Lethal opening spells by Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins destroyed England’s top order but Ben Stokes-Ben Duckett formed a resilient half-century stand to give the hosts some hope to chase a stiff target of 371 runs set by Australia in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s on Saturday.
At the end of the fourth day’s play, England were 114/4, with Duckett (50*) and Stokes (29*) unbeaten at the crease. England started their chase of 371 runs in the final session.
Australia was off to a start to remember as pacer Mitchell Starc dismissed Zak Crawley (3) and Ollie Pope (3) in less than five overs. England were 13/2.
Ben Duckett and Joe Root attempted to rebuild the innings. However, Pat Cummins cut their rebuilding efforts as Root gloved the ball to David Warner in slips for 18, continuing his disappointing run in the Test. England was 41/3. In the same over, Cummins clean-bowled the danger man Harry Brook for just four runs.
England sunk to 45/4 and needed a long partnership to get back into the game. They touched the 50-run mark in 15.3 overs.
Stokes-Duckett continued to stitch a partnership to bring back England’s innings in order. The duo brought up their 50-run partnership in 69 balls with a mix of strike rotation and some calculated aggression. England reached the 100-run mark in 25.1 overs.
Duckett reached his fifty in 62 balls which consisted of six fours. This was his seventh fifty in Test cricket.
Starc took the catch as Duckett struck but it was deemed not out by the third umpire as the catch was not clean.
The duo took England through the remainder of the session without any loss of wicket.
Fiery bowling spells from Josh Tongue, Stuart Broad, and Ollie Robinson helped England bundle out Australia for 279 in their second innings with the visitors setting the hosts a target of 371.
England pacers came roaring back with quick wickets to keep alive hopes of the hosts squaring the five-match series.
Australia started the second session at 222/4, with Cameron Green (15*) and Alex Carey (10*) unbeaten. They led by 313 runs.
In the 88th over, Ollie Robinson got the wicket of Cameron Green, courtesy of a brilliant catch by Ben Duckett. Cameroon Green made 18 runs off 66 balls with three hits to the fence. Australia was 239/6 at that point.
Ollie Robinson struck again in the 90th over, getting the wicket of wicketkeeper-batsman Alex Carey. Joe Root took an outstanding catch to send Carey back for 21 runs off 72 balls. His innings was studded with three boundaries. Australia was 242/7 at the fall of Carey’s wicket.
Australia reached the 250-run mark in the 91st over.
Soon after, Stuart Broad took the wicket of Pat Cummins, with Ben Duckett accepting a regulation offering from the Aussie skipper. Pat Cummins scored 11 runs off 29 balls, hitting two boundaries. Australia was 261/8 at the fall of Cummins.
In the 97th over, Ben Stokes took the wicket of Josh Hazelwood. The speedster, who is known to hang around with the bat, fell for 1 off just 3 balls, reducing Australia to 264/9.
Stuart Broad took the last wicket of Nathan Lyon, who hobbled to the crease and batted on one leg after sustaining a calf injury. He scored 4 off 13 balls, with one boundary. Australia was bundled out for 279 runs.
Probing spells by pacers Josh Tongue and Stuart Broad helped England push back Australia by delivering some crucial blows, but the advantage was still with the visitors as they went into Lunch leading by over 300 runs on Day 4 of the second Ashes Test at Lord’s on Saturday.
At the end of session one, Australia was at 222/4, with Cameron Green (15*) and Alex Carey (10*) unbeaten. They lead by 313 runs.
Australia started the first session of Day 4 at 130/2, with Usman Khawaja (58*) and Steve Smith (6*) unbeaten.
In a statement of intent, Smith started the proceedings by flicking Ollie Robinson to the fence on the very first ball of the day.
In the 51st over, Smith upped the ante by smashing James Anderson for three boundaries.
Australia brought up the 150-run mark in 50.5 overs.
With Smith going great guns at one end, Khawaja relied mainly on strike rotation and his solid defence while also smashing two boundaries in the opening session.
Smith-Khawaja brought up their 50-run stand in the 58th over.
Broad struck gold for England as Khawaja hit a mistimed pull to Matthew Potts, on the field as a substitute, at fine leg. Khawaja scored 77 in 187 balls, consisting of 12 fours. Australia was 187/3 at that point and the 64-run stand between Smith-Khawaja was over.
Smith was dismissed in the next over by Josh Tongue as Smith hit a mistimed shot that went straight into the hands of Zak Crawley at fine leg. England got their big fish Smith for 34, his knock consisted of five fours. Australia was 190/4.
Broad infused more life into the match, getting the important wicket of Travis Head for just 7. Joe Root pouched him safely at short-leg, reducing Australia to 197/5.
With a boundary of the bat of Alex Carey, Australia reached the 200-run mark in 69 overs.
A boundary by Cameron Green took Australia’s lead beyond 300 runs. Carey-Green ended the first session without any further loss.
Brief Scores: England: 325 and 114/4 (Ben Duckett 50*, Ben Stokes 29, Mitchell Starc 2/40) trail Australia: 416 and 222/5 (Usman Khawaja 77, Steve Smith 34, Josh Tongue 2/43) by 257 runs.