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By Stephan Shemilt
BBC Sport in Old Trafford
England face a huge battle to conserve the Ashes after Australia took three late wickets on the third evening of the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
Josh Hazlewood eliminated Joe Root Rory Burns and Jason Roy to leave the house side 200-5, still 297 supporting Australia’s 497-8 announced.
After Root and Burns added 141 to the third wicket, England were making continuous progress.
However, Hazlewood backed up a great spell to possess Burns fencing to next slip for 81, then immobilized Root lbw for 71.
England had lost three wickets for 30 runs After Roy’s middle stump has been eliminated.
Jonny Bairstow and ben Stokes were collectively when bad light ended play around 45 minutes early, in order to avoid defeat, with England needing to bat for a lot of Saturday and Sunday.
Should they fail, then Ashes holders Australia will be 2-1 up to perform and assured of retaining the urn.
England are not likely to have the benefit of this rain that postponed play before 13:30 BST on Friday – .
Faced with such a total, England arrived knowing any kind of batting slump in their second or first innings will send the urn down beneath.
For so long, Burns and Root were defiant in the face of a hostile bowling particularly from Cummins and Hazlewood. The ball peppered burns, while Root came from Nathan Lyon via a young examination.
They had been awarded vocal assistance – while Lyon came in for regular taunting after his fumble at the end of England’s thrilling third-Test triumph at Headingley, every run was celebrated.
Australia had to battle the conditions that confronted the bowlers of England for a lot of the first two weeks – not merely the pitch, but also the wind.
That the batsmen were tested by them would be to their credit, and also the tourists deserved Hazlewood’s late victory.
It transferred them a step closer to retaining the Ashes, if the remainder can replicate the fighting qualities of Burns and Root, but England could yet take the competition.
There were only a few signs of frustration as it seemed like their efforts would be wasted, creeping into for the tourists.
Through an electrical 10-over spell from Cummins either side of java, Root edged between slip David Warner and protagonist Tim Paine on 54 and over, Australia squandered a review against the same man on a wishful lbw appeal.
His replacement Hazlewood was incisive whereas Cummins was luckless.
He got one to go across Burns that the left-hander weathered and followed to Steve Smith then captured one to scuttle the Root didn’t bother to review.
The order had moved down and was in no position to play one that reunite, pushing hard around the walk with his feet and with his hands. It left 4-48 to Hazlewood, having eliminated nightwatchman Craig Overton of the day at the second over.
This was Australia’s momentum, it appears probable they’d have done more damage had the light not closed .
When Burns was combined by Root By 23-1 with Overton and immediately adding two to his overnight three, England were under stress.
Burns repelled the speed bowler, Root participated in a battle of wits with Lyon and had his box broken by a blow from Mitchell Starc.
As they warmed to the job, runs were accumulated, Lyon fell short and particularly when Starc was wayward.
Root and burns scored square of the wicket. Root followed up his half-century at Headingley in the next innings, while Burns has nearly 100 runs more than most the other openers at the series combined.
Though Burns’ dismissal triggered the downturn that was late, England were moved to a place from where they ought to get the 98 more runs that they will need to avoid the follow-on.
But by the conclusion of the day, there have been some indicators of this ball beginning to maintain low, adding a further complication to save the game.
England opener Rory Burns on BBC Test Match Special:”It’s not perfect, losing these wickets, however the way we battled through the day, we’re in an adequate position.
“Test cricket is Test cricket and it was challenging occasionally. I discovered a way and that is most likely the technique of my batting.
“It is about partnerships, today. We are in a fight and it’s very clear what we will need to do come tomorrow”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan:”This is Australia’s sport to lose. England have to bat outside lunch, bat to the day session and they are taking overs out of this game that they’ll have to bat on Sunday if they could reach 350. It will be the wonderful escape.”
“This Pat Cummins spell was probably the finest of this series and the fact is, Rory Burns survived that spell. That should give him a enormous quantity of confidence. Each and every person that loves Test cricket would respect what Cummins made for his team today.”
Australia bowler Pat Cummins:”The ball began to zip about and I felt at the match. It was not to be for me personally. It takes wickets at the other end away and makes me happy when Josh comes on. He did say,’I owe you one for that’.
“We are pretty happy being 300 ahead. It was a tough day of Test cricket. To get those 3 wickets late, we feel really at the match.”
Curious and eccentric, Australian Steve Smith is a exceptional cricketer, says BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew.
England shouldn’t be written off but Steve Smith made day 2 of the fourth Evaluation feel as torture, writes Stephan Shemilt.
Was Ben Stokes’ Test at Headingley the England triumph of time?
Analysis and opinion from the cricket correspondent of the BBC.
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