Search

The Ashes: England draw on positives

PUBLISHED: 08:26 30 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:26 30 December 2017

England's Alastair Cook reacts after being hit during day five of the Ashes Test at the MCG (pic Jason O'Brien/PA)

England's Alastair Cook reacts after being hit during day five of the Ashes Test at the MCG (pic Jason O'Brien/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

England yet again had no answer to Steve Smith as the Australia captain took his Ashes tally to 604 runs this winter with his third century to close out a predictable stalemate at the MCG.

The hosts can no longer achieve a third 5-0 whitewash in England’s last four visits, but after Smith’s unbeaten 102, batting against type on a deathly slow pitch, they dashed any hopes of a consolation victory for Joe Root’s men in this fourth Test and so stay 3-0 up with one to play.

Smith lost the assistance of an equally becalmed David Warner (86) in late morning, after Australia resumed still 61 in arrears with two wickets down, but he batted throughout the final day to steer Australia to the security of 263-4 to close out the draw 99 runs in front.

There was zero promise for England through the majority of the first session, as they failed to get the old ball off straight and there was precious little variable bounce either.

Root had already given Dawid Malan’s part-time leg-breaks a run when he decided there was no harm in finding out if he himself could maybe turn the ball the other way.

Warner had spent more than five hours in stoic self-denial, no mean feat for a batsman whose career has been characterised throughout by attacking intent and flair.

The sight of Root’s occasional off-breaks was too much, though, and he went after the first he faced – the Yorkshireman’s second delivery in all – and paid the price.

Root pitched it perfectly into a foothold just outside the left-hander’s off-stump, but Warner went after it all the same and managed only to skew a catch high into the safe hands of James Vince at extra cover.

Shortly afterwards, Smith followed Warner’s slowest Test half-century with his own second-slowest – from 151 balls, 10 fewer than the opener – but when Shaun Marsh fell to a brilliant catch by Jonny Bairstow off Stuart Broad on the stroke of lunch, two wickets had fallen for six runs.

England therefore started the afternoon with renewed belief in the improbable, but Smith had other ideas.

Joined by Mitch Marsh, with whom he had put on a record 301 at the WACA, the world’s number one batsman was on a mission to protect his team’s series advantage.

Marsh needed 20 deliveries to get off the mark but, apart from squirting one thick edge just short of point, he was once again an able accomplice in his captain’s plans as Australia comfortably negotiated the second new ball.

After two sessions, the statistics bordered on an uncanny symmetry as Australia went from 61 runs behind to the same number in front – off 61.1 overs.

It was an unfeasible crawl, Marsh playing his own manful part with 10 almost strokeless runs from 97 balls up to tea.

In what remained of the contest, more of the same followed – interrupted only by the highlight of Smith’s century milestone, from 259 balls with six fours spread over almost seven hours – before an early close was mercifully agreed, with the home captain averaging 151.

*Australia have added spinner Ashton Agar to their squad for next week’s fifth and final Test in Sydney.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Barking and Dagenham Post visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Barking and Dagenham Post staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Barking and Dagenham Post account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Barking and Dagenham Stories

Yesterday, 18:14

Dean Elgar and Jason Roy put on an exhibition of power hitting to take Surrey to a six-wicket victory against Essex with five overs left unused at Chelmsford.

Yesterday, 13:00

A Barking primary school is celebrating a year of unprecedented sporting success after its teams picked up a host of awards and trophies over the school year.

Yesterday, 09:00

The MP for Dagenham and Rainham, Jon Cruddas, has renewed his appeals to protect the car manufacturing industry.

Yesterday, 08:44

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath is looking for a repeat performance when the Eagles take on Surrey in the next Royal London One-Day Cup contest at The Cloudfm County Ground on Sunday (11am).

Yesterday, 08:00

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Post readers this week.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

A school in Dagenham is receiving funding from the mayor to help make it more environmentally friendly.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Wondering what the weather has in store for us this bank holiday weekend? Watch our three-minute Met Office video forecast.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Essex batsman Varun Chopra was delighted to do his bit for the team in their Royal London One-Day Cup win over Somerset at Chelmsford on Friday night.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The festive season is a hectic time for many, with frenzied dashes to the shops for groceries and gifts, and parties to arrange and attend.

Newsletter Sign Up

Barking and Dagenham Post twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Barking and Dagenham Post
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now