Updated: Aug 20, 2019
As we enter the final day of the Lord's Test, weather permitting, there are three results possible - An Australian victory, a draw or an English victory.
England lead Australia by 104 runs with six wickets in hand at stumps on Day 4. With the dynamic pair of Ben Stokes and Jos Buttler in the middle, England will hope to stretch the lead and take the match towards a draw because that eventuality is more probable than an England win here.
England will back themselves to claim a draw here as they still have Jonny Bairstow and Chris Woakes still to bat. The eventuality of an England victory is minimal because of one man who stands between them and the victory, and that is Steven Smith. He came into the Lord's Test on the back of hundreds in both innings at Edgbaston in Birmingham. And it seemed that he started at Lord's from where he had left at Edgbaston. A gritty 92 from the former Oz skipper in Australia's first innings minimized the England lead to a paltry 8 runs.
You never know what will he come up with if Australia get to chase a 150-200 target in two sessions. He is a magician who could pull out any rabbit from his hat, the way he is batting in his second Avatar.
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Some inspired bowling from Pat Cummins and Peter Siddle who took two wickets apiece has pegged England at 96/4 in 32.2 overs so far. Stokes would want to take inspiration from his performance on the July 14th ODI World Cup final against New Zealand and somehow act as the wall which separates Australia from a victory here. The fighting spirit that Stokes brings into the equation for England makes him a very 'Aussie' English player.
The other probability
It is very much possible that Australia find themselves chasing an England target of around 150 runs if their seamers manage to make early inroads on Sunday. In that event, barring Smith there are very few players in the Australian lineup who deliver the confidence to take their team through. It would be interesting to see how things would turn out for Australia if Smith fails in the chase, given that happens.
The history of Ashes Test matches at Lord's favour Australia ahead of England as they have won 15 Test out of the 36 that they have played against the old enemies at the hallowed venue. England have won seven tests and there have been 14 draws here.
On that note, one would be eager to see what unfolds on the final day here as all three possibilities are probable in some measure.
Brief Scores: England 258 and 96 for 4 (Stokes 16*, Cummins 2/16) lead Australia 250 (Smith 92, Broad 4/65, Woakes 3/61) by 104 runs.