England staring a final Ashes Test loss in the face

Australia lead England by 133 runs with six wickets remaining in final Test at the SCG

England’s captain Joe Root dives but fails to stop the ball hit by Australia’s Usman Khawaja during the third day of the fifth Ashes Test. Photo: David Gray/Reuters

England’s captain Joe Root dives but fails to stop the ball hit by Australia’s Usman Khawaja during the third day of the fifth Ashes Test. Photo: David Gray/Reuters

 

Fifth Test, day three: Australia 479-4 v England 346 all out

England were facing an embarrassing 4-0 Ashes series defeat after a day of thankless toil in the fifth Test at the SCG.

Usman Khawaja’s painstaking, five-and-a-half-hour 171 and Shaun Marsh’s unbeaten 98 helped Australia cruise into a lead of 133 on 479 for four after the third day.

Other than a maiden Test wicket for Mason Crane, there was little else to celebrate for Joe Root’s beleaguered side.

Day three at the Sydney Test is marked by wall-to-wall pink attire, a stipulation which has reached its 10th anniversary and is almost universally observed as funds are raised for the McGrath Foundation cancer charity.

Against that colourful backdrop, Khawaja eventually succumbed to Crane — who thought he had his man more than two hours and 39 runs earlier only for a no-ball overstep to rule out lbw on DRS for the debutant leg-spinner.

He struck instead in his 31st over, and the innings’ 131st, when he had Khawaja stumped — but before the close, an all Marsh alliance between Shaun and Mitch merely extended England’s suffering.

The tourists managed only two wickets in the day as Khawaja shared stands of 188 with Steve Smith (83) and then 101 with the elder Marsh — whose little brother then weighed in with his half-century from only 64 balls, including six fours and two sixes, en route to 63 not out at stumps.

By tea, England were already in a deeply unenviable position.

They had mustered a solitary success in 60 overs and two full sessions — albeit that of their nemesis Smith.

There was slow turn available but mostly just solid, unrewarded graft for all England’s bowlers.

It was to their credit that they did not wilt to the point of offering easy runs, despite stifling heat under cloudless skies.

Neither, though, did they very often pose a credible threat — and on the one occasion they ought to have had Khawaja, in the over which followed Smith’s departure and the last before lunch, Crane shot himself in the foot with his marginal overstep.

It was a close call but controversial in only very few eyes as Crane had nothing behind the line when his front foot landed.

In an uncanny repeat of circumstances which ruled out maiden wickets for Ben Stokes in Adelaide 2013, Tom Curran last week in Melbourne and Mark Wood in between, it was nonetheless cruel on Crane.

His leg-break from round the wicket would have hit the top of middle-stump as Khawaja played no shot and therefore won the overturn lbw on DRS.

A rare mistake from Smith had provided England’s first breakthrough in more than 60 overs, when the prolific Australia captain chipped a low caught-and-bowled back to Moeen Ali off a closed face.

Khawaja and Marsh then, however, batted through the middle session with no hint of bother.

Marsh completed his careful, 121-ball 50 with his sixth four just before the break.

But almost immediately afterwards, Australia at last lost their mainstay Khawaja as Crane deservedly struck.

The 20-year-old saw the studious left-hander on the charge, so drifted a leg-break wider before it turned back through the gate to have him stumped.

If England thought they had just the breakthrough they needed, however, they were sadly mistaken — because Marsh and Marsh were in the mood for increasingly swift consolidation in yet another century partnership.

Australia first innings

Batsman Runs Balls 4s 6s

C T Bancroft b Broad 0 7 0 0

D A Warner c Bairstow b Anderson 56 104 6 0

U T Khawaja st Bairstow b Crane 171 381 18 1

S P D Smith c & b Ali 83 158 5 0

S E Marsh 98 207 10 0

M R Marsh 63 87 9 2

Extras 2b 3lb 0 1w 2nb 8

Total for 4 479 157.0 overs

Bowler O M R W

J M Anderson 30 11 52 1

S C J Broad 23 2 70 1

M M Ali 37 9 125 1

T K Curran 20 2 71 0

M S Crane 39 3 135 1

J E Root 8 3 21 0

Fall of wickets Order Name Runs

1 C T Bancroft 1

2 D A Warner 86

3 S P D Smith 274

4 U T Khawaja 375

England first innings

Batsman Runs Balls 4s 6s

A N Cook lbw b Hazlewood 39 104 3 0

M D Stoneman c Paine b Cummins 24 24 4 0

J M Vince c Paine b Cummins 25 54 4 0

J E Root c Marsh b Starc 83 141 8 0

D J Malan c Smith b Starc 62 180 6 0

J M Bairstow c Paine b Hazlewood 5 7 1 0

M M Ali c Paine b Cummins 30 58 2 0

T K Curran c Bancroft b Cummins 39 65 6 0

S C J Broad c Smith b Lyon 31 32 1 2

M S Crane Run Out Marsh 4 7 0 0

J M Anderson 0 3 0 0

Extras 2lb 0 2w 4

Total for 10 346 112.3 overs

Bowler O M R W

M A Starc 21 6 80 2

J R Hazlewood 23 4 65 2

P J Cummins 24 5 80 4

N M Lyon 37 5 86 1

M R Marsh 7 0 33 0

Fall of wickets Order Name Runs

1 M D Stoneman 28

2 J M Vince 88

3 A N Cook 95

4 J E Root 228

5 J M Bairstow 233

6 D J Malan 251

7 M M Ali 294

8 T K Curran 335

9 S C J Broad 346

10 M S Crane 346

Umpires: H D P K Dharmasena, J S Wilson, R S Madugalle, S Ravi.

Australia: C T Bancroft, D A Warner, U T Khawaja, S P D Smith, S E Marsh, M R Marsh, T D Paine, M A Starc, P J Cummins, J R Hazlewood, N M Lyon.

England: A N Cook, M D Stoneman, J M Vince, J E Root, D J Malan, J M Bairstow, M M Ali, T K Curran, S C J Broad, M S Crane, J M Anderson, S Sub.

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