The second Ashes test has taken a huge turn as England now appear to be back in the race to level the series at 1-1. The English side are on the verge of a miracle finishing the days play at 4/176.
The Aussies appeared to be in a commanding position going into their second innings having decided not to enforce the follow on. With a lead of 215 runs and more than 2 days left, it appeared they had the result sewn up. However a disastrous evening session on Day 3 saw England claw back a chance.
Nathan Lyon and Peter Handscomb couldn’t mend the Australian’s issues and England had them all out for 138. It still seemed like a momentous task but nevertheless possible. It now seems that England have turned the tables and with only 178 runs needed to secure victory, Joe Root may take his side level after two tests.
Only a late wicket to Pat Cummins, knocking over Dawid Malan (29), has kept the Aussies fighting as it looked that England would take a strong position heading into Day 5.
At the other end, Joe Root has stayed strong and looks set for a big innings making it to an unbeaten 67 at the end of the days play. Most impressive of Root’s score is the fact that he has managed to maintain a healthy strike rate of 58.77.
The English captain has been the centre of much scrutiny following his decision to bowl having won the toss. But it could all be forgotten should he lead his team to a historic victory in Adelaide. The record run chase at Adelaide Oval is 315, set more than 100 years ago.
It is now Steve Smith who is feeling the heat for his decision not to enforce the follow on in seemingly perfect bowling conditions. And with all three DRS referrals used yesterday, it could potentially go from bad to worse for Smith on Day 5 should Australia lose.
The Australian’s have admitted that it was “probably the wrong call” according to bowling coach David Saker, but believe that they are still on top going into the final day of the test. “Obviously, the last two days haven’t gone to plan” he said but “we’re still reasonably confident.
The English, on the other hand, are far more enthused having had a breakthrough couple of sessions. England spearhead James Anderson, coming off 5/43 in Australia’s second innings, says “we’re delighted to be in this position” and that the whole squad “believe we can do it (win the match)”.
Day 5 of the second Ashes test resumes play at 2pm AEDST today.