England secure grippling draw

Jago News Desk Published: 9 January 2022, 03:37 PM | Updated: 9 January 2022, 05:47 PM
England secure grippling draw

England earned a famous and battling draw on day five of the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney to end Australia's hopes of a 5-0 series sweep.

Stuart Broad (8no) and James Anderson (0no) saw out the final 12 deliveries, which had to be bowled by Australia's spinners due to fading light, as England ended on 270-9 in a notional chase of 388.

Australia had seemed primed for victory when the dismissal of England's last recognised batter, Jonny Bairstow (45 off 101), left the hosts needing two wickets from the final 10.4 overs at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Jack Leach (26 off 34) and Broad followed the dogged lead set by Bairstow and Ben Stokes (60 off 123) - who braved thumb and side injuries respectively to ply crucial knocks for their team - by thwarting Australia's attack for the next 52 deliveries with men swarmed around the bat.

Part-time leg-spinner Steve Smith had Leach caught behind by David Warner with the tourists 13 balls from safety - but Broad saw off Nathan Lyon and James Anderson (0) then blocked out Smith's final over.

England avoided defeat for the first time in the series and for just the second time in their previous 14 Tests in Australia, with Zak Crawley also impressing as he scored a fluent 77 from 100 deliveries at the top of the order - the first fifty by an England opener in a chastening series.

Jos Buttler (finger) will now fly home due to injury, with Sam Billings expected to make his Test debut in the fifth and final game in Hobart from Friday as Buttler's replacement behind the stumps.

Stoke and Bairstow also seem doubtful for the pink-ball fixture and paceman Mark Wood possibly is as well, having been thumped on the boot in his lbw dismissal at the hands of Cummins during a thrilling end at the SCG.

If Stokes and Bairstow have played their final acts of the series, they can take solace in helping ensure England have avoided a third 5-0 whitewash in 15 years in Australia after suffering that fate in 2006/07 and 2013/14.

Stokes winced every time he played a shot during his second fifty of the Test, while Bairstow played another gutsy knock having scored England's only hundred of this Ashes far in the first innings, during which he was cracked on the thumb by a scorching delivery from Cummins.

Stokes, Bairstow and Buttler (11 off 38) all fell in the final session as England slipped from 193-5 to 237-8 - Buttler and Wood (0) dismissed by vicious in-swingers from Cummins in the space of three deliveries.

However, Australia's victory bid was foiled by Broad, Leach and Anderson, with England now having one final chance to win their first Test in Australia since a thumping innings-and-83-run victory at the SCG in January 2011.

Head coach Chris Silverwood will return from Covid-19 isolation to lead England side in the Ashes finale in Hobart, with assistant coach Graham Thorpe having taken the reins for the Sydney Test.

Thorpe had urged England's batters to show "intensity" and make "good decisions" as they looked to deny Australia and Crawley seemed to heed those words as he scored only his second fifty since he made 267 against Pakistan in August 2020.

Source: Sky News