The Ashes, a celebrated cricket series that stands as a testament to the fierce rivalry between England and Australia, never fails to deliver moments of brilliance, strategy, and drama. This latest chapter, the fourth Test match at Old Trafford, promised high stakes with England keen to make a mark and Australia on the verge of retaining the coveted urn.
Australia vs England: Highlights
Cricket • 20 Jul, 2023 • 1,315 Views
By: Anand Swami
Every ball bowled and shot played becomes an integral part of the rich tapestry of this rivalry. As England made the brave decision to bowl first, we saw a day of cricket that oscillated between momentum shifts, audacious play, and pure passion.
Woakes Dominates the Day
Chris Woakes was the star for England, taking four wickets for just 52 runs. His spell turned out to be a pivotal moment as he ran through Australia's middle order on a sunny Wednesday afternoon. Australia ended the day with a score of 8-299, with their tail-enders holding the fort.
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Australia's Missed Chances
While Australia needed just a draw to retain the Ashes, they might rue the missed chances. Four of their key batters, including Labuschagne and Smith, got starts but failed to convert them into big scores. The top score was only 51, and as Ricky Ponting aptly put it, Australia let a golden opportunity slip away.
England's Historical Toss Decision
Ben Stokes took a courageous decision by choosing to bowl first. Historically, no team has won at Old Trafford after putting the opposition in to bat first. The decision seemed to pay off when Stuart Broad dismissed Khawaja early on.
Warner and Labuschagne's Resistance
Despite the early loss, David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne steadied the ship. Warner, however, edged one to Bairstow after making 32. The sun's reflection caused an unusual delay, adding drama to the already intense Test match.
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Smith's Aggression and Misfortune
Steve Smith, ever the entertainer, treated Moeen Ali with sheer disdain, smashing him over long-on for a massive six. But luck was not entirely on his side. After a promising start, Smith fell for a well-judged review, making his way back after getting trapped on the pads.
Broad's Historic Wicket
Broad had a day to remember, bagging his 600th Test wicket when he dismissed Travis Head. Only the second pace bowler to reach this milestone, Broad expressed the sentimentality of achieving this feat at the James Anderson End.
Marsh and Green's Counterattack
The partnership between Mitchell Marsh and Cameron Green was instrumental in adding some stability to Australia's innings. They brought up a quick fifty-run partnership, with Marsh reaching his half-century in just 56 balls. Unfortunately for Australia, their resistance was cut short by the returning Woakes.
The End of Day Drama
As the day neared its end, Mitchell Starc and Alex Carey provided some resistance. But Woakes had other plans, claiming Carey as his fourth victim. With the day coming to a close, Cummins and Starc ensured they stayed unbeaten.
The day ended with Australia in a precarious position. Broad's words summed it up, reminding everyone not to judge a pitch until both sides have batted. As the Ashes drama unfolds, both teams will be looking to seize every opportunity in this historic battle.
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