After 50 years at Manchester Stadium, England’s dream of winning the Ashes series after 8 years has been dashed.
Rain washed the trophy away from England and landed on Australian shores. Australia retained the Ashes trophy with the fourth Test match ending in a draw. The stadiums are being set up with the intention of reaching the result in the Test matches going on now. ‘Bazball’ followed by England One of the main objectives of the system is win or lose, not a draw. The last 17 Test matches that Stokes has captained have resulted in a win or a loss.
Although England struggled at the start of this Ashes series, they learned their lessons and brought in fast bowlers to stage a comeback in the third match. England went into the field looking to win this 4th match to clinch the Ashes series. The Australian team played without any spinners in this Test. England won the toss and elected to field. Australia scored 317 runs as Khawaja lost his wicket at the start and wickets kept falling at regular intervals even though the next players played well.
Lapuzanne and Marsh had the highest score of 51 runs. Starc was not out until the end and scored 36 runs off 93 balls. Woakes, who bowled well in the England team, took 5 wickets. Broad took 2 wickets in this innings and became the second fast bowler to take 600 wickets in Test cricket. Even though the pitch cooperated with the batting, the Australian players could not build a big innings or a good partnership. Neither pair formed a partnership even after twenty overs. Similarly, Green and Marsh added 65 runs together which was the highest partnership.
English player Duckett, who came to play on the second day, took away the wicket of Starc, and the next England players played well. Moeen Ali and Root cooperated well for Crawley who played well from the start and developed a partnership.
They didn’t do what Australia did. England took control of the game and stunned Australia. In the afternoon session after the lunch break, England scored 178 runs in 25 overs. English player Crawley played well and scored 189 runs.
Root not only scored 84 but also put on a 206-run partnership with Crawley. Brooks and Stokes came next and contributed well with the batting. Bairstow remained unbeaten till the end and added 99 runs even though all the wickets fell for England. Hazlewood bowled brilliantly and took 5 wickets but it did not help Australia much.
England scored 592 runs and took a lead of 275 runs. It is noteworthy that in this match too they played with a run rate of 5.5.
The rain that had interrupted England’s play on the third day had stopped with a light drizzle. The Australian players who came to bat next were unable to handle the pace of Mark Wood. At the end of the third day, Australia had lost four wickets for 113 runs. In this three wickets were taken by Wood and one wicket by Vokes. Despite the fall of wickets on the one hand, Labuzane showed his consistent batting and was on the field at the end of the third day scoring 44 runs.
Labuschenne and Marsh put up a good partnership until the lunch break on the fourth day, after which rain interrupted. Lapuissance scored a century as Australia battled hard to bring the Aussies back into the contest. Getting Root to bowl helped England as the England bowlers struggled to break the partnership.
When Root bowled, Lapuzanne was caught by the keeper on the outside edge and was dismissed for 111 runs. Throughout this series, part-timer Root has taken the important wickets of Carey, Green and Hat at the time of need for England. The fourth day came to an end when rain came again with Marsh on 31 and Green on 3.
The fifth day was rained out and the match ended in a draw. This gave Australia a 2-1 lead in the series and Australia retained the Ashes trophy as even if England won the last match the series would end in a draw.
Stokes, who declared so quickly in the first match, delayed declaring in this match with a good lead and knowing there was a chance of rain, which was a setback for England.
It remains to be seen whether England will win the last match at the Oval and keep the faith of the England fans in the current team and Bazball or if Australia will win and prove themselves as World Test Champions once again, it remains to be seen.