Australia on Saturday set a target of 383 runs for England to win the fourth Ashes Test match currently being played at the Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester. The Aussies declared their second innings for 186-6, forcing the hosts to face the last few overs before the fourth day’s play came to an end.
England have already lost two crucial wickets of Rory Burns and captain Joe Root, both of whom fell to Pat Cummins’ two consecutive deliveries when the team’s total was zero. At the end of the fourth day’s play, England were 18-2 with Joe Denly and Jason Roy remaining not out at 10 and 8 respectively. England will have to score 365 runs in a minimum 90 overs on Sunday to win the fourth Test and keep their hopes of wresting the Ashes from the Aussies. The two sides are currently level at 1-1 in the series.
Earlier batting in his second innings, Steve Smith missed out on completing his yet another century when he was out for 82 runs off the bowling of Jack Leach. Smith had scored a double century in his first innings. For England, Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer picked up two and three wickets each, while Leach took the remaining wicket of Smith.
England coach Trevor Bayliss told BBC’s Test Match Special programme, “We’ve got a couple guys out there and guys in the shed who are more than capable of scoring 100. We know it will be difficult but as Ben Stokes showed last week, anything is possible.”
Former England captain Michael Vaughan said, “England consistently don’t realise the situation of the game. They didn’t realise on day one. They were a team of individuals. The first time we have seen them together in the field was this afternoon.”
The worrying sign for England on the fifth day will be their record of having never batted throughout the final day of any Test match in the last six years.
Scores in brief
Australia 497-8 dec (Smith 211) & 186-6 dec (Smith 82)
England 301 (Burns 81, Root 71) & 18-2 (Cummins 2-8)
England need further 365 to win