Stokes: We'll battle on
All-rounder Ben Stokes has vowed England will "battle on" as Michael Clarke ensured Australia's domination on day two of the second Test at the Adelaide Oval.
Clarke (148) was especially expert against England's two spinners, attacking Monty Panesar from the outset and taking a liking to Graeme Swann too in his record stand of 200 with Brad Haddin (118).
England dropped each of the sixth-wicket pair early in their innings and were powerless to resist thereafter as more than half of Australia's mighty 570 for nine declared was piled up by batsmen granted an early reprieve by missed chances. They were limited to 35 for one at the close, with captain Alastair Cook the man out to Mitchell Johnson for three.
The tourists will face an arduous task over the last three days to save this match, and therefore head for Perth next week still just 1-0 down with three to play.
"It has been a very tough two days," Stokes admitted.
"But we've got to put that behind us now, focus on what's ahead - which is to battle on."
Stokes was at the centre of one of England's many moments of frustration throughout the day, when it seemed he had broken the partnership between Clarke and Haddin at 111, with the latter caught behind pushing forward. Instead, umpire Marais Erasmus checked for a no-ball which was confirmed by video replay.
Stokes said: "It was pretty frustrating, obviously. But again, I had to put it behind me and make sure when I was at the end of my mark I was focused on what I needed to do from then on."
England's bowlers, he believes, performed admirably in difficult circumstances.
"I think as a unit we stuck at what we needed to do pretty well," he said.
"We had plans, and I thought we stuck to them really well. We needed to build pressure, and although the wickets didn't come very fast, they did come from that pressure we built.
"To get my first wicket was a pretty proud moment.
"I was happy with the way I went about it, backing up Broady (Stuart Broad) and Jimmy (Anderson) - who did a fantastic job.
"We've just got to focus on what we have to do over the next two days - bat long and score as many runs as we can."
No one is getting down on themselves, according to Stokes, despite Michael Carberry dropping Haddin on five on Thursday and Joe Root putting down a tougher chance the same evening with Clarke on 18.
"No one means to do it," he added.
"We're all pretty good at not living in the past, and moving on with things.
"If you make a mistake, you've got to be switched on and hope to take the next chance that comes to you.
"We were on the receiving end of a good partnership, and hope two of our guys can do that over the next two days.
"It's a good batting wicket, and if anyone gets in we hope they can go big - like those two did."
Haddin, meanwhile, believes Clarke is right up there with the best batsmen in the world.
"Since Michael has taken over (as captain), his batting has gone to another level," the Australian wicketkeeper said.
"We know he's such a good player of spin bowling - so quick on his feet.
"Once he gets past 20, he seems to go on and get some really big hundreds.
"His form over the last two years has been as good as anyone in the world."
Stokes described a short altercation with Haddin, after his no-ball disappointment, as "the heat of battle".
Haddin, of course, had more reason to smile about the incident.
"I didn't bowl the no-ball," he said.
"I was on my way off to get a cold drink, and Michael said 'come back'...I had my fair share of luck out there the last couple of days."
England will surely need plenty too, as well as much skill and determination, to escape from here with an unlikely stalemate.
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