Ashes 2019: England lose late wickets as Australia close in on Ashes

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By Stephan Shemilt
BBC Sport at Old Trafford
England’s hopes of rescuing the Ashes faded with the loss of just two late wickets in the fourth day of the fourth Test against Australia.
Faced with the possibility of having to bat for 30 minutes on Saturday day and the other 98 overs on Sunday, the home side saw Rory Burns and Joe Root leave to successive Pat Cummins deliveries.
In the third ball of their innings, Burns got a leading edge to mid-off, while Root was bowled by an excellent delivery which trimmed the off bail.
Somehow, Joe Denly and Jason Roy obtained through the next six overs as England closed on 18-2.
England had a revival evidenced by runs out of Steve Smith.
After the tourists were reduced together with all Jofra Archer tearing in and Stuart Broad, their guide was 240, only to add 82 into his first-innings 211.
It enabled Australia place England 383 bat out the remainder of the match, to win , more realistically and to declare on 186-6.
Should they fail, holders Australia will soon be 2-1 up with one Test remaining and ensured of carrying the urn down for the very first time since 2001.
England haven’t batted through the last day of an Exam to earn a draw for at least six years, but the pitch remains placid, even if there has been the occasional sign of reduced bounce.
Somehow, Saturday in Old Trafford crammed in nearly all the themes from the Ashes series: laps slumps, lovely new-ball bowling, Stuart Broad ignoring David Warner, the home crowd taunting the Australians and, of course, Smith scoring runs.
The life appeared to have been sucked from the contest if England were bowled out for 301, giving up a first-innings deficit of 196.
However, it was ignited from the burst out of Broad and Archer which had England thinking, Australia rocking along with the celebration stand – using its own Teletubbies, umpires and Chelsea pensioners – whipped into a fervour.
Even the indomitable Smith seemed rattled. If he could be removed by England , the door actually would have been receptive, however he played in against the shift bowling moved Australia from sight.
Yet, nothing can top the drama of Cummins’ magnificent first over, one that stunned England and abandoned clinging grimly to the hopes of regaining the Ashes.
Hope stays. If England can somehow conquer the relentless Australia attack and generate a heroic rearguard about the final afternoon, it would write another chapter in this intriguing string and set up a grandstand finale in The Oval.
Broad has turned Warner and was magnificent throughout the series. Here, it required six balls Broad to pin down the left-hander lbw for his third consecutive duck, the first time he’s dismissed him eight innings.
England were bowling a fuller length than from the first innings. Broad trapped Marcus Harris leg before and the enhanced Archer, his rate above 90mph, made Marcus Labuschagne the third lbw of this innings before uprooting Travis Head’s middle stump.
It electrified bowling together with Smith also troubled by Broad in particular.
However, Craig Overton and also Jack Leach could not continue the anxiety and Smith took back control with Matthew Wade within a rack of 105.
Since Smith passed 50, you will find times when he seemed to be poking fun at England, enjoying with incredible strokes to hit the ball where he pleased.
Just in the drive for the declaration did he attic Leach into Australia and long-off called time.
By 200-5 overnight, get close to Australia’s first-innings 497-8 as you can and the mission of England would be to bat as long.
When the new ball was taken by Mitchell Starc, the plan was derailed. While one was poked by Ben Stokes to second slip, an inswinger plus a push at the ball led to the familiar sight of Jonny Bairstow being sporadically.
Jos Buttler entertained for his 41 as well as with the help of Leach, hauled before he was bowled taking a swipe at Cummins England a follow-on that Australia would not have enforced.
That would prove to be the first of three wickets in the space of five Cummins deliveries, stretched over two England innings, although it wasn’t known at the time.
In the fading light, Burns finally got a ball from his leg stump into mid-off fielder Head, afterward Root’s defensive stroke has been beaten for his third duck and second first-baller of the set.
Roy admirably came through some minutes to get to the close pushed the hat-trick ball and, like Denly.
Both men may be playing for their Evaluation futures on Sunday. They will bat to the Ashes.
Former England captain Michael Vaughan on BBC Test Match Special:”Smith revealed today he will play any innings. He can up his pace. He is a wizard.
“It was a wonder in Headingley and it will take a miracle (for England) to survive the draw here. To face that attack on this pitch now for 98 overs it’ll take an unbelievable innings – a Michael Atherton-style innings from all of those years ago back in Johannesburg.”
England coach Trevor Bayliss on TMS:”Whatever is possible. We found that at the last Test match.
“We talked about the past week about who will put their hand up and be recalled. We are upbeat about what we may be able to perform. We bat well, save the match and enjoy a beer afterwards.
“We had a chat. Everybody is psyched to go out and function as one or two men who go out and score a hundred.”
Australia bowler Pat Cummins on Sky Sports:”Not one of us anticipated the innings Smithy went outside with – that was unbelievable. We would have been happy to have though but Smithy was unbelievable.
“I’m feeling OK. One large final drive tomorrow then a few days break prior to The Oval.”
Former Australia bowler Glenn McGrath on TMS:”Australia might have been a little shaky at 44-4 but Steve Smith comes out and rights that the boat just a bit.
“Both early wickets make a enormous difference. England need to demonstrate some fight if they are not going to drop this match .”
Analysis and view by the BBC’s cricket correspondent.

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