January 17, 2022

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Australia vs England, Ashes 2021-22 live: Score and latest updates from fourth Test day four in Sydney

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, Australia vs England, Ashes 2021-22 live: Score and latest updates from fourth Test day four in Sydney, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH
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, Australia vs England, Ashes 2021-22 live: Score and latest updates from fourth Test day four in Sydney, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

, Australia vs England, Ashes 2021-22 live: Score and latest updates from fourth Test day four in Sydney, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

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3:45AM

OVER 41: AUS 121/4 (Khawaja 27 Green 12)             

Green is battling hard, wanting to attack but Leach is not letting him, testing him with variations of flight and pace. At last Leach is doing himself justice with the ball in Australia and That’s not saying his figures hitherto in the series have been exclusively his fault, far from it. 

3:43AM

OVER 40: AUS 121/4 (Khawaja 26 Green 12)            

Wood would like to bowl at Green but Khawaja, for now, won’t let him. He begins with a half-tracker that doesn’t get up and Khawaja pulls it hard for four. The left-hander drives to mid on, who is saving two not one, for a single and now Wood has a dart at Green. Wood nibbles it back in to Green who tries to withdraw the bat but is struck on the gloves and the ball bisects Stokes at gully and Root at slip scuttling away for four. That was as streaky as anything.

Good signs for Wood against Green, giving him the hurry-up and squaring him up in defence. 

3:37AM

OVER 39: AUS 112/4 (Khawaja 21 Green 8)           

Green inside-edges a drive, avoids the drag-on and runs two as the ball squirts behind square on the onside. Too often Leach has had a terrible field with singles available all around the park, but now has a sillyish mid-off, an offside ring and catchers at slip and on the legside. Green doesn’t look comfortable but emerges from the over, having used his feet, unscathed. 

Joe Root turns back to Mark Wood for a third spell. 

3:33AM

OVER 38: AUS 110/4 (Khawaja 21 Green 6)          

Khawaja plays a stylish, Goweresque, back foot punch for two through cover and then digs out one that keeps low and nibbles back in. 

3:28AM

OVER 37: AUS 108/4 (Khawaja 19 Green 6)         

Green comes down and has a big wipe at a drive but inside-edges it into his pad. Leach keeps him quiet with a maiden and even pins him on the pad as he used his feet to the last ball but was too far down the pitch to warrant a convincing appeal. 

Australia lead by 230. 

3:26AM

OVER 36: AUS 108/4 (Khawaja 19 Green 6)        

Broad returns to interrogate Green outside off-stump and beats him with one that nibbles away as the tall right-hander gropes outside off. When Broad errs straighter, Green angles his bat to clip it through midwicket for two. 

3:21AM

OVER 35: AUS 105/4 (Khawaja 19 Green 3)        

Khawaja looks crabbed in defence against spin and is struck on the knee as he beetles across his stump, outside the line. They run a leg bye. Green props forward into defence but reads the flight of the one tossed up and slaps it through point for a single. 

Khawaja is hit on the arm, knocking it up on to his jaw, when trying to reverse sweep but collars the next ball with the same stroke, clumping it wide of Root at slip even though he had anticipated the shot and scuttled to his left to try to catch it. He didn’t hit it fine enough. 

3:13AM

OVER 34: AUS 99/4 (Khawaja 15 Green 2)       

Now Green is pinned on the glove by Anderson. Green chisels out the yorker through midwicket for a single and Khawaja drives through Wood’s dive at mid-off for two, His knees must be raw. 

Australia lead by 221. 

3:10AM

OVER 33: AUS 95/4 (Khawaja 12 Green 1)      

Khawaja reverse sweeps Leach for two but can’t score off the succeeding five deliveries, using his feet to defend as Pope gives Leach far more encouragement than Buttler seemed to do at the Gabba, here and at the G. 

3:07AM

OVER 32: AUS 93/4 (Khawaja 10 Green 1)     

Anderson again elicits extra bounce, striking Khawaja on the glove and from there it deflects into his six-pack. He winces but then gets off strike next ball with a pull for a single. 

, Australia vs England, Ashes 2021-22 live: Score and latest updates from fourth Test day four in Sydney, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Leach gets into the series with the dismissal of Steve Smith

Credit:
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

3:02AM

OVER 31: AUS 92/4 (Khawaja 9 Green 1)    

Leach has a silly mid-off, short leg and slip for Green who, after blocking two, races down the pitch to drive one to mid-off. The left-arm spinner tempts Khawaja with flight and drift outside off and, after two dot balls, he spears a single squirtily through gully. 

2:59AM

OVER 30: AUS 90/4 (Khawaja 8 Green 0)   

Anderson replaces Wood, bowls his traditional back of a length to start with and Khawaja climbs into the third one and pulls it witheringly for four. Anderson recovers to flirt with the edge as Kahawaja leaves one that was closer than he thought but Australia’s lead is 212 and almost certainly already enough. 

2:56AM

OVER 29: AUS 86/4 (Khawaja 4 Green 0)  

After the batsmen take a single apiece, Leach bags Smith with one that messed up his footwork by keeping low and going on with the angle. Bowled him with a straight one.  

2:52AM

Wicket!!!

Smith b Leach 23Good Lord! Smith misjudges the bounce, the ball pitches and kicks on sharply as Smith hung back and wafted his bat at it in panic.  FOW 86/4

2:49AM

OVER 28: AUS 84/3 (Smith 22 Khawaja 3) 

Khawaja drives Wood for two through mid-off. Looking good now. Such a classy player. Leach is coming back on.

2:43AM

OVER 27: AUS 82/3 (Smith 22 Khawaja 1)

Five dot balls for Broad to Smith who, after his Jedi/Norman Wisdom block, creams the last ball through the covers for four. 

2:39AM

OVER 26: AUS 78/3 (Smith 18 Khawaja 1)                       

Smith seems to have more time against Wood than anyone else, pushing two through midwicket and then hooking, high, hard and handsomely (off the top edge) between deep backward square and midwicket for six. 

2:34AM

OVER 25: AUS 69/3 (Smith 9 Khawaja 1)                      

Maiden from Broad to Khawaja who doesn’t play at four of them. 

2:30AM

OVER 24: AUS 69/3 (Smith 9 Khawaja 1)                     

A ripper from Wood to Khawaja, 91mph and angled across from over the wicket to off-stump whence it climbs and decks away as he fences at it. Another on a similar length elicits the pull but stays low and Khawaja’s bat helicopters above it. 

Khawaja flicks a single off his pad that Malan should have prevented with his dive at leg gully but couldn’t hold on. 

2:25AM

OVER 23: AUS 68/3 (Smith 9 Khawaja 0)                    

Broad has the Randwick End duties and Smith goes for the on-drive and off-drive to successive deliveries, both times not piercing the infield. Broad’s left trouser leg is raised, exposing his sock, making it look as if he’s wearing an electronic tag or prison bracelet. He starts with a maiden to the shuffling, busy, frankly madcap Smith. 

2:20AM

OVER 22: AUS 68/3 (Smith 9 Khawaja 0)                   

Mark Wood starts the afternoon session. Labuschagne tucks it off his hip for one. The break debate is what sort of target Australia will set England. Given that England effectively start at 0 for two or near as dammit, I suspect anything over 250 would suffice but Cummins will want much more. 

Wood bags Labuschagne again outside off and on the back foot and he smacks his bat into his bat as he marches off in a funk.

Khawaja is struck a vicious blow on the gloves next ball and the last delivery leaps alarmingly and Pope takes it leaping to his left. 

2:17AM

Wicket!!

Labuschagne c Sub (Pope) b Wood 29  Brilliantly done – extracted the bounce and got him playing a forcing shot off the back foot.  FOW 68/3

2:08AM

Lord Gower’s second outfit in all its glory

1:36AM

LUNCH: AUS 66/2

Australia extend their lead to 188 with eight wickets left as the Test enters its phoney war stage as one side builds up its resources for the push to victory while the other attempts to delay and restrain them without the weapons as best they can. Play resumes at 2.10 when, England are hoping, the first of the promised showers may hit. 

1:34AM

OVER 21: AUS 66/2 (Labuschagne 28 Smith 8)                  

Three thousand Ashes Test runs for Smith come up as he walks down to Leach and lofts a drive high over the bolwer’s head for four. After Smoth taps a single, Labuschagne throws the bat at a drive, slices it through the air wide of cover and they trot three before departing for their nosebag. 

1:32AM

OVER 20: AUS 57/2 (Labuschagne 24 Smith 3)                  

Anderson bowls the penultimate over before lunch and tries to lure Labuschagne to spar outside off-stump but, like Dr Strangelove and his right arm, he battles against his instincts and holds his bat inside the line. He takes a single off the last ball with a leg glance. 

1:26AM

OVER 19: AUS 56/2 (Labuschagne 23 Smith 3)                 

Perhaps Pope, given that snaffle, though it wasn’t all that clean, will deny Bllings his Test debut next week if he continues to cling on to the chances that come his way. Leach tempted Harris with a wide one. Enter Smith who flamingo flicks the first ball through midwicket for two then slaps a single off the back foot. The left-armer catches turns one away from Labuschagne, kisses the edge but the ball dribbles behind point for a single.  

1:23AM

Wicket!!

Harris c Sub (Pope) b Leach 27  That should be the end of Harris’ current spell in the side. He goes down on one knee to drive at a wider one and Pope takes a smart, low catch.  FOW 52/2

1:21AM

OVER 18: AUS 52/1 (Harris 27 Labuschagne 22)                

Anderson trundles in, strikes Harris on the thighpad with one that skips through quickly. The left-hander looks for gaps but can’t find them until Anderson errs towards middle and Harris pops a single off his pads. 

1:18AM

OVER 17: AUS 51/1 (Harris 26 Labuschagne 22)               

Just the one off Leach’s over, a triumph of sorts for England’s spinner who is, nevertheless, bowling more economically but less threateningly than Lyon. 

1:17AM

OVER 16: AUS 50/1 (Harris 25 Labuschagne 22)              

Anderson nips one back into Harris who inside edges it for a single. Anderson sweeps his hand through his salt and pepper fringe and exhales. Labuschagne plays out three dot balls but also brings up Australia’s fifty with an open face back-foot glide through point. 

, Australia vs England, Ashes 2021-22 live: Score and latest updates from fourth Test day four in Sydney, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Labuschagne plays off the back foot

Credit:
Mark Metcalfe/Cricket Australia via Getty Images

1:13AM

OVER 15: AUS 47/1 (Harris 24 Labuschagne 20)             

Australia are embarked on the third-innings set-up which, as Nick Hoult reminds me, is almost always the most tedious part of the game. There’s a soporific quality to it as Australia milk Leach for two singles and a two. 

David Gower has changed into another extraordinary outfit of Aussie knee length socks, coach driver’s shirt and shorts, all in pink with galahs emblazoned on all three parts. 

1:07AM

OVER 14: AUS 43/1 (Harris 23 Labuschagne 17)            

Anderson returns and rolls off five dot balls to Harris, barely flirting with 80mph, until the left-hander drives, not convincingly, back up the pitch for two. 

1:02AM

OVER 13: AUS 41/1 (Harris 21 Labuschagne 17)           

Labuschagne slashes at a cut and edges it wide of Root for four. A second slip would have caught it but no one uses a second slip for a spinner in any circumstances, let alone these. 

Four singles milked to complement the boundary. 

12:59AM

OVER 12: AUS 33/1 (Harris 19 Labuschagne 11)          

Harris tucks a single off Wood off his thighpad, Labuschagne pulls two, getting over the ball and rolling his wrists and then does it again for a single at 90mph. Harris whips another single off his legs, ditto for Labuschagne as Wood tires. 

12:52AM

OVER 11: AUS 27/1 (Harris 17 Labuschagne 7)         

Should Billings make his debut next week, he will be Test cap #700, following Sammy Woods at 100, Andy Ducat at 200, Bill Edrich at 300, Peter Walker at 400, Norman Cowans at 500 and Michael Vaughan, 600. He’ll hope to emulate Vaughan (82 caps) or Edrich (39) rather than Coeans (19), Walker (3), Woods (3) and Ducat (1).

After drinks, Jack Leach comes into the attack. Labuschagne cuts the first for a single and, thankfully, comes over the wicket to Harris though with boundary riders square of the wicket to cover the bad balls. 

Harris uses his feet, doesn’t quite get to the pitch but fiddles it through midwicket for a single. 

12:45AM

OVER 10: AUS 25/1 (Harris 16 Labuschagne 6)        

Wood attacks Labuschagne from wide on the crease. The right-hander has modified his set-up against Wood after his dismissal in the first innings, walking across, back foot first. After leaving and defending, he works a single through square leg. Wood errs on to the left-handed Harris’s leg sump and he whisks it prettily for four. 

12:40AM

OVER 9: AUS 20/1 (Harris 12 Labuschagne 5)       

Broad overpitches to Labuschgane and Wood hares after the flick through midwicket, dragging it back from the rope, saving one as they complete three. Poor Wood is called back into action again at wide mid-off as he races and dives to stop Harris’s defensive push but the ball squeezes under his midriff and they run two. Broad isn’t happy but Wood had just run 100 yards to save one and is also in the middle of a gruelling spell.  

12:35AM

OVER 8: AUS 15/1 (Harris 10 Labuschagne 2)      

Wood crashes knee first into an iron pitch so hard that it can hold a stump rigid when struck by a 90mph cricket ball. Off comes an old scab and his whites are smeared with blood now. Wood has a leg slip in for Labuschagne and he almost tickles it off his ribs too him but lands a couple of feet short of Overton who has a fine pair of hands. 

Labuschagne top-edges his hook when a bounce grows big on him but again it drops short of deep backward square and they stroll a single. 

12:31AM

OVER 7: AUS 14/1 (Harris 10 Labuschagne 1)     

Broad changes ends and comes round the wicket to Harris whose Test place is hanging on a shoogly peg. Hameed dives over the ball after running it down from point and allows Harris a single off a thickish edge. 

Anderson stands at short mid-off for Labuschagne who defends the first and then angles the next through cover point for a single with an open face. 

12:25AM

OVER 6: AUS 12/1 (Harris 9 Labuschagne 0)    

Mark Wood is given an early burst, starting at 86mph and firing the first ball into the pitch and on to Harris’s gloves. The left-hander tucks one off his hip and Warner hangs the vertical bat outside off-stump to clip two through point. But Wood goes wider on the crease, cranks it up to 91mph and bags Warner. 

12:23AM

Wicket!!  

Warner c Sub (Pope) b Wood 3  Angled across him from over the wicket and he spars at it, nicking off to the sub keeper, His Holiness.  FOW 12/1

12:20AM

OVER 5: AUS 9/0 (Harris 8 Warner 1)   

According to our cricket correspondent, Nick Hoult, it looks like Sam Billings will play and keep wicket for England in Hobart next week. 

Maiden from Anderson to Warner, using the wobble seam to keep Warner guessing and the batsman needs to use soft hands and different angles to keep him out. 

12:18AM

OVER 4: AUS 9/0 (Harris 8 Warner 1)  

Warner gets off the mark with a push back up the pitch, just beyond Broad’s grasp as he dived, though he did get a finger to it. Harris is caught off the thighpad by Pope, the locum keeper, Broad saying there was no evidence to review. Broad squares Harris up as he scissors his bat down and tries to play through square leg but the leading edge pokes it to point. 

12:10AM

OVER 3: AUS 8/0 (Harris 4 Warner 0) 

Anderson starts with a short one and Harris pulls it for four. With Khawaja touted to move up the order and open to facilitate Head’s return in Hobart, perhaps he’s adopted the JFI approach. If he’s going to go down, he’ll go down punching. After defending two Harris wants a new bat. Three are brought out to him and he shadowbats with all three of them, eating up a couple of minutes before deciding on the third.  

England burn a review when Anderson nips one back in but barely bothered to appeal himself. 

12:09AM

NOT OUT

Yes, just as suspected, it was vaulting leg stump. 

12:08AM

England review

Harris lbw b Anderson  Too high? 

12:03AM

OVER 2: AUS 4/0 (Harris 4 Warner 0)

Warner is sent back after driving to cover where Crawley dives to stop and pushes the ball to Anderson to shy at the stumps. He was home anyway. Warner leaves Broad on length but is beaten on the outside edge when Broad angles one across and straightens the ball slightly outside off. Lovely ball if too short to threaten the stumps. Broad beats Warner again outside off and closes out the maiden with a straighter one that Warner defends. 

11:59PM

OVER 1: AUS 4/0 (Harris 4 Warner 0)

Jammy Harris edges the first ball from Anderson over fifth slip for four. They have only two slips and a gully. Anderson attempts to reduce Harris to a pillar of salt with a stare. Big movement from Anderson outside off and, as ever in the second innings, he is bowling fuller. Harris is the first dancing batsman, playing or leaving while on the hop. 

11:55PM

James Anderson has the new ball

At least he had a day without bowling yesterday. A full day. Ollie Pope is keeping wicket. Bairstow isn’t out there either. Overton fields for him. 

11:54PM

Sir Alastair Cook

“The only chance England have is to bowl them out for under a hundred so attack for 40 minutes and if it doesn’t work, switch to defence.”

11:44PM

ENG 294 all out

Australia will bat again 122 ahead as England’s second innings ends with a whimper, not a bang. Leach was out to a poor stroke and muddle thinking, Bairstow was out trying to pinch the strike and Broad was out in classic Broad 2.0 fashion. England will need rain to help them emerge without defeat, barring a devastating bowling performance without Stokes and a miracle with the bat. 

11:43PM

Wicket!!

Broad c Carey b Boland 15 Big swat and a top edge to leg gully where Carey runs to his right to take it.  FOW 294 all out. 

11:41PM

OVER 79: ENG 294/9 (Broad 15 Anderson 4)       

Broad clumps a cut to mid-off. No run and the left-hander lets the next one turn gently away from the bat before driving for a single through mid-off. 

Anderson leaves one then reverse-sweeps for four. Few play the stroke as well. 

11:39PM

OVER 78: ENG 289/9 (Broad 14 Anderson 0)      

Broad stands and delivers, smacking a good length ball over mid-off for four off Boland’s first ball. The next ball follows him as he retreats and crashes into the pads. Broad can’t play any other way these days, it’s either feast or famine, swings or blocks. The inside edge earns him one down to fine leg as he pulls, giving Bairstow two balls. 

Make it one. Bairstow departs to a rousing ovation for his fFantastic, career-saving innings. Shades of Basil D’Oliveira at the Oval in 1968.

 Anderson blocks the final delivery. Two overs before the new ball. 

11:36PM

Wicket!!

Bairstow c Carey b Boland 113Tried to run it down through point and feathers an edge through to the keeper.  FOW 289/9

11:32PM

OVER 77: ENG 284/8 (Bairstow 113 Broad 9)     

Bairstow reverse sweeps, Boland misreads the path of the ball and has to check back to haul it in a foot from the rope. England run three. Broad pushes a single through cover much to Lyon’s ire as Starc was stationed too deep. YJB sweeps hard and square for a single, Broad blocks one then sweeps and misses as the off-break turns past the toe of his bat.

Strange stroke off the final ball, a big paddle in the air through fine leg. They run one but can’t make it back for two so broad, essentially, has pinched the strike. Six off the over again.  

11:28PM

OVER 76: ENG 278/8 (Bairstow 109 Broad 7)    

No he won’t. It’s Boland and Broad plays and misses at one that bounces through at hip height down the fourth-stump channel from over the wicket. Broad swipes two down to deep midwicket then swats and misses at the following two short ones. The fifth ball is pushed up, Broad throws his hands at it, no foot movement and it flies off the inside edge down to fine leg and they run two.

The last ball is pitched up on leg and middle and he chips that one over mid-on for two. Great strike rate for StuBro: 100.00.

11:24PM

OVER 75: ENG 272/8 (Bairstow 109 Broad 1)   

Lyon has men out at deep backward square, deep midwicket and long on for Bairstow, who misses out on a sweep, falls over on one knee and then shifts his guard to centre and nails the next sweep for a single. 

Broad laps a single behind square to get off the mark off the first ball faced. Bairstow can’t beat midwicket. One ball left and the field comes in, slip goes to short midwicket but none are brought into play as the bounce means Bairstow is hit on the thighpad as he tried to flick it fine. 

Broad will have to face Starc.

, Australia vs England, Ashes 2021-22 live: Score and latest updates from fourth Test day four in Sydney, The World Live Breaking News Coverage & Updates IN ENGLISH

Cummins snaffles Leach

Credit:
Jason McCawley/Cricket Australia via Getty Images

11:19PM

OVER 74: ENG 270/8 (Bairstow 108 Broad 0)   

Starc is unhappy with where his left foot is landing on delivery and sprays a couple across Bairstow before correcting his line and the right-hander flicks it to square leg for the tightest of twos. He got home by 2ft. Bairstow turns down the single when he hits it straight to deep backward square because there was no hope of two. Starc tries to tempt him with a short one down the legside but he aborts the hook. Can he keep the strike – yes, courtesy of Carey’s fumble of a short, fast one that went over the stumps as Bairstow swished and missed. They run a bye. 

11:14PM

OVER 73: ENG 267/8 (Bairstow 106 Broad 0)  

Bairstow reverse sweeps Lyon for a single behind point. Australia are keen to bowl to Lyon who blocks three then throws caution to the wind and departs. They crossed when Leach was out and Bairstow farms the strike with a flick through square leg. 

11:12PM

Wicket!!

Leach c Cummins b Lyon 10 Slog swept one that dipped on him rapidly and bounced, top-edging it high to mid-on.  FOW 266/8

11:10PM

OVER 72: ENG 265/7 (Bairstow 104 Leach 10) 

David Gower, a connoisseur of premier grand crus, is dressed as a bottle of claret, entirely in burgundy from top to toe. Extraordinary. Looks like he’s been to Cordings of Piccadilly.

Mitchell Starc opens the bowling from the other end and Bairstow opens his right wrist to steer the ball through point for a single. Leach meets two good length deliveries with solid pushes before Australia appeal for a leg-side strangle as he flicks at one angled across him. It was nowhere near the bat. When Starc reverts to an off-stump line, Leach crunches a drive through mid-off for four. Well-played. Shades of Lord’s 2019. Starc cranks up the pace and Leach plays and misses though Carey persuades Cummins to review … spuriously. 

11:09PM

NOT OUT

He was nowhere near the ball. Australia burn a review – a preposterous use of DRS. 

11:08PM

Australia review

Leach c Carey b Starc No sound  but Carey seemed convinced. 

11:03PM

OVER 71: ENG 260/7 (Bairstow 103 Leach 6)

Lyon strikes Leach on the gloves with one that spits off a good length but England’s spinner keeps it down and then chips the next delivery over mid-off for two, Good stroke. He shapes to cut but is beaten by the bounce and reverts to Brigadier Block mode at the end of the over. 

11:01PM

The players are out

The trumpeter will give us his Jerusalem, Nathan Lyon will open the bowling to Jack Leach. 

10:57PM

Scott Boland has had a couple of injections

As x-rays show he hasn’t broke a rib. He says he is available to bowl. 

10:51PM

Nick Hoult has been doing his morning ward round

And gives us England’s bulletin:

Jonny Bairstow has been for a scan/x-ray after a blow to his right thumb during yesterday’s play. He will resume batting this morning. We are awaiting results of the scan and will evaluate at the end of the Test match.

Jos Buttler has been for an x-ray after sustaining a blow to his left index finger keeping wicket on day two. We will evaluate the extent of the injury at the end of the Test match. As a result of the injury, substitute fielder Ollie Pope will keep wicket in Australia’s second innings.

Ben Stokes has been for scan this morning to determine the extent of his sore left side. He sustained the injury bowling on day two. We will evaluate the extent of the injury and update at the end of the Test match.

Sounds a but like my late father, a GP at the end of his career, used to say: “We will have to wait, watch and see.”

10:42PM

Some news from the SCG

The hand injuries suffered by Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow are so severe that 12th man, Ollie Pope, who has kept for Surrey, will keep wicket for England when Australia bat again. 

10:37PM

Good evening

And welcome to live coverage of the fourth day’s play from the fourth Test at the SCG. That’s not a sentence I thought I would be writing earlier this morning when the rain finally relented and 36 for one rapidly became 36 for two, 36 for three and 36 for four as England’s only two batsmen with half-centuries in the series, Joe Root and Dawid Malan, fell to Australia’s tall, mercilessly precise and quick bowlers in the most dispiriting passage of play in an already demoralising series. Each of the strokes payed by the openers and Nos 3 and 4 which led to their dismissals was wince-inducing and incited an urge to turn to drink at 2.30am.

And yet, hope abandoned, Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow, at first watchfully, tentatively and, in Stokes’ case streakily when the ball cannoned into off-stump but the granite like soil wouldn’t allow the stump any purchase to move and dislodge clung on and then began to bat with their usual character, buried beneath grim application all series. Now, by virtue of Stokes’ 66 and Bairstow’s unbeaten 103 despite that bowel-shrivelling blow on the end of his thumb plus the efforts of Mark Wood’s dauntless heart in contributing 39 of the most joyful runs one could ever wish to witness, England have salvaged the possibility of a draw, particularly given Scott Boland’s stiffness after crashing to earth at the crease when bowling so well.

Yes, they are still 158 runs behind, have only three wickets remaining and the new ball is due in 10 overs but just by showing some spirit as well as skill, those wanting England to prosper can now, at least, hope against hope.

Bitter experience tells us it’s often at times like this, when they have revived some optimism as at the Gabba on the fourth evening, that they fall apart again on resumption but, although they are expected to start on time at 11pm GMT,  with a 90 per cent probability of showers, heavy clouds and “the chance of a thunderstorm, possibly severe”, England can escape.

It won’t be easy. Australia have formidable bowlers, Nathan Lyon is rarely tonked two days in a row and Boland could have recovered from last night’s lameness. Yet, time can be on England’s side if three or four more show the same pluck as Stokes, Bairstow and Wood. We can dream …

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