Ashes Day Four: Three Late Wickets Give England Hope Heading Into Final Day

It's all to play for on day five as Broad takes two late wickets
19:20, 19 Jun 2023

Three late wickets for England swung the pendulum their way after an enthralling fourth day at Edgbaston. It looked like Australia were cruising towards victory, 61-0 chasing a target of just 281 - but Ollie Robinson and Stuart Broad struck to remove David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith before the close of play. 

It leaves England needing seven wickets, and Australia needing 174 runs as we head into what should be a firecracker of a final day. This was a day that fizzled and crackled, with the visitors looking like they had taken a major step to victory before the final hour. 

Two wickets down already, Joe Root came out as though he only had ten minutes left of batting in his entire career. He attempted a reverse scoop with the opening ball and missed. Then in the second over he used two more reverse scoops to hit one ball for six, and one for four. It was like he was trying to show off his most difficult range of shots when most Test sides would play it safe. 

It was a thrilling watch, albeit perhaps not the most sensible course of action. Ollie Pope was clean-bowled by Pat Cummins on 14, before Root chased after Nathan Lyon and was stumped while way out of his crease. 

Every time it looked as though England had a partnership on the go, Australia would take a key wicket. Harry Brook was caught on 46, before Jonny Bairstow was out LBW as Lyon took another wicket. That left England on 196-6 and when Ben Stokes was foxed by another LBW, the tide swung in Australia’s favour. 

The tail had a little wag as England added 63 runs to finish on 273 all out, which meant Australia needed 281 to win as they headed into the second innings. That’s one less than that epic encounter here in 2005 and it looks like we could see another razor-thin winning margin tomorrow. 

England’s bowlers came out fighting, but to no avail. Jimmy Anderson got an edge from Usman Khawaja in the first over but Jonny Bairstow missed it and from there the openers took full control. They batted like the best Test team in the world and quickly found themselves on 50 without loss. 


However, when hope was fading away, Ollie Robinson made the breakthrough as Warner edged to the grateful Bairstow and England were finally off the mark - gaining that much needed breakthrough before the close of play. The atmosphere had fallen slightly flat, but that wicket breathed new life into England.

It wasn’t long before Stuart Broad got into the action. He took the wicket of Marnus Labuschagne as the world’s number one batter edged one behind to the celebration of Broad and his teammates. All of a sudden England had some momentum and Steve Smith was in. Soon, magic was in the air as Broad found another outside edge and Smith was sent packing for just six runs. Australia were 89-3. 

Scott Boland came in as a night watchman and did a superb job under immense pressure, eventually reaching 13 from 19 balls as Australia closed on 107/3. It leaves tomorrow precariously placed with rain, a distinct possibility in the morning. Still, the opening Test of the Ashes is winnable for either side as long as we get some overs in on the final day. England will head in hopeful, while Australia will be glad to have survived that late onslaught for the loss of three. 

Based on what we saw today, the 10/11 on offer for Boland to get more than 20.5 runs looks smart, even though the pressure will wind up again tomorrow morning. England are EVS to win the Test match with Betfred,

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