Bairstow, Wood put England in complete command of Manchester Test

Tags: The Ashes 2023, England vs Australia, 4th Test at Manchester, Jul 19-23, 2023, Australia, England, Jonathan Marc Bairstow

Published on: Jul 21, 2023

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Under-pressure England keeper-batter Jonny Bairstow struck 99 not out off 81, while Mark Wood picked up 3/17 as the hosts continued to assert their dominance over Australia in the fourth Ashes 2023 Test at Old Trafford in Manchester. After extending their first innings from 384/4 to 592, England then reduced Australia to 113/4 by stumps on Day 3 on Friday, July 21.

At the start of the day, both of England’s overnight batters went on to cross their respective half-centuries. Ben Stokes took on the bowling from the word go and enjoyed some luck as well. He was the first man to be dismissed for 51 as he dragged a delivery from his opposite number Pat Cummins to the stumps.

Harry Brook reached 61 and was looking good for a lot more when he top edged a short ball from Josh Hazlewood to deep backward square leg. The Australian fast bowler then dismissed Chris Woakes (0), Wood (6) and Stuart Broad (7) to complete an impressive five-wicket haul.

Bairstow, however, continued to frustrate Australia, adding 66 for the last wicket with James Anderson (5). He struck 10 fours and four sixes in his blazing knock and was looking good for a hundred. He was stranded one short though as Cameron Green trapped Anderson leg before from round the wicket.

Australia’s top and middle-order fumbled for the second game in the innings as they lost four wickets for just 108 runs; Wood being the wrecker-in-chief again. The England pacer got the big scalp of Usman Khawaja (18), who nicked a pacy delivery outside off stump that also bounced awkwardly.

David Warner’s (28) woes continued as he tentatively dragged a delivery from Woakes back onto the stumps. Australia suffered another major setback when Steve Smith (17) was caught down leg attempting a pull; Wood completing 100 Test scalps. The England pacer also sent back Travis Head (1) with a vicious bouncer that the left-hander could only lob towards gully.

At end of play on Day 3 in Manchester, Marnus Labuschagne was batting on 44 and Mitchell Marsh on 1. Australia trail England by 162 runs and have a lot of work to if they want to save the Test. They will also hope for some assistance from weather, with rain predicted on the last two days of the match.

--By A Cricket Correspondent

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