Ashes 2017-18, 2nd Test, Day 4 – 5 Talking Points

Here are the talking points of Day 4 of the second Ashes Test.

Australian Team
Pat Cummins of Australia celebrates after taking the wicket of Dawid Malan. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

At the start of Day 4, Australia looked in great position to take a 2-0 lead in the Ashes. They took a huge 215 run lead in the first innings as the English batsmen struggled against the balanced bowling attack of Australia. From that position, England needed a brilliant performance to make a comeback in this ongoing day-night Test match. And they did get an inspired performance from their pacers as they took 4 wickets in the final session of Day 3 to make it exciting.

Even after losing 4 wickets for just 53 runs Australia was still in pole position at the start of day’s play. England knew that they needed to keep Australian second innings score as low as possible as conditions are difficult for batsmen. James Anderson was on song today as he took 3 wickets and completed a five-wicket haul, which is his first in Australia. Australia ended up on 138 in the second innings and set a target of 354 for England which is very tough.

England got off to a decent start in the second innings but lost few quick wickets before Joe Root took the situation under control. The England captain built a solid partnership with Dawid Malan to give a fighting chance to the visitors. Malan was dismissed by Cummins as England the day on 176/4. The visitors need 178 runs on Day 5 to level the series while the Australians need 6 wickets to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

1. James Anderson’s first fifer

When you are in a critical situation you need your star players to take the responsibility. James Anderson did just that as he took five-wicket haul for the first time in Australia to break the back of Australian batting. The right arm fast bowler took 2 wickets in the night session yesterday.

He dismissed Nathan Lyon and Peter Handscomb at the start of day’s play. This spell made it difficult for hosts to get any momentum as they finished at just 138 which gave a ray of hope to the visitors.

2. Mitchell Starc – the top scorer for Australia in 2nd innings

Australians failed to get any momentum in the second innings as wickets kept falling at regular intervals. No Australian batsman was able to stay at the crease for a long time. Mitchell Starc was the joint top scorer for Australia along with Usman Khwaja.

At one stage, it looked difficult for the hosts to even cross 100 in the second innings. The left arm pacer had different ideas though as he scored a quick-fire 20 to take Australia past 100. Starc perished while trying to score more quick runs but finished as the joint top scorer for the hosts which speaks volumes about the failure of the Australian batting.

3. Alastair Cook poor form continues

When you are chasing 354 in the fourth innings you need your experienced players to perform. England expected the same from Alastair Cook, who is out of form recently. Visitors must have been hoping that Cook, who is the leading run scorer in Test history for England would come up with the goods.

But Cook disappointed again as his bad form continued. He was dismissed by Nathan Lyon for just 16 which is very disappointing for a class batsman like Cook.

4. Joe Root-Dawid Malan Partnership

England got off to a solid start as the openers provided a decent platform. Stoneman looked particularly good as he scored at a good pace. But England lost 3 wickets in relatively short time as they were 91/3 at one stage and looked in a spot of bother.

Then Dawid Malan joined England captain Joe Root at the crease. Root looked at his fluent best while Malan kept battling on the other end. He provided good support to his captain who looked in great form. The two built together an important 78 run partnership.

5. Cummins strikes

At 169/3 and the close of play near it looked likely that England would go to the dressing room full of confidence. But the Pat Cummins had different as he bowled Dawid Malan who was batting well with Joe Root to bring Australia back into the game.

The wicket brought the match back in balance as Chris Woakes came out to bat as the night-watchman. Australia ended the day’s play at 176/4 still needing 178 more to level the series.