England are staring down the barrel of an Ashes series loss following a second chastening afternoon at Old Trafford that renders them on the verge of defeat heading into the fifth and last day…
Pat Cummins took 2 wickets to leave Australia requiring eight wickets keep the Ashes following a second remarkable knock out of Steve Smith in Old Trafford and to win the fourth Test, writes Sam Drury.
SCORECARD | AS IT HAPPENED
The world Number 1 Test batsman created 82 announced on 186-6 to set a victory target of 383 to Joe Root’s side.
Cummins then eliminated Rory Burns and Spread from the first over as England’s chances of rescuing the game plummeted with all the hosts, in the closing stages of an eventful day in Manchester.
Joe Root bowled first ball to the absolute perfect delivery, by Pat Cummins, nipping away to just clip on the surface of off-stump, projecting in lineup and angling in.
England’s hopes of holding out for a draw to conserve the Exam and choose the string into a decider at The Oval next week surely rested with their skipper but, put into face a tricky half-hour session before stumps, the hosts dropped both top-scorers from the very first innings to consecutive deliveries.
Before cleaning Root up with the following Rory Burns chunk was removed by cummins into a leading edge. He is the world’s # 1 Exam bowler for a motive.
The one which has mastered the series so far: how can you get Steve Smith out? Following five innings, 671 runs, a 134.20 typical, five scores of at least fiftyfive, three of that countless, England are still very much not one the wiser.
Even after an excellent hour and a half with the ball in the back end of the day session, one which saw the hosts temporarily fight their way back into the Exam – reducing Australia to 44-4 in their second innings – Smith nevertheless would not be able to be shifted.
Stuart Broad bowled another fantastic opening spell, although Jofra Archer was back to bowling at blistering pace however, bar the odd play and miss, Smith survived into tea and then rocketed throughout the gears in the night before perishing for 82, holing out in the deep off Jack Leach, in helping set up Australia’s declaration.
David Gower on Root’s dismissal:”Oh, my word, what type of delivery that is! Australia and pat Cummins certainly at their very best. We talk about it often, players talk about it, doing it is talked about by coaches. It is the perfect delivery; goal for the top of off, hit the top off, with only enough movement to beat the bat – that the complete ideal for any bowler, and a body blow to the whole England team”
Nasser Hussain about England’s afternoon fightback:”You find the personality of a negative when they are down, which hour and a half [before tea], England revealed that. They have been done and dustedout of this game, they fought their way in and with only one outcome possible. Jofra Archer and Stuart Broad, in particular, were Great.”
Michael Holding to a legside plan to Smith:”Six guys about the on-side bowling to Smith? You’re only allowed nine fielders and you would have to have a slip and a third person, leaving you just 1 man to patrol the entire area to mid-off, should the line you would be bowling is top of off-stump. He’d better be Usain Bolt to be able to cover that area, but also a marathon runner to get sufficient power. That’s why I say ridiculous.”
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