Fourth Specsavers Ashes Test, Emirates Old Trafford (day five of five)
Australia 497-8 dec & 186-4 dec: Smith 82; Archer 3-45
England 301 & 197: Denly 53; Cummins 4-43
Australia win by 185 runs
Australia defeated England by 185 runs to clinch the fourth Specsavers Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford and retain the Ashes with a match to spare.
The result means that Australia are still in with a chance of winning an Ashes series on English soil for the first time in 18 years.
Tim Paine’s men started the day needing eight wickets and the hosts needed to survive a minimum of 98 overs to save the game and keep the series alive.
England made good progress early in the day, keeping Australia’s bowlers at bay for the first 80 minutes. Pat Cummins made the long awaited breakthrough by bowling Jason Roy for 31.
With 40 minutes to until lunch, Ben Stokes and Joe Denly had to stay put.
It wasn’t to be however, as Stokes edged Cummins behind for a single. England were precariously placed at 84-4 at the first break.
After the luncheon interval, Denly and Jonny Bairstow emerged knowing that they had to bat long into the session and beyond. Denly (53) reached his half-century and was caught by Marnus Labuschagne at short-leg off the bowling of Nathan Lyon shorty after.
So it was now down to Bairstow and birthday boy Jos Buttler – who turns 29 today. The pair nudged the ball around, eating up the balls one by one. Runs required were now irrelevant but the pair added 45 before Bairstow was trapped leg before wicket by Mitchell Starc.
As long as Buttler was there England fans could remain hopeful of the draw. He and Craig Overton continued to push the ball around.
Buttler then received a beautiful delivery that jagged back in off the pitch and saw his furniture rearranged.
The chances of the draw faded fast. Winviz predictor dropped from 47% to only 19…
Overton hung on to watch Jofra Archer (1) and Jack Leach (12) fall at the other end. The tension was unbearable inside Old Trafford and the capacity crowd weren’t giving up just yet…
Then Overton fell lbw to Hazlewood with 81 balls remaining in day. England were so close to making the final Test at the KIA Oval next week a decider, but instead it’s just going to be a dead rubber with more World Test Championship points up for grabs.