a hundred.
Nathan Lyon celebrates the wicket of Moeen Ali, one of three scalps the home side picked up within the first hour on day five
The England all-rounder was trapped in front by the off-spinner for two to leave the tourists 188 for seven in Adelaide
Joe Root, who resumed on 67 not out on Wednesday, failed to add to his overnight total before he was caught by Tim Paine
That habit means Root is stopping short of becoming the great batsman that he has the ability to be and certainly he has to turn his starts into big centuries if England are going to get anything out of this series.
England still had two batsmen in Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow perfectly capable of scoring centuries but the increasingly influential figure of Nathan Lyon cut short his fellow off-spinner’s stay at the crease.
Moeen, who never looked entirely comfortable, aimed a slog sweep at Lyon and was hit on the pads by the man who is now the leading wicket-taker in all Test cricket in 2017. It was a tight decision but Aleem Dar was backed up by technology that adjudged him to be out on umpire’s call.
Craig Overton again showed some guts and gumption on what has been a commendable Test debut and was dropped by Cameron Bancroft on five off the hugely impressive Pat Cummins, who also hit Overton on the chest.
Josh Hazlewood took two wickets within the first three overs of the final day to put Australia on the brink of Test victory
The seamer had Chris Woakes (above) caught behind off the second ball of the day before dismissing Root shortly after
Root had batted well on day four and was the key to England’s chances but he edged behind to the delight of Hazlewood
But with the very first ball with the second new ball Overton’s defiance came to an end as Mitchell Starc swung one into his pads to have him palpably lbw. At least England know they made the right call to bring in Overton for Jake Ball and he looks certain to keep his place for the third Test in Perth even if Mark Wood, as expected, is added to England’s squad.
Another full ball proved too much for Stuart Broad, who edged Starc to Tim Paine, and it was all over when Bairstow, who at least had played well for his 36, was bowled by Starc to spark joyous Australian celebrations. England 233 all out and very much down.
So crushing disappointment on the final afternoon for England in this inaugural men’s day-night Ashes Test but they know this game was lost at a far earlier stage. Now the big question is whether they can half the Australian bandwagon and get something out of this series. For the Ashes are surely gone.