Cricket

Woakes, Wood and Brook keep England’s Ashes hopes alive

England 237 (Stokes 80, Cummins 6-91) and 254 for 7 (Brook 75, Starc 5-78) beat Australia 263 (Marsh 118, Wooden 5-34) and 224 (Head 77) by three wickets

The Ashes are nonetheless alive. England’s batters clinched a three-wicket win in a white-knuckled run chase at Headingley, led by Harry Brook‘s 75 on his dwelling floor earlier than Chris Woakes and Mark Wood took them throughout the road.

Australia, who would have sealed a primary away Ashes win since 2001 with victory, struck repeatedly on the fourth day to depart England in deep trouble at 171 for six. Mitchell Starc was the spearhead, taking two wickets both aspect of lunch – together with the middle-order engine room of Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow.

Brook and Woakes added 59 for the seventh wicket, England’s highest partnership of the match, earlier than Starc’s fifth wicket – Brook top-edging to cowl – gave Australia one other sniff. However Wooden, whose five-wicket haul within the first innings set the sport up for England, joined Woakes and iced the run chase.

Wooden hooked Pat Cummins over fantastic leg for six, then cleared his entrance leg to blast Starc by means of cowl and take the requirement all the way down to single figures. With 4 to win, he survived a top-edged swipe off Starc, Alex Carey unable to cling on after scrambling again in the direction of the boundary rope and diving at full stretch onto his entrance.

Then, with scores tied, Woakes opened the face and scythed Starc by means of level for 4, holding his arms aloft in celebration earlier than embracing Wooden. The pair’s all-round exploits during the last 4 days have stored England alive within the sequence: they’re two-one down heading into the fourth Check at Previous Trafford on July 19.

There’s a nine-day break earlier than the beginning of that Check, one for which each groups will probably be grateful after one other exhausting, exhilarating day which noticed each groups let management of the sport slip from their grasp. Australia had been behind for a lot of the sport nevertheless it took till Brook’s partnership with Woakes for England to claim their dominance on the chase. Even then, there was a twist – nevertheless it got here late sufficient for them to scrape dwelling.

England wanted an additional 224 runs to win at first of the fourth day however misplaced a wicket within the fifth over of the morning: Ben Duckett was smashed on the shin by Starc, falling over to the off aspect. His evaluate couldn’t save him, with ball-tracking projecting that the ball would have crashed into his leg stump.

Unexpectedly, it was Moeen Ali who walked out at No. 3, after Brook had deputised for the injured Ollie Pope in that function within the first innings. The experiment didn’t final lengthy – Starc ripped out Moeen’s leg stump with a 90mph/144kph rocket – however gave the phantasm of extending England’s batting line-up and crucially, allowed Brook to return to No. 5.

Joe Root traded boundaries with Zak Crawley both aspect of drinks however by no means settled, and a change of ball within the nineteenth over introduced a wicket within the twentieth. Crawley crunched Mitchell Marsh by means of the off aspect with a trademark cowl drive, however Marsh’s subsequent ball was a fraction shorter and drew the skin edge.

Brook performed positively from the outset, spanking Scott Boland by means of cover-point for consecutive boundaries, however his stand with Root was a short one. Cummins dug one briefly, angling down the leg aspect, which Root tried to drag however gloved by means of to Alex Carey. It was not Cummins’ finest ball however prolonged his outstanding dominance in his head-to-head battle with Root.

Stokes, no stranger to a Headingley run chase, calmly labored his first ball away by means of the leg aspect for 4 however was strangled down the leg aspect within the second over after lunch, flicking Starc by means of to Carey to fall for simply 13. Starc smiled wryly, exerting his appreciable affect on a second successive Check.

Bairstow joined Brook, who had reached 42 after a handful of false pictures early in his innings, however didn’t final lengthy. He inside-edged his sixth ball for 4, previous his leg stump, then chopped his eighth onto his center stump, crushed by Starc’s motion again into him; after 78 on the opening day of the sequence, Bairstow has added 63 runs throughout his subsequent 5 innings.

Australia sensed a gap. They had been 4 wickets away and Woakes hardly exuded calm early on, repeatedly enjoying and lacking and selecting up boundaries through each edges of the bat. However with Cummins reluctant to introduce Todd Murphy – who bowled solely two overs on the final day – Australia had been reliant on their three major seamers.

Brook introduced up a 67-ball half-century, his second in successive Checks, however each batters continued to maintain Australia’s fielders , significantly when dealing with the brief ball. Prime-edges looped up tantalisingly with out going handy, and ball repeatedly beat bat earlier than the drinks break.

Brook crunched boundaries away by means of level off Cummins and the lesser-spotted Murphy, however was rushed by Starc’s brief ball and spooned a catch to cowl through the highest edge, trudging off with 21 runs nonetheless required. However It took England solely 14 balls to knock them off.

Murphy’s good parry on the midwicket boundary denied Woakes a sure boundary, however Wooden – fuelled by adrenaline – took on Cummins’ bouncer and swiped him into the Soccer Stand for six. When Wooden crunched Starc by means of cowl, England had been shut; when Woakes slashed him by means of level, they’d their first Ashes win in 4 years.

Matt Curler is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98


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Printed : 2023-07-09 17:31:31

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