The fourth test in Manchester was filled with spectacular moments and gripping dynamics.
The Australian fans could not contain their excitement at the incredible achievement, but England had also received its share of applause for impressive defense.
So, it has finally happened. The Ashes urn is going to Australia for the next two years. As Stumped app informs, the victory was achieved following criticism of Captain Paine’s dubious decision causing loss to the rivals in the third Test. He has since admitted that his mistakes in leading his side in the field. The blunders, however, did not prove fatal. Here is how the game progressed.
How It Started
The first hour was survived by England with zero loss. However, Pat Cummings managed to land two blows right before the break. This included the big wicket in Ben Stokes, who showed no heroics in the final match, despite all the high hopes. Later, Nathan Lyon caught Joe Denly in close for 53, and the Australian cricketers had 66 overs to run through the bottom half of the rival line-up.
This time, the Australian Captain made no mistakes. He could not afford anymore flawed field placings. Paine came up with some decent strategic reshuffling resulting in five changes in his squad. Part-timers Labuschagne and Travis Head were brought in for the sake of stealing a wicket. And the very first ball after drinks caused the much-desired breakthrough. Starc trapped Bairstow in front. The umpire first ruled against the bowler but had to reconsider.
However, technology was clearly on England’s side, allowing Overton to overturn the LBW verdict to a Cummins delivery from Marais Erasmus. The ball tracker detected the ball had flown outside the line of off stump. This prevented a possible debate over whether it had gone onto the pad. But the situation was about to change.
After the tea break, Australian bowlers resumed the game feeling obviously revitalized. They immediately managed to deliver two strikes in consecutive overs. Josh Hazlewood breached Jos Buttler’s defenses. The Englishman paid the price for shouldering arms to a ball that hooped from outside off. Buttler had been successfully dealing with similar deliveries for two hours. However, he was obviously expecting a short ball based on the Australian Captain’s inclusion of more fielders in close.
Securing the Victory
Once Josh Hazlewood had claimed Craig Overton’s wicket late on day five, England’s fate was decided. Australians waited until the closing session of the match to secure the victory, while England still had hoped for another miracle in the light of Ben Stokes’ incredible feat in Manchester two weeks prior. However, nothing could save them.
The outcome remained unclear until late in the game. It was a quarter past six, and the floodlights were working. The video umpire announced that Overton was out LBW to Hazelwood, which translated into a 185-run win and the urn for Australia. The match was finished with 81 balls to spare.
According to the Australian Captain, there had been several nervous moments “coming off Headingley but I thought we learned from that”. His team was able to hold their nerve and demonstrate very good bowling. England, meanwhile, was fighting “really hard like we knew they would”.
And England was, indeed, doing their best. Hoping for a draw, the batmen had to suppress their natural attacking urges. Late in the game, tension soared as Jack Leach, who had just been promoted, impressed the audience with his unyielding defense. The crowd at Old Trafford welcomed every defensive shot, applauding vigorously. Leach had to stop to wipe his spectacles after Cummins had struck him on the grille, which was followed by one more accompanied by a brusque comment.
The light was fading and there were just two wickets left to get. At this point, the breakthrough came from Marnus Labuschagne, a concussion super sub, who ripped one wicket out from Leach.
England did their best
Despite the loss, it would be unfair to accuse the home team of weak play. They were clearly fighting hard in their hope of bringing the tournament to a draw. The team had shown incredible results in the World Cup final, and the preceding Test, but they just could not make it.
Joe Root expressed his bitter disappointment at the result, as the team had come so close to taking it to the Oval. However, he admitted that everyone was playing bravely, England showed character, and “every single one of them can be proud of that today”. The team now has to overcome the loss and level the series.
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