Australia six wickets away from winning the Adelaide Test and go 2-0 up in the series.
Brief Scores: England 78/3 (Burns 34, Richardson 17/2) and 236 (Malan 80, Root 62, Starc 37/4, Lyon 58/3) need 386 runs to defeat Australia 473/9d (Labuschagne 103, Warner 95, Smith 93, Stokes 113/3) and 230/9d (Head 51, Labuschagne 51, Root 27/2)
Australia were leading by 282 runs yesterday after losing the first wicket in the second innings. Opener Marcus Harris and debutant Michael Neser started batting today morning. However, Neser succumbed in front of veteran pacer James Anderson in the second over of the day. The inswinging delivery bowled by the bowler swung back towards the batter and shattered his stumps. Neser could make only 3 runs in his short innings.
In the next over, Harris poked at an away-swinging delivery bowled by seamer Stuart Broad and ended up giving a catch to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler. The batter returned to the pavilion with a score of 23 runs off 66 deliveries.
Next batter Steven Smith faced a huge appeal for LBW in the same over, but the umpire turned down it, and England lost a review, as the ball was missing the off-stump. The right-hander tried to pull a short ball bowled by Ollie Robinson but the ball touched his gloves and was caught by wicketkeeper Buttler. Smith could make only 6 runs off 31 balls. Three quick wickets put hosts on the backfoot early in the morning.
Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head lead the counter-attack
However, Marnus Labuschagne who has played consistently well in his short Test career, once again rescued the Australian innings along with Travis Head.
Labuschagne took his time before hammering two back-to-back boundaries off Robinson. However, his partner Head looked to play positive cricket from the start of the innings. Both batters continued to smash occasional boundaries and bring up a 100 for their team. The batting pair played till dinner break by recording a partnership of 79 runs.
Australia declares, posting a target of 468 runs for England
After the break, Head hammered another boundary to complete his half-century in just 49 balls. As Head was looking to play strokes on every ball, he pulled a short ball bowled by Robinson towards deep mid-wicket, however, Ben Stokes came from nowhere to take a stunning catch to send him back to the pavilion. His partner Labuschagne completed his fifty in 95 balls.
As Australia played for declaration, Labuschagne also went for a big stroke. He slogged the ball towards mid-wicket and ended up getting caught by Stokes again on the score of 51. After quick wickets of Alex Carey, Mitchell Starc and Jhye Richardson, Australia declared the innings by taking a lead of over 450 runs.
England openers continue poor run
As Australia posted a humongous target of 468 runs, England openers came in the middle with the pressure of avoiding a miserable defeat in back-to-back Ashes games. Haseeb Hameed got caught by wicketkeeper Alex Carey off the bowling of Richardson in only the second over of the game. So England opening pair continued their poor form in this Test series.
England four down, hosts on the verge of 2-0 lead
After the Tea break, one down batter, Dawid Malan edged a delivery bowled by Nathan Lyon, but Steven Smith at first slip dropped the catch. However, Malan couldn’t take advantage of the dropped catch and got out LBW immediately to debutant Michael Neser. Also, second opener Rory Burns tried to stick to the pitch but ended up giving a catch to Smith at first slip. Richardson bagged his second wicket of the innings by sending Burns to the pavilion. Burns made 34 runs off 95 deliveries.
England skipper Joe Root got beaten a few times before getting out in the last over of the day to speedster Mitchell Starc, as Carey took the catch behind the wicket. As the umpires announced stumps, England are on the verge of another disappointing loss in this Test series.
What Lies Ahead?
As England have already lost four key wickets while registering just 82 runs in front of the huge target of 468 runs, a loss for the visitors looks inevitable tomorrow morning. Australia would hope to fold up the England team as early as possible tomorrow morning to take a 2-0 lead in the prestigious Ashes Test series.
Here are some of the top twitter reactions from AUSvsENG Adelaide Test, Day 4: