Advertisement

CMCM

Updated on: Thursday, May 30, 2019, 01:15 AM IST

Ashes 2017-18: Alastair Cook leads England chase after Australia’s 327

England's batsman Alastair Cook pulls a delivery on the second day of the fourth Ashes cricket Test match against Australia at the MCG in Melbourne on December 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM WEST / --IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE-- |

England's batsman Alastair Cook pulls a delivery on the second day of the fourth Ashes cricket Test match against Australia at the MCG in Melbourne on December 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / WILLIAM WEST / --IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE-- |

Advertisement

Melbourne: Alastair Cook showed signs of finally getting back in the groove as England set after Australia’s 327 first innings total in the fourth Melbourne Test on Wednesday. Cook, playing in an English-record 34th consecutive Ashes Test, and his 151st Test overall, batted with growing confidence after a string of low scores as the tourists reached 72 for one at tea.

The former captain had scored just 83 runs in his previous six innings of the lost series, but with the pressure off, Cook got more into his stride.    At tea, England were trailing Australia by 255 runs with Cook unbeaten on 37 — his joint-highest score of the series — with James Vince not out 17. Nathan Lyon claimed the only English wicket with another blinding return catch, this time with his right hand ,to dismiss opener Mark Stoneman for 15.

 The off-spinner is making a habit of sensational catches, particularly his flying effort across the pitch to dismiss Moeen Ali in Adelaide off his own bowling. England earlier ended Australia skipper Steve Smith’sincredible three-year unbeaten run in Melbourne as they bowled out the hosts for 327. England, already an irretrievable 3-0 down in the five-match series, claimed Australia’s last seven wickets for67 runs to wrap up the hosts’ first innings shortly after lunch.

Advertisement

Debutant Tom Curran celebrated his first Test wicket as Smith chopped a short, wide delivery on to his stumps on76, just 30 minutes into the second day’s play. Smith had not been dismissed in a Melbourne Test match since Boxing Day 2014 and was on track for his third century of the series on a bat-friendly MCG pitch.

In the last three Boxing Day Tests, Smith scored 192against India, 134 not out against the West Indies and anunbeaten 165 last year against Pakistan. Smith threw his head back in annoyance as the bailsflew into the air. With his dismissal, Smith has now scored502 runs in the Ashes series at a stunning average of 125.50. It was an overdue slice of luck for Curran, who had David Warner caught on 99 only to have the dismissaloverturned for an overstepping no-ball on Tuesday’s openingday. Warner went on to score 103.

England got more return for bowling wide of the stumpswhen Mitchell Marsh also dragged on a Chris Woakes deliveryfor nine after his 181 in the third Test in Perth. His elder brother, Shaun, lost a leg before wicketreview on 61 off 148 balls to Stuart Broad. It was Shaun Marsh’s second half-century of the seriesafter scoring an unbeaten 126 in the second Adelaide Test.

Advertisement

Tim Paine became the third batsman to chop on to hisstumps in the session for 24, giving James Anderson his secondwicket, while Jackson Bird fell lbw to Broad for four. Pat Cummins was snapped up at slip off Broad for fouron the second ball after lunch, before Lyon was lbw toAnderson for a duck to end the Australian innings. Broad was the pick of the England bowlers with fourwickets for 51 runs in his best bowling performance in morethan a year.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Published on: Wednesday, December 27, 2017, 10:43 AM IST
Advertisement