The Ashes Day Four: Australia Tear Through Top Order As England Chase 371

Pat Cummins and co enjoyed a profitable evening session at Lord's
19:08, 01 Jul 2023

Australia’s pace bowlers tore through England’s top order on day four of the Second Test to put the visitors on the brink of a 2-0 lead in the Ashes series. England finished on 114/4 as Patrick Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and particularly Mitchell Starc found pace and movement that their hosts simply couldn’t deal with. 

It was a devastating end to a day that had been so positive for England in the field. They bowled Australia out for 279 and were chasing a decent total of 371, but it didn’t feel like an impossible task. After their evening session with the bat - another Aussie victory now feels inevitable and with it - a probable Ashes series win. 

England’s bowling was good. They religiously bowled short balls, and it paid off. Australia made it to 187-2 before Usman Khawaja swung at a short ball from Stuart Broad and England made the breakthrough. It was a needed wicket using the same tactics that served Australia so well yesterday. 


With Travis Head’s first ball he flicked one to Jimmy Anderson but somehow the fast bowler let it go through his fingers from Josh Tongue’s delivery. However with the very next ball they would get another wicket as this time Steve Smith played a shot he didn’t need and picked out a fielder on the boundary. It was such a simple delivery and England finally made some progress in the field.

Joe Root pulled off a spectacular catch from close range to get rid of Travis Head on just 7 and England were rocking. By the time lunch came, Australia were 222/5 with a lead of 313, but Alex Carey and Cameron Green were not in a hurry to go anywhere. 

Carey hit 20 runs from 70 balls and Green hit 18 from 67, as England toiled against this stubborn pair. Finally, Ollie Robinson’s consistency paid off as another short ball tempted Green into a big pull shot, and he picked out Ben Duckett who pulled off an impressive diving catch near the boundary. 

Carey didn’t look to play anything from that point and got himself in trouble as the ball struck his gloves and into the grateful hands of Root. He was out for 21, and the tide felt like it was turning. Pat Cummins was caught from a Ben Stokes delivery but the England captain had strayed over the line, and he knew it. The Aussie captain got to 11 before he poked one up in the air to Duckett and he was another casualty of England’s relentless short bowling. Bodyline 2023, as labelled by the commentators, was working beautifully. 

The Ashes odds with Betfred*

Hazlewood was out soon after as he played one again to the grateful Root and Nathan Lyon bravely hobbled to the crease. His first shot was a good one but he couldn’t walk the single. He survived to go and stand up the other end as Starc desperately searched for boundaries. 

He launched one towards the boundary that was stopped superbly by Ahmed, and then Lyon was forced to hop to a single - before Starc hit the next for four. This tactic looked stupid, but Starc hit a six soon after. Then Lyon amazingly pulled Broad for four! He lasted another two balls before being caught out and that was the end of his series. Australia were all out for 279 and England needed 371. 

It would have been the second highest run chase of all time if they managed it, but the disastrous start out made it look practically impossible on day five. Ben Duckett was dropped on six before Zak Crawley was out for just three having tickled a ball behind. Duckett was seemingly out two balls later via LBW as Starc struck again but the review proved it was missing the wickets and the opener escaped again. 

Despite the setback, Starc had found some wild swing and bowled Ollie Pope for just three to reduce England to 13/2. Patrick Cummins then bamboozled Joe Root with a short ball that he could only place to David Warner and England were three down for 41. Two balls later, captain Cummins bowled the new batsman Harry Brook with another spectacular delivery. 

It was an early collapse they simply couldn’t afford. Brook’s off-stump went flying as England's hopes looked to evaporate with that wicket. Ben Stokes came to the crease and began to build a mini-partnership with Duckett, as the pair took on a more aggressive stance against stand-in spinner Travis Head. However, Duckett looked to have been caught out by Starc before the finish, however the fielder dragged the ball along the floor and England's opener, now on 50, was given a reprieve. 

Stokes and Duckett are England's only hope. They must continue this partnership on the final day to give England any hope of victory. 

*18+ | Be Gamble Aware

Suggested Searches:
The Sportsman
Manchester United
Manchester City
Premier League
Sportsman HQ
72-76 Cross St
Manchester M2 4JG
We will not ask you to provide any personal information when using The Sportsman website. You may see advertisement banners on the site, and if you choose to visit those websites, you will accept the terms and conditions and privacy policy applicable to those websites. The link below directs you to our Group Privacy Policy, and our Data Protection Officer can be contacted by email at: [email protected]

All original material is Copyright © 2019 by The Sportsman Communications Ltd.
Other material is copyright their respective owners.