Set to chase 251, England began Day 4 on Sunday, July 9 at 27/0. However, they kept losing wickets at regular intervals as Aussie left-arm pacer Mitchell Starc claimed 5/78. Ben Duckett was trapped lbw by Starc for 23, while Moeen Ali, who was promoted to No. 3, was also cleaned up by Starc for 5.
Zak Crawley batted well for his 44, but played a poor stroke to be caught behind off Mitchell Marsh. Joe Root looked in decent touch for his 21 before falling to Pat Cummins for the third time in a row. England’s chances of victory suffered a body blow when Ben Stokes (13) was caught down leg off Starc. The left-arm seamer also dismissed Jonny Bairstow for 5.
At 171/6, Australia seemed to have the upper hand. However, the depth of England’s batting came to the fore as Brook and Woakes added a game-changing 59 runs for the seventh wicket. Brook batted with maturity that he showed when he was scoring runs consistently. He struck nine fours before perishing to Starc.
Brook’s wicket with the score at 230 lifted Australia’s hopes again. However, Woakes and Wood combined to lift England past the winning mark. While Woakes hit four fours, including the winning stroke, Wood slammed one six and a four.
Speaking after the win, Stokes said, “Another down to the wire game. Nice to get over the line and keep our hopes alive. Won the toss, we could have batted and bowled.”
On his innings of 80 in the first essay, he added, “Looked a good wicket. Saw the way Mitch Marsh batted. Came in and took the game on. The outfield was on the quick side. We had Woody and Woakesy back in and they did well. We picked teams and look how they can impact us in the game. We try to see how they can be influential in the game.”
The fourth Ashes 2023 Test will be played at Old Trafford in Manchester from July 19 to 23.
--By A Cricket Correspondent