OVER 59: ENG 160/4 (Stokes 38 *Bairstow 4*)
YJB comes in and England need him to do an Usman. He nudges the ball away off his pads for a couple. Hangs his bat and now Harrow Drives the ball past his own stumps, they come back for a second run and blimey that is a tight run. Would have been out if the throw had been into the gloves I think.
43 overs remain.
WICKET! Root c Carey b Boland 24
Readers, I can only apologise! Tyers here, and my very first duty on the very first ball of my shift is to tell you that Engand’s captain, and best hope, has fallen! Boland with an excellent delivery, accuracy, pace, and it draws Joe Root forward just outside off. Joe has to play, and it holds its line. He edges behind and it is a regulation catch. Woe! FOW 156/4
OVER 58: ENG 156/3 (Stokes 38 Root 23)
Root takes a single off Lyon through mid-on before Stokes charges down the pitch and slams a four down to long-on. Shot!
Now, to see England home, I leave you in the very capable hands of Alan Tyers.
OVER 57: ENG 151/3 (Stokes 34 Root 23)
Big lbw shout against Root but umpire Reiffel shakes his head and Cummins isn’t quite moved enough to review – but he couldn’t have been far off. It looked a bit high and down leg. England take advantage with a leg-bye.
The rest of Boland’s over passes with dots, with Stokes defending stoically again.
OVER 56: ENG 150/3 (Stokes 34 Root 23)
Lyon returns in place of Green, renewing that little pre-lunch tussle with Stokes.
And it’s another maiden, too, as Stokes takes the conservative route, getting forward to block.
OVER 55: ENG 150/3 (Stokes 34 Root 23)
It’s full and tight to Root, but the England captain is equal to it… until the final ball of the over where he is beaten on the outside edge.
That was exceedingly close! Another maiden, too.
OVER 54: ENG 150/3 (Stokes 34 Root 23)
Nifty shot from Root opens the Green over, as the England captain paddles a short, wide ball for two in the gap at point.
Root tries similar later in the over, and it’s destined for four but Lyon’s terrific superman dive saves it. The England captain does bag a single through square-leg, though.
OVER 53: ENG 147/3 (Stokes 34 Root 20)
Inside edge from Root gives him a single through midwicket off Starc before another of those very smooth, solid pushes down the ground from Stokes earns him a couple.
And what a shot to end the over from Stokes. Another of those powerful pull shots, one bounce and it’s four.
That’s the 50 partnership for these two.
OVER 52: ENG 140/3 (Stokes 28 Root 19)
Sharp fielding from Harris at short leg saves a Stokes single, before England’s allrounder absolutely creams Green through extra cover. A glorious shot, one that required no running.
Stokes takes a blow to the thigh for his troubles to end the over.
OVER 51: ENG 136/3 (Stokes 24 Root 19)
Another firm, straight push down the ground from Stokes brings about another single off Starc.
Starc attempts a wicked yorker but Root is on to him, and gets his bat down well to block it out.
OVER 50: ENG 135/3 (Stokes 23 Root 19)
A maiden from Green to Root, who seems in little rush. England, if they wanted it, need five an over for the win.
All of it on a good line outside off, fairly full, too; in danger of being in juicy half-volley territory.
OVER 49: ENG 135/3 (Stokes 23 Root 19)
Six for Stokes! England’s first of the day, as Stokes pulls a short ball from Starc over the square-leg boundary – with a dodgy side, too!
Starc backs that up with a bouncer, which Stokes tries (and fails) to lift over the wicket-keeper and slips; millimetres from an edge. Starc beats the bat with the penultimate ball of the over, too.
OVER 48: ENG 129/3 (Stokes 17 Root 19)
A soft, sweetly timed push down the ground from Stokes earns a single
Root bags a couple down to long leg, then… he has been hit on the thigh – close to the you-know-whats – again!
OVER 47: ENG 126/3 (Stokes 16 Root 17)
Starc kicks us off after lunch, peppering Root with some shorter stuff into his ribs, but the England skipper stands firm.
One is a little wide, however, and Root is able to astutely steer Starc down to the third-man boundary for four.
Players are back out
Here we go.
England have 56 overs to see out and tea will now be at 04.40 GMT.
No further news as it stands
The covers remain on and rain continues to stop play with England 122-3.
But this delay will definitely eat into today’s overs -good news for the tourists!
While the rain comes down…
Let us enjoy this, England’s best moment of this Ashes series so far.
Rain officially stops play
I‘m not sure for how long, but considering the players were supposed to be back out now – and they’re not – it is clear there will be a delay.
I am happy to report…
… that a source of mine in Manly, around 10-15km from the SCG, says it is “raining hard” there now.
We shall see how that plays out.
A lunch dispatch
From Nick Hoult, Chief Cricket Correspondent, in Sydney
Zak Crawley reminded England of his potential with an eye-catching 77 but was one of three wickets in the first session as Australia looked good for a 4-0 lead on the final day of the Sydney Test.
Crawley made his highest score since his 267 in 2020 to give England something to build on in Hobart but Haseeb Hameed’s troubled tour looks over after a sixth consecutive single-figure score.
Dawid Malan was bowled by Nathan Lyon, his tour declining after a good start, and Crawley was lbw beaten by a Cameron Green yorker after playing the most attractive innings of the series by an England batsman, hitting 13 fours. Stokes was dropped at short leg in the penultimate over before lunch, the fifth catch Australia have missed in this Test, and England are fighting hard but need some help from the storms forecast in Sydney later today.
OVER 46: ENG 122/3 (Stokes 16 Root 13)
Root pinches a single through the covers off Lyon before Stokes sees out the rest of the over.
There’s some chirping going on between Root and Lyon, too, but it looks good-natured.
And that’s lunch, with England 122/3, and 63 overs remaining.
OVER 45: ENG 121/3 (Stokes 16 Root 12)
Cummins fires another one into Root’s tender area – he’s really got it in for his opposing captain!
Root takes advantage of another Cummins short ball to pull away for a single – which was also a no-ball – before Stokes hooks down to fine leg for four, with some more suspect fielding from Boland.
What a chance that is for Harris at short leg! A toughie, of course, considering the short distance, but Stokes flicks up a catch to Harris and he puts it down.
OVER 44: ENG 115/3 (Stokes 12 Root 11)
Lyon and Stokes renew their tete-a-tete.
And it’s another maiden for Lyon. He really rattles through them.
Lunch is imminent, too, as might be some rain. Reports are that areas of Sydney are currently experiencing downpours, just not the SCG…
OVER 43: ENG 115/3 (Stokes 12 Root 11)
Cummins gets one to dart back into Root off the seam and only the timeliest of inside edges saves a very solid lbw appeal, but England scoot through for a single nonetheless.
A leg-bye single follows, before Root dispatches Cummins for four with a beautiful pull shot behind square.
OVER 42: ENG 109/3 (Stokes 12 Root 6)
Two for Stokes off Lyon, punching back down the ground, before he prods and pushes his way through the rest of the spinner’s over.
OVER 41: ENG 107/3 (Stokes 10 Root 6)
A slight, intimated tickle down leg-side from Root off Cummins and there’s a half-hearted appeal for caught behind but it clipped Root’s pad and got nowhere near his bat.
A yorker from Cummins is dug out well by the England skipper, before Root blocks off the back foot to end the over.
OVER 40: ENG 107/3 (Stokes 10 Root 6)
Lyon to Stokes once again, and it’s five dot balls before Stokes changes tack.
He gets along way outside off and slog-sweeps Lyon for four through square-leg.
OVER 39: ENG 103/3 (Stokes 6 Root 6)
Ouch, Root cops one in a rather sensitive area from Cummins, but it seems as if the box area was missed… narrowly.
Another maiden, for Cummins this time.
OVER 38: ENG 103/3 (Stokes 6 Root 6)
After Root dabs a single into the leg side off Lyon, Australia introduce a short leg for Stokes.
But he watches it well, blocking the rest of the over off the back foot.
OVER 37: ENG 102/3 (Stokes 6 Root 5)
There’s a lot of excitement for a Stokes inside edge to Harris at short leg, but it would have taken an absolute worldie of a catch, with lightining reactions.
England’s allrounder bags two runs for his nerves, too.
OVER 36: ENG 100/3 (Stokes 4 Root 5)
Lyon returns, bowling to Root.
And it’s another maiden that the England captain faces, using plenty of bat as Australia’s spinner tosses them up outside off.
OVER 35: ENG 100/3 (Stokes 4 Root 5)
Green to Stokes and… crash!
Stokes rockets one down to long on for four to get off the mark. That’ll do.
Let’s just forget about the ball before, where Green got one to absolutely fly over the top of Stokes’ off-stump. Shhhh.
But that’s the 100 up for England in any case.
OVER 33: ENG 96/3 (Stokes 0 Root 5)
Into the injured contingent, then, as Stokes arrives.
Boland to Root first up, however, and it’s another maiden. All outside off, and all dealt with well by Root.
Wicket! Crawley lbw b Green 77
That’s a hammerblow for England. Crawley, who had looked so phlegmatic thus far, has been caught plumb lbw by a full Green delivery.
What a job now for Joe Root.
FOW – 96/3
OVER 32: ENG 96/2 (Crawley 77 Root 5)
ANOTHER leg-side boundary for Crawley, who guides Boland off his hips for four more at deep backward square.
Child’s play for Root to get off a pair, as he slides a bad ball very, very fine for four before he nabs another single through square leg…
But… disaster. A full delivery has caught Crawley at the the bottom of the pads, dead in front.
It’s given out on field, but England have reviewed. It looked plumb…
OVER 31: ENG 87/2 (Crawley 73 Root 0)
Root, remember, is on a pair.
But now it’s Crawley on strike to Green, and he slips a fuller ball for four through the leg side before pilfering another single.
OVER 30: ENG 82/2 (Crawley 68 Root 0)
Just one slip and a leg-slip to Crawley, with Boland returning and Lyon having a rest.
England run a tight single through mid-on to rotate the strike, but even with a direct hit from Lyon England’s opener would have been safe.
OVER 29: ENG 81/2 (Crawley 67 Root 0)
An ambivalent welcome for Green, who finds bounce and carry with his opening ball before Crawley gives him the treatment.
England’s opener, again, looks so strong on the leg-side, pulling Green through midwicket before running three after a cut down through point.
OVER 28: ENG 74/2 (Crawley 60 Root 0)
Root sees off Lyon’s last ball of the over.
The next wicket, obviously, is massive. If it falls before lunch, England are in trouble.
Wicket! Malan b Lyon 4
Crawley and Malan exchange singles off Lyon before… disaster!
Lyon, with a bit of extra pace and skid, knocks the top of Malan’s off-stump. That kept a touch lower but Malan played all around it.
A hammerblow for England. Will anyone be able to support Crawley? Hopefully Root is the man.
OVER 27: ENG 72/1 (Crawley 59 Malan 3)
Starc to Crawley, pitched up and outside off but mostly left alone by England’s opener.
Until the penultimate ball of the over, where Crawley dispatches a leg-stump half-volley for four square of the wicket. And another follows, a cut into the ground that bounces over gully for four.
OVER 26: ENG 64/1 (Crawley 51 Malan 3)
A maiden from Lyon, full of control, skidding, and full deliveries forcing Malan to come forward.
England’s No 3 leaves one which skids and bounces with venom, missing the top of off by a whisker!
OVER 25: ENG 64/1 (Crawley 51 Malan 3)
Another misfield by Australia at square leg – Harris, it was, off Starc – gifts another single to Crawley.
Labuschagne redresses the balance shortly after, however, with a balletic stop at mid-on which just gives Malan the single.
OVER 24: ENG 62/1 (Crawley 50 Malan 2)
Time for some spin, as Lyon arrives.
And Crawley bags his half-century first ball – pushing into the covers!
Malan blocks the rest of over, with not much turn, as the first hour ends.
OVER 23: ENG 61/1 (Crawley 49 Malan 2)
Another single for Malan, clipping Starc down to long leg, before another total pearl from Crawley, pulling another Cummins short ball elegantly off his hip for four.
A single through midwicket follows for England’s opener, who is edging towards his half-century.
OVER 22: ENG 55/1 (Crawley 44 Malan 1)
Two slips and a gully for left-hander Malan, with Australia flooding the off-side.
Terrific delivery from Boland – again – that beats Malan’s outside edge by such a tiny slither that Australia debate the review.
Boland fires another into Malan’s pads – way outside off – before England No 3 gets off the mark with a tickle behind square.
OVER 21: ENG 54/1 (Crawley 44 Malan 0)
A rare sloppy delivery from Cummins and Crawley continues his impressive start today, guiding the ball to the long leg for four, with some very suspect fielding from Boland aiding the boundary.
Crunch from Crawley – again! Another short one from Cummins and Crawley pulls it perfectly through midwicket for four.
OVER 20: ENG 46/1 (Crawley 36 Malan 0)
Wicket maiden for Boland, but new man Malan survives his first three balls.
Wicket! Hameed c Carey b Boland 9
Hameed gets caught on the crease – again – and it’s almost a carbon copy of the one Carey shelled two overs ago.
This time, however, the keeper makes no mistake, gobbling up Hameed’s outside edge as the bounce completely bamboozles him.
OVER 19: ENG 46/0 (Crawley 36 Hameed 9)
Delightful from Crawley, who finds England’s first boundary of the day, clipping a short ball off the hip for four through deep backward square.
And another! Crawley picks the perfect spot between midwicket and mid-on and thumps four more.
OVER 18: ENG 38/0 (Crawley 28 Hameed 9)
Misfield from Khawaja – of all people – at midwicket gifts Crawley a single.
Otherwise, another composed over from Boland.
Still, that’s over 30 minutes gone for England – seven overs, eight runs – and no wickets have fallen.
OVER 17: ENG 37/0 (Crawley 27 Hameed 9)
Cummins with a jaffa to open the over, a leg cutter with bounce that misses Crawley’s outside edge by a slither. Australia deliberate the review, but decided – correctly – against.
And another peach for Hameed to play and miss now, as it moves slightly away from the right-hander off the pitch and is too good for the outside edge.
An edge off the final ball… and dropped by Carey behind! It was a toughie, diving one-handed to his right, but the keeper puts it down.
In the middle of all of that, Crawley pinched a tight single where a direct hit might have spelled the end for him,
OVER 16: ENG 36/0 (Crawley 26 Hameed 9)
Back-to-back maidens for Australia, as Boland versus Hameed ends in a stalemate.
Seems England will be happy with the draw, then…
OVER 15: ENG 36/0 (Crawley 26 Hameed 9)
Cummins with a controlled maiden, nearly always on that corridor outside off, almost trapping Crawley with a leading edge on the final ball of the over.
OVER 14: ENG 36/0 (Crawley 26 Hameed 9)
Another single for Crawley down to deep backward square.
Hameed sees off the rest of the over with (whisper it quietly) emphatic, stoic defence, getting forward blocking the ball into the dirt.
Long may that continue!
OVER 13: ENG 35/0 (Crawley 25 Hameed 9)
Cummins to Crawley… and there is England’s first run of the day, a leg-bye down to fine leg. Then the first runs off the bat, as Hameed clips one behind square in the on-side.
Three more for Crawley, who tickles one to deep square-leg.
There was some spicy stuff off the seam in there from Cummins, and the last one keeps low and beats Crawley’s outside edge. Ominous…
OVER 12: ENG 30/0 (Crawley 22 Hameed 8)
An opening maiden for Boland. First ball of the day brings the first appeal – but it’s going down leg by a mile and misses Hameed’s bat by just as much.
Hameed negotiates the rest of the over, just about, with one nurdle to gully in there.
A little extra bounce on the final ball of the day.
Here we go…
I‘ve got a New York cheesecake and a cafetiere of coffee.
Let’s strap ourselves in.
Prediction? For me, Australia win. Just.
Boland with the ball, just 11 overs old.
The general consensus on social media and among the experts is that England will be looking to bat out the day, while that same consensus and those same experts also think there is no chance in that happening.
So, why not go for it?
What would you do?
Try and bat out the day or have a go at the remaining 358?
I do not think this England batting line-up has the guile nor nuance to mix the two.
So which is it? Personally, a 4-0 series loss is almost as bad as a 5-0, so I say go for it.
The Sydney forecast
It has settled down a touch. I wasn’t convinced of a full day’s play when I checked a few hours ago but now I, like Glenn McGrath, am much more confident.
Potentially some thunderstorms later in the Australian afternoon.
Good evening/morning (wherever you are!)
Hello and welcome to Telegraph Sport’s live coverage of the final day of this fourth Ashes Test between England and Australia?
Can the tourists pull off the remarkable? Well, England’s bruised middle-order trio of Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow and Jos Buttler will soldier on to help their team in the battle to save the fourth Test but appear doubtful for the final match in Hobart.
Stokes suffered a side strain in the current Sydney test while Bairstow, who smashed the only century by an England batsman in the series, and Jos Buttler sustained painful blows to their fingers while batting.
All three had scans on Saturday but caretaker coach Graham Thorpe said the trio would bat on Sunday when the visitors, set a daunting target of 388, begin day five on 30 for no loss at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
“I’m sure the lads will take whatever they need to take to get themselves in a position where they’re capable of performing tomorrow,” Thorpe, in charge while head coach Chris Silverwood completes his Covid-19 isolation, told reporters.
“So they’ll all bat and they will do their very best.”
England have already added Sam Billings to their squad and Thorpe confirmed the uncertainty around the availability of the injured trio.
“It’s possible (that the three players could miss the next Test), but we will be assessing all of that at the end of the game.
“Obviously, Sam has been called into the group and that’s obviously a good indicator of some of the concerns we have with the injuries.”
England will have to conjure something special to deny Australia a 4-0 lead in the five-test series and Thorpe said the batsmen should take a leaf out of Bairstow’s brave first-innings hundred despite a thumb injury.
“Jonny played fantastically well showing great courage and skill,” he added. “That’s the same thing which we want to see again in our second innings and I thought it was a good start tonight.”