Pat Cummins strikes to leave Australia on verge of keeping Ashes
Pat Cummins took two wickets in two consecutive balls, including England captain Joe Root for a golden duck, to leave Australia on the verge of retaining the ashes at Old Trafford on Saturday.
England had 18-2 in their second stoppage inning on the fourth day of the fourth ashes, and still, need another 365-runs on the last day of Sunday to reach a target of 383.
In contrast, Australia requires eight wickets to seal a win that would see the holders keep the ashes at 2-1 up with one to play in a series of five tests.
The most England made in the fourth inning to win a Test the 362-9 they published in their series leveling success last at Headingley, where Ben Stokes’ impressive 135 did not come out and the resistance of No 11 Jack Leach secured one remarkable -Victory.
Previously, Steve Smith’s relentless over-career continued as he made 82, his lowest score in this series, in Australia’s second entry 186-6 declared.
Australian captain, Tim Paine’s decision, left England with an awkward 30 minutes to bat.
Rory Burns and Root had shared an association of 141 while earning 81 and 71 respectively in the first innings of England 301.
However, on Saturday they were both left with nothing in England’s first chase.
Left-handed starter Burns, who sought to turn the leg of Cummins’ third ball, took the lead and was caught in a short hedge by Travis Head.
The next ball, a brilliant delivery that came off the seam and cut off the top of the stump, saw Root thrown by a euphoric Cummins for his third nothing in the series and the second golden duck.
Cummins was on a hat-trick, with Jason Roy in trouble next door, but the World Cup winner responded to the crisis with a solid defensive strike forward and managed to overcome the stumps with eight out of it, with Joe Denly undefeated in 10.
Previously, Smith’s ninth successive Ashes, extending his record, followed his magnificent 211 in the first innings of his comeback test after missing out on the match at Headingley with a concussion suffered when he was hit by a 92 mph bouncer Jofra Archer at Lord’s.
In what is his first series of tests since he completed a 12-month ball handling ban, former Australian captain Smith has now scored 671 runs, including three hundred, averaging 134.2
He was on his way to becoming the first batter in Ashes history, and only the eighth in any test, to score a double hundred in the same game when he threw the left-arm spinner Leach with Stokes, running from afar. Holding a safe catch to finish a 92-ball inning with 11 boundaries.
Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer had reduced Australia to 44-4 before tea after England narrowly avoided continuing in response to the 497-8 declared by tourists.
However, Smith, moving nervously through the trademark-shaped fold, stood firm.
He gave a shot at 48 when he reverses swept Leach, with Stokes, anticipating the shot and moving quickly through the slide, unable to contain what would have been a sensational capture.
Smith, 30, played with England’s bowlers on a sunny afternoon, pushing Broad for four flamboyant in front of the top.
While Smith has enjoyed an ash spree, David Warner, who also returned from a 12-month ball-handling ban, has become something of a “bunny” for Broad.
On Saturday, left-handed opening batsmen Warner came out for his third consecutive test duck when Broad, the successful bowler on each occasion, made him gain weight.
It was the sixth Time David Warner, like Steve Smith, had fallen to Broad this Ashes and meant that he had completed “a pair” this match after nothing in the first innings.
World Cup Winner Archer, in only his third test match, had lost his rhythm during Australia’s first innings.
However, the fast-expressing returned to the 90 mph mark on Saturday during a 3-45 comeback in 14 overs.