Jonny Bairstow silences critics with Manchester masterclass as England continue to dominate at Old Trafford

England dominates the fourth Ashes Test with a massive 275-run lead, setting up a thrilling finale.

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Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow
Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow. (Photo Source: Twitter)

England have taken a commanding lead in the fourth Ashes Test against Australia in a thrilling display of cricketing prowess. With a first-innings lead of 275 runs, the hosts are in a favourable position to level the series. History also favours England as they have emerged victorious in all 12 instances when they have secured a lead of over 200 in the Ashes.

The hero of the English innings, Zak Crawley, whose explosive knock of 189 put the Australian bowlers on the back foot from the outset. He was ably supported by Moeen Ali, Joe Root, Harry Brook, and Ben Stokes, all of whom contributed with significant runs to propel England to a formidable total of 592 in response to Australia's 317.

One of the talking points of the match was Jonny Bairstow's resilient innings, which unfortunately ended on a frustrating 99*, making him the second batter to be stranded on 99 in the Ashes, joining the legendary Steve Waugh from 1995. However, Bairstow's sensational performance has cemented his name alongside MJK Smith, Geoffrey Boycott, and Michael Atherton as the only English batters to have two scores of 99 in Test cricket.

The pressure is now on Australia to bat sensibly and put up a mammoth score to save the Test match. Aussies will need their top order to fire, and the likes of Steve Smith and David Warner will be crucial in anchoring the innings. However, with two days still remaining in the Test, England's bowlers will be eager to capitalise on any opportunity to dismiss their opponents early.

Josh Hazlewood was the standout performer for Australia in the first innings, taking a five-wicket haul, while Mitchell Starc and Cameron Green managed to claim two wickets each. But English batters' relentless onslaught, even against the usually lethal Hazlewood, made it a challenging day for the visitors' bowling attack.

Despite being 2-1 down in the series, England has shown tremendous grit and determination in this Test match. Old Trafford has witnessed some exceptional cricket, and fans eagerly anticipate a thrilling finish. If England can carry forward their momentum and secure a victory here, it will set up a nail-biting final Test, making the Ashes decider one for the ages.

As cricket enthusiasts across the globe hold their breath, the battle between bat and ball continues. England's resurgence has electrified the series, and with Australia's reputation as a formidable opponent, the stage is set for an epic cricketing showdown. The outcome of the fourth Test at Manchester will undoubtedly reverberate through cricket history, and fans can only hope for an enthralling conclusion to this Ashes saga.

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