England holds out to clinch a draw with Australia in the fourth Test at SCG
Brief Scores: England 294 (Bairstow 113, Stokes 66, Boland 36/4) and 270 for 9 (Crawley 77, Stokes 60, Boland 30/3) drew with Australia 416 for 8 (Khawaja 137, Smith 67, Broad 101/5) and 265/6d (Khawaja 101*, Green 74, Leach 84/4)
Australia put a huge target of 388 runs in front of England which looked unattainable for any Test team as no team has ever chased a target above 300 successfully at Sydney Cricket Ground in Test cricket. England made 30 runs without losing any wicket at the end of the fourth day.
England Lost Haseeb Hameed early in the morning
Australia skipper Pat Cummins and seamer Scott Baland opened the bowling for the home side on a sunny morning. The pacers bowled an intimidating spell upfront to put batters in trouble. Haseeb Hameed poked at a delivery bowled by Cummins but a difficult catch was dropped by wicketkeeper Alex Carey.
However, the other opener Zak Crawley batted positively like yesterday. He pummelled two boundaries off Cummins in an over. Hameed’s struggled continued unabated and at last Boland drew the edge from the batter with a late outswinger. Hameed didn’t show any foot movement and looked clueless in front of the seam movement. England lost their first wicket on 46. Hameed could make only 9 runs off 58 deliveries.
Zac Crawley plundered Australian pacers
The wicket didn’t bother Crawley too much as he continued his carnage and smashed two boundaries off Cummins in the next over. The right-handed batter completed his sixth fifty off 69 deliveries. Again, the 23-year-old batter hammered back-to-back boundaries off left-armer Mitchell Starc. However, one down batter Dawid Malan got bowled by off-spinner Nathan Lyon on 4 which reduced the visitors to 74 for two. Also, right-arm medium pacer Cameron Green bowled a terrific yorker to trap Crawley plumb in front of the wickets. Crawley was a huge wicket for the Poms as he made 77 runs off 100 deliveries and left for the pavilion leaving England at 96 for three.
Joe Root and Ben Stokes resist Australian pace arsenal after rain wasted some time
Skipper Joe Root and Ben Stokes joined hands in the middle to rescue England from another batting collapse. After the lunch break, light rain halted the game. After the loss of several overs due to rain, the game resumed. Root and Stokes stuck on the pitch by playing defensively for a long duration. However, Stokes played some glorious attacking strokes against the Australian pacers. Both batters completed a 50-run partnership.
However, one delivery bowled by Boland to Root straightened slightly after pitching and took the fine edge of the bat after which wicketkeeper Carey took the easy catch. Root made 24 off 85 deliveries and England lost their fourth wicket on 156. Stokes and Jonny Bairstow avoided any damage till Tea break.
Ben Stokes completes second fifty in this Test
In the last session, the home side needed six wickets to win the game. However, Stokes became an obstruction in the way of Australia as he completed his second fifty in this Test match in 107 deliveries. Although, spinner Lyon bagged the wicket of Stokes as the batter edged and was taken by Steven Smith at first slip. The batter made 60 runs off 123 deliveries. Wicketkeeper batter Jos Buttler joined Bairstow in the middle on the score of 193 for five.
Pat Cummins bags two in the same over to raise hopes of Australian fans
Australian skipper Pat Cummins produced a terrific delivery to take the wicket of Buttler getting him out plumb. Also, he pinned down Mark Wood in the same over on duck to increase the hopes of Australia fans. These two wickets by Cummins reduced the visitors to 218 for seven.
So, England were on the verge of a fourth straight loss in this Ashes series. However, fortune favoured Bairstow as he survived many close calls in his innings. Steven Smith at first slip dropped him on 28. Also, the home side fielders missed a few half chances produced against the right-handed batter. Bairstow bode some time by blocking many deliveries for his side.
New batter Jack Leach got beaten by the pacers. However, luck ran out for Bairstow on the other end and a thick inside edge off the delivery of Scott Boland went into the hands of Marnus Labuschagne at silly point and Australian players celebrated the wicket loudly. The game was set for a nail-biting finish as England had lost eight wickets with a few overs still to negotiate.
As the home side were on the verge of winning the game, skipper Pat Cummins brought all fielders close to the pitch to put pressure on the batters.
England steal draw from the jaws of defeat after being nine down
When only five overs remained in the day, Cummins came to bowl. However, he went wicketless in the over. Cummins brought part-time leg-spinner, Steven Smith, to bowl when only three overs remained in the day. On the last ball of the over, the ball took the thick outside edge of Leach’s bat and David Warner didn’t make any mistake in completing the catch.
The Australian camp erupted in joy due to the fall of the ninth wicket. As Stuart Broad played the whole over bowled by Lyon, the match went into the last over. Number XI batter James Anderson faced the last over successfully to secure the first draw for his side in this prestigious Ashes series.
Australia batter Usman Khawaja was awarded the Player of the Match award for his twin centuries on his comeback after two years.
The old enemies will square off in the fifth and final Test of Ashes 2021-22 which will be a day-night encounter at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart. The match begins on January 14.
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