Manchester: Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer revived England’s flagging hopes of victory in the fourth Ashes Test on Saturday with two wickets apiece to reduce Australia to 63-4 in their second innings at tea on the fourth day. But Steve Smith came to Australia’s rescue once again with a brilliant half-century. Aussies were 109 for four in 32 overs.
Australia, who will retain the Ashes at 2-1 up with one to play in the five-Test series if they win this match at Old Trafford, pushed their lead past 300.
Broad had tea figures of two wickets for 19 runs in nine overs and Archer 2-27, also in nine.
The sixth ball of Australia’s second innings saw left-handed opener David Warner out for his third straight Test duck when Broad, the successful bowler on each occasion, had him lbw.
It was the sixth time Warner, like Smith appearing in his first Test series since completing a 12-month ball-tampering ban, had fallen to Broad this Ashes.
The now familiar mixture of cheers and jeers greeted Warner’s exit, with the rueful batsman not even bothering with a review.
Fellow left-handed opener Marcus Harris (six) was also lbw to Broad, even though he decided to challenge Marais Erasmus’ decision.
World Cup-winner Archer, in only his third Test, had been down on pace during Australia’s first innings total of 497-8 declared.
But the express quick was back over the 90 mph mark on Saturday and it made a huge difference to his fortunes.
Marnus Labuschagne failed to reach fifty for the first time in four Test innings since coming in as a substitute for Smith at Lord’s when he was bowled lbw for 11 by Archer.
Labuschagne appeared to take exception to being given a ‘send-off’ by Broad as he left the field.
Travis Head then exchanged words with Archer after being hit by a rising delivery on the left bicep.
The next delivery saw Head drive Archer through the covers for four, but the ball afterwards saw Head clean bowled middle stump for 12 by a 91.7 mph Archer delivery that beat his forward defensive stroke.
England, who resumed on their overnight 200-5, avoided following-on with just one wicket standing thanks to Jos Buttler’s cover-driven four off Mitchell Starc.
That boundary came after Australia were unable to challenge an lbw decision against No 11 Jack Leach — whose last-man resistance in support of century-maker Ben Stokes helped England win at Headingley — because they had used up all their reviews.
Buttler was last man out in total of 301, bowled for 41 by Pat Cummins.
All of Australia’s three-man pace attack were in the wickets, Josh Hazlewood leading the way with 4-57....