Bairstow - Stokes put up a gritty 128-run partnership for fifth wicket on Day 3 of SCG Test.
Brief Scores: Australia 416 for 8 (Khawaja 137, Smith 67, Broad 101/5) lead England 258 for 7 (Bairstow 103*, Stokes 66, Boland 25/2) by 158 runs at Stumps on Day 3
Australia posted a huge total of 416 runs in front of the dejected England team who are facing one of their biggest slumps after losing three back-to-back Test matches on the tour. England openers managed to remain unbeaten yesterday evening, in front of threatening Australian pacers, however, it looked like England were on the verge of another batting collapse like the previous three Test matches.
England lost four quick wickets
Continuous rain in the morning delayed the start of the game on the third day. After almost two hours, the game started in overcast conditions. Australia opened the bowling with left-arme pacer Mitchell Starc and skipper Pat Cummins in front of out of form England openers. Cummins beat Zak Crawley in his first over of the day only. Also, second opener Haseeb Hameed was dropped by wicketkeeper Alex Carey off Starc.
Later, Hameed got bowled by an incisive nip-backer bowled by Starc when the former was on 6. Hameed looked clueless at the crease and tried a straight drive without any foot movement which led to his downfall. Subsequently, Dawid Malan joined Crawley in the middle. Both pacers continued to bowl outstanding spells to put pressure on the batters.
Scott Boland dislodged the top-order of visitors to reduce them to 36/4
Australia skipper Cummins removed himself from the attack and gave bowling to last Test hero Scott Boland and the bowler proved his captain right by shattering the stumps of Crawley in his second over. Boland drew Crawley forward and beat him with his sharp inswing to knock down the off-stump.
As the England batting line-up was on the verge of another batting collapse, their skipper Joe Root came to bat at four. However, Boland bowled a length delivery to which Root threw his bat and the edge went towards second slip where Steven Smith made no mistake in gobbling up the chance. Root had to return to the pavilion for a precious duck. The flurry of wickets in quick succession tormented the visitors as Malan also got out on just 3 off right-arm pacer Cameron Green.
England were reduced to 36/4 and another humiliating loss was staring in their gloomy faces.
Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes redeemed England with a 128-run partnership
However, things did start to take a consolatory turn for the visitors after the lunch break as Jonny Bairstow and all-rounder Ben stokes tried to build a partnership. Even saving the follow-on seemed to be a far cry but these two aggressive batters went about playing in the best way they know, good positive cricket.
Stokes did survive a bizarre appeal off Cameron Green which was initially given out by umpire Paul Reiffel. He left the delivery alone and the ball went to wicketkeeper Carey after brushing the off-stump but without dislodging the bails. Stokes reviewed the decision and the replay confirmed the turn of events. The umpire had to overturn his decision and Stokes survived.
They started to free their arms and started playing their natural game. Stokes whipped three back-to-back boundaries off Starc to stamp his authority. Both batters helped their side reach the three-figure mark. Also, Bairstow launched spinner Nathan Lyon towards the boundary rope to get two fours in an over. Stokes completed his 25th Test fifty in 70 balls. The batting duo helped their side reach 135 for 4 till Tea break.
Bairstow completed his fifty after the break in 89 deliveries whereas Stokes unleashed his attacking strokes off Lyon to get boundaries. Also, Bairstow joined the party by launching a gigantic six over mid-wicket off the same bowler. The batting duo completed a century partnership when Bairstow took a double off Lyon.
England lost Stokes and Buttler in quick succession
While playing offensively, Stokes got trapped in the spin web of Lyon and missed the line of the ball completely resulting in the ball crashing into the pad. The umpire gave the left-hander out leg before wicket on 66. Next batter, Jos Buttler was also dismissed on duck immediately after the wicket of Stokes as Usman Khawaja grabbed his catch at cover.
England got six down for 173 with only Bairstow holding fort from one end. He continued his carnage by smashing a four and a humongous six off Green. Mark Wood hooked a huge six off Cummins. Both batters helped England to 217 and avoided the follow-on for their side.
Bairstow smashes first century for England on the tour
The batting duo of Bairstow and Wood brought up a 50-run partnership in the meantime. Wood smoked two back-to-back huge sixes off Cummins. At last, Cummins terminated the resistance of Wood as the latter pulled a short ball but it took the top-edge and went into the hands of Lyon at backward point. Wood amassed 39 runs off 41 balls with the help of two boundaries and three sixes.
Bairstow completed his seventh Test century smashing a boundary over the infield off Cummins in the last over of the day. This is the first century for England on this miserable Ashes tour in four Test matches. Also, Bairstow notched up a Test century after a long period of three years as he cracked a Test century last time in 2018 against Sri Lanka.
England reached 258 for 7 due to the phenomenal knock of Bairstow till Stumps on the third day of the Sydney Test.
What Lies Ahead?
England have avoided the follow-on, however, they still trail Australia by 158 runs. So, they would hope to accumulate quick runs tomorrow to decrease the lead of Australia over them whereas the hosts would hope to bundle out the old opponents as early as possible to have enough time to set them a formidable target in the fourth innings
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