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

Australia is 6 wickets away from completing a 4-0 win in the series.

Mitchell Marsh Australia vs England
Mitchell Marsh of Australia celebrates after reaching his century. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

After a pretty mediocre outing on the third day, England would have hoped to make a strong statement on the fourth day. However, Australia turned out to be insurmountable and England had another tough day at the office. Australian batsmen piled on more agony for the English bowlers as they racked up a massive total of 649/7 in 193 overs.

Shaun Marsh and Mitchell Marsh played brilliantly to fetch Australia a lead of 303 runs. Thereafter, the bowlers nipped out wickets to push the England team on the backfoot. In our article, we take a look at the five talking points from the fourth day’s play.

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1. Joe Root standing tall

Joe Root has been England’s most dependable batsman in all formats of the sport. He has shown a tranquil temperament has dragged his team out of precarious positions on several occasions. He, in all probability, will again be required to pull off the herculean task.

Root’s form has been topsy-turvy in the recent past. He has compiled half-centuries on a regular basis but hasn’t been able to translate them into something substantial. Nevertheless, he has another opportunity as he sits on 42 runs off 124 balls in England’s second innings.

The skipper walked in after Alastair Cook’s dismissal and has staved off the Australian attack with his solid technique. He looked determined at the crease and didn’t play extravagant strokes, which could have attributed to his dismissal.

2. Rough day for England’s bowlers

England bowlers have struggled during the entire length of the series. They need to pick up 20 wickets in order for a team to emerge victorious. However, England’s bowlers have been way below-par and Australia’s batsmen have cashed in with big scores.

They picked up three wickets on the morning of the fourth day, one of which came through a run-out. Their first wicket came in the form of Shaun Marsh when Mark Stoneman shot down the stumps with a direct hit.

Joe Root’s men had to wait for another 12 overs before they got rid of Mitchell Marsh after the Western Australian batsman accomplished his century. Their third and final wicket of the day came when a hoick by Mitchell Starc off Moeen Ali was easily pouched by James Vince.

3. Pat Cummins’ cameo

Patrick Cummins is generally renowned for his skills as a genuine fast bowler. However, he is no mug with the bat as he has contributed with runs on quite a few occasions. In Australia’s previous Test series against Bangladesh, he nearly helped his team snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

He has also played three useful knocks in the 40s in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. He replicated the same touch in Australia’s first innings at Sydney. He came in at the fall of Mitchell Starc’s wicket and started spanking the leather cleanly.

He dished out a short, yet breezy knock of 24 runs off 16 balls, which comprised of four glorious boundaries by the Westmead-born cricketer. Meanwhile, he also stitched a handy eighth-wicket stand of 36 runs with Tim Paine.

4. England’s stutter in the second innings

England’s batting has faltered throughout the five-match series. Consequently, they have slumped to some hefty drubbings. Barring a few knocks here and there, their batsmen have underperformed, to say the least.

They stuttered perilously in the first innings at Sydney courtesy some fiery bowling by the Aussies. With a trail of 33 runs in the second innings, they are staring down the barrel for another defeat. Mark Stoneman was trapped in front by Mitchell Starc in the third over to start proceedings.

In the sixth over, Nathan Lyon delivered a body-blow by castling Alastair Cook, England’s double-centurion from the previous game. James Vince became Pat Cummins’ first victim after which Nathan Lyon dismissed Dawid Malan to pick the fourth wicket for Australia.

5. Mitchell Marsh’s second Test century

Mitchell Marsh has recently opted out of the Indian Premier League, citing assignments for Australia in the upcoming days. The dedication to representing the national team has been palpable in the ongoing Ashes against England.

After notching his maiden Test ton at Perth Marsh’s confidence level skyrocketed. Subsequently, he scored another marvellous ton at Sydney. He was not out on an overnight score of 63 and carried forward the stupendous form on the morning of the fourth day.

He eventually stormed to a knock of 101 runs off 141 balls, a knock garnished with 15 boundaries and two sixes. However, soon after, he was cleaned up by Tom Curran, who picked up his Test wicket in Test cricket.

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