ASHES DAY THREE, TEST FOUR – SESSION BY SESSION: England once again dominate Australia as Jonny Bairstow steals the show
- Bairstow hit an unbeaten 99 as England brought Australia to the sword again
- They need six more wickets to secure victory and level up the Ashes series
- England dominated from start to finish and only rain could cost them victory
England dominated the third day of the fourth Ashes Test, and now only rain can prevent them from winning the game and leveling the series.
Jonny Bairstow crushed an unbeaten 99 before Mark Wood continued his fine form and took three top-order Australia wickets, leaving the hosts needing just six more in two days of play with a healthy lead.
Ben Stokes’s side lead by 162 runs at the end of the game after posting 592 in response to Australia’s 317, largely thanks to Bairstow but also Zak Crawley’s 189 on day two.
The prognosis for the remainder of the game is not positive, but England will likely only need a couple of sessions of play over the last two days to regain the scalp needed to prepare for a nail-biting final Test at the Oval.
Here, Mail Sport’s Lawrence Booth takes you through the test, session by session, as well as the play of the day, of an exciting third day of the Ashes’ fourth test at Old Trafford.
Jonny Bairstow led the way for England on the third day of the fourth Test at Old Trafford
The England wicketkeeper hit an unbeaten 99 with the bat as he led Australia to the sword.
Mark Wood then stepped in, taking three first-order wickets as England edged closer to victory
MORNING SESSION – ENGLAND
Ben Stokes and Harry Brook reached half-centuries as England added to the misery for Australia’s bowlers, adding another 122 before lunch at 4:69 over.
It didn’t particularly matter that they lost four wickets, three to Josh Hazlewood. They had surpassed 500 and had taken full control of the game, as long as it didn’t rain.
AFTERNOON SESSION – ENGLAND
A staggering barrage from Jonny Bairstow, who finished unbeaten on 99, meant England hit 86 in 11.4 overs after lunch.
Bairstow alone contributed 58 of them off 42 balls, with four sixes coming on the leg side. After England were dismissed for 592, a lead of 275, Mark Wood had Usman Khawaja caught with his second ball, leaving Australia shocked 39 for one at tea.
Wood took the wicket of Usman Khawaja, who unsuccessfully checked, to get England going
AFTERNOON SESSION – ENGLAND
The England bowlers continued the good work of their batsmen. Chris Woakes persuaded David Warner to go on for 28, while Wood’s pace undid Steve Smith, who flapped in one off the side of his leg, and Travis Head, who shuddered into a floating gully.
On the stumps, only Manchester weather could deny England a win to square up the series.
Verdict: Another dominant day for England
PLAY OF THE DAY – FIERCE BAIRSTOW BLITZ
Jonny Bairstow had just taken out Australia captain Pat Cummins for six over square leg, when he went even bigger over midwicket – the sort of shot with which he lit up the summer of 2022.
Bairstow was back and England were heading to their highest Ash total at home in 38 years.
Bairstow’s big shot turned heads on day three, with a square leg six over Pat Cummins perhaps the highlight.