Australia Get The Better of England And Secure The Ashes
Australia almost won the third test and claim the Ashes but fell short after a once-in-a-lifetime knock from Ben Stokes. The Aussies were gutted after the third test. They would have to dig deep to lift themselves for the fourth test at Manchester. They played their famous brand of never-say-die cricket and pulled off a remarkable win on the fifth and final day to win by 185 runs and secure the Ashes.
Steven Smith: Makes The Difference
Australia was in trouble early on in their first innings as the poor form of David Warner continued. The Aussies promoted M Labuschagne to number 3 and he delivered making a decent 50. However, the man who stole the show was the former captain S Smith. He missed the third test due to a concussion.
J Archer who troubled the Australians in the last two tests looked tired. He was down on pace and aggression in the first innings. The Aussies took advantage of this and piled on the runs with Steve Smith being the main destroyer.
Smith not only held the innings together but he scored freely to make a brilliant double century as he formed partnerships with the tail. Captain T Paine (58) and M Starc (54) helped Smith leave an indelible stamp on this series as the Aussies declared on 497.
Fast Bowlers Dismantle England
Australia decided to go back to their trusted pace attack bringing back M Starc who partnered with Hazelwood and Cummins. All three delivered as Starc and Cummins picked up 3 each and Hazelwood finished with 4. Special credit must be given to P Cummins who bowled extremely well in both innings to always keep Australia in the game.
R Burns (81) and J Root (71) put up the most resistance for England in the first innings but the other batsmen were a disappointment. England was bundled out for 301 to give Australia a first-innings lead of 196.
J Archer Bounces Back
England fought back well taking 4 quick wickets in Australia’s second innings as J Archer and S Broad bowled 8 overs each in their opening spells. Australia was in trouble but S Smith continued to be a thorn in the side of England as he steadied the ship with a fighting 82 at one end and allowed the other batsmen to play more freely and set a total for England to chase.
T Paine played a cameo at the end scoring 23 from 18 balls and declared for the second time in the match at 186/6.
England Go Down Fighting
England was sent into bat late on the fourth day and had to chase 383. That was always going to be too much to chase down on a fifth-day pitch. So, the only option was for the Poms to hold on for a draw. That became a difficult task once they lost the inform R Burns and J Root before the close of play to P Cummins.
England fought hard on the fifth day. They formed partnerships in the middle-order to test the Aussie bowlers and captain of Tim Paine. When the Aussies got rid of the dangerous Ben Stokes for just 1, they had their tails up. Cummins led the attack to ensure that the Aussies would claim all 10 wickets and win the Ashes.
Cummins finished with 4 wickets while the rest of the bowlers all chipped in to seal an amazing series win. S Smith was given the man of the match award for his fantastic knock in both innings.
England will be deeply disappointed at losing the Ashes. However, they will continue their fight for redemption in the fifth test which starts on September 12. The bookmakers have Australia at (2.05) and England at (2.50) which odds of a draw set at (6).