Joe Root fell in the final over of the fourth day Sunday to leave England in deep trouble at 82 for four chasing a massive 468 to win the second Ashes Test, needing a history-making miracle to avoid slumping 2-0 down in the series.
No team has
ever posted such a big score in a fourth innings to win in the history of Test
cricket — with the West Indies’ 418 for seven in beating Steve Waugh’s
Australia at St John’s in 2003 the highest.
It is an
even harder task at the Adelaide Oval, where Australia’s 315 for six to defeat
England in 1902 remains the best fourth-innings run chase.
problems stem from being bowled out, after a batting collapse, for 236 on
Saturday in reply to Australia’s 473 for nine declared.
the close on day four with ailing skipper Root out in the last over of the day,
leaving Ben Stokes not out three.
still 386 runs adrift, facing the near impossible task of batting out three
sessions on the final day to salvage a draw with only six wickets remaining and
the world’s number one ranked Test batsman back in the pavilion.
resumed their second innings at 45 for one and declared on 230 for nine midway
through the second session, giving their bowlers a crack at England with the
pink ball as twilight loomed.
immediately made inroads with Jhye Richardson steaming in to Haseeb Hameed and
the ball flying off his glove to wicketkeeper Alex Carey without scoring.
who hit 80 in the first innings, was dropped by Steve Smith, but only lasted
three more balls before debutant Michael Neser trapped him lbw for 20.
Burns was desperate for a big score after a lean spell and managed 34, but was
then beaten by Richardson’s sheer pace, edging to Smith at slip.
his abdomen during a warm-up that saw him miss the opening 85 minutes while he
went for a scan.
mostly untroubled while batting but late in the day took a nasty blow in the
same area from Mitchell Starc that left him writhing on the ground in agony.
gingerly got up, but in a huge blow was out for 24 in the final over, caught by
Carey off Starc.
crashing by nine wickets in the first Test at Brisbane, their hopes are all but
over of going into the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne in a week’s time only 1-0
defeicit in the five-match series will mean the Ashes are as good as gone. The
only instance of a team coming from 2-0 down to win the urn was by Australia in
the 1936-37 series.
Hero and villain Buttler
Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head both made 51 for Australia, steadying the
innings after England took three quick wickets for seven runs to start the day.
skipper Smith could have enforced the follow-on late Saturday, but opted to
send in his batsmen to build an unassailable advantage.
Harris resumed Sunday not out 21 with nightwatchman Neser on two after they
lost David Warner to an amateurish run-out the previous evening.
survived seven balls before a full-length Jimmy Anderson delivery rattled his middle
stump, and Harris departed to a blinding catch from wicketkeeper Jos Buttler
after getting a nick off Stuart Broad.
celebrations were short-lived when he incredibly missed a regulation catch off
Smith the very next ball, in a blunder reminiscent of the two sitters he put
down from Labuschagne in the first innings.
But he soon
went from villain to hero again by taking another fine diving catch to remove
Smith for six off Ollie Robinson.
at a rapid clip to reach an eighth Test half-century from 49 balls, but then
pulled Robinson to Ben Stokes in the deep.
took 96 balls to reach his 50 but also holed out to Stokes, becoming part-time
spinner Malan’s first Test wicket, before late cameos ahead of the declaration.