On day four of the first Ashes Test between Australia and England at Gabba on Sunday, the hosts are on the verge of an emphatic win, as Steven Smith-led side finished the day with 114 for no loss on board in the chase of 170 in 34 overs.
However, Australia required another 56 runs on the final day — to lead the traditional five-match series 1-0 after England set the meager target of 189. Owing to such control and responsibility, Smith’s deputy David Warner is batting on 60 off 86 balls alongside debutant Cameron Bancroft, who scored his maiden fifty. Warner struck eight boundaries, as Bancroft collected five boundaries and a solitary six.
Warner brought up his 25th fifty on the 74th delivery while playing his 67th Test match. Australian opening batsmen rotated the strike with ease, before playing some delightful strokes – to bring Kangaroos closer to draw first blood in the 70th edition of Ashes in Brisbane.
England was rattled on 195 in 71.4 overs, as six batsmen failed to cross past the double-figure mark which further showed how the visitors struggled against the home team in the second innings.
Earlier, after resuming from the overnight score of 33 for two, as the hosts’ bowlers in the form of the new-ball duo; Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood claimed three wickets each, alongside off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who bowled the most number of overs in the second innings of Three Lions.
Lyon conceded 67 runs in 24 overs which included four maidens. On the penultimate day of the sold-out Gabba Test, opener Mark Stoneman and skipper Joe Root added 29 runs before the former perished on the bowling of Lyon when Australian skipper Steven Smith completed a regular catch.
For the third wicket Root and Stoneman added 45 runs, as the hapless England kept on losing the wickets at regular intervals. For England, the right-handed Root was the top-scorer with 51 runs off 104 balls, as he got trapped in front of the stumps by Hazlewood.
England lost the fourth wicket in the form of Dawid Malan when he got dismissed by Lyon after facing 17 balls for his four runs.
In the space of two runs, England lost last three wickets in the form of Jonny Bairstow followed by Stuart Broad and Jake Ball.
However, in the middle Moeen Ali and gloveman Bairstow tried to steady the ship, but Australia bowlers were on a role — to pile up the miseries for England batters. Bowling all-rounder Chris Woakes tried to stitch the partnership, but it was cut short by speedster Starc when Woakes was batting on 17 off 57 balls.
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Ali scored 40 off 64 balls. He smashed six boundaries which were most by any player in England’s second innings. On the other end, Bairstow faced 75 deliveries to score 42, as his innings comprised of two boundaries and a solitary six.