Australia push England to the brink

2ND TEST, DAY 4—Hosts four wickets away from a massive win in Adelaide.

England supporters react as they stand under a board showing the series results after England lost the second Ashes cricket test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval December 9, 2013.Australia ... more 
England supporters react as they stand under a board showing the series results after England lost the second Ashes cricket test against Australia at the Adelaide Oval December 9, 2013.Australia captured England's four remaining wickets before lunch to close out an emphatic 218-run victory in the second Ashes test on Monday. REUTERS/David Gray (AUSTRALIA - Tags: SPORT CRICKET) less 
1 / 30
Reuters | Photo by DAVID GRAY / REUTERS
Mon 9 Dec, 2013 7:48 AM IST
Scores | Action images

A belligerent Australia ended a rare display of defiance by England's middle order batsmen to push to the brink of victory in the second Ashes test in Adelaide at the close of day four on Sunday.

Staring down the barrel of a second straight defeat, Joe Root struck a defiant half-century to raise a glimmer of hope for England, but his dismissal for 87 snuffed it out quickly and the tourists were 247-6 at the close, needing a further 284 runs to win or to bat through Monday to save the test.

Following Root's dismissal, test debutant Ben Stokes followed for 28, leaving wicketkeeper Matt Prior (31 not out) and Stuart Broad (22 not out) with the task of an improbable rescue mission on a fifth day wicket.

Some rain and a possible storm is expected on Monday, but a similar forecast for Sunday failed to stop a minute of play as England dug in grimly against their opponents, who grew increasingly aggressive in their verbal exchanges as the day wore on.

"We were confident with the runs we got on the board," Australia paceman Peter Siddle told reporters.

"We knew it was going to be tough. We toiled well all day. Six wickets down, and hopefully a few more early ones tomorrow.

"I think the big factor is going to be the new ball. It's still only 10 overs old."

Prior and Broad rode their luck in the final overs against the new ball, with edges soaring into the air only to land between fielders, frustrating an Australian team that had it far too easy in England's first innings of 172.

England's batsmen finally surpassed 200 in a single innings for the first time this series and much of the credit was due to the cherubic-faced Root, who battled hard for nearly four-and-a-half hours.

Spinner Nathan Lyon eventually coaxed an edge from the 22-year-old Yorkshireman that deflected off his pad and popped up for wicketkeeper Brad Haddin to clinch his 200th catch in tests.

The 22-year-old Yorkshireman was given a warm ovation as he trudged off and the fighting knock may settle the debate about the number three spot in Jonathan Trott's absence.

"Certainly we had a scrap on," Root told reporters. "We knew we had to front up today and try and put in a performance and show we were up for a fight.

"If there's a bit of weather about I think we might be able to (avoid defeat). I think we're obviously up against it."

Stokes also showed grit to remain for 90 balls for his 28, but the new ball proved too hot for the New Zealand-born all-rounder and he was out nicking a catch off seamer Ryan Harris straight to Australia captain Michael Clarke at second slip.

Root reacts to his dismissal on Day 4. (Reuters)


FINE CATCH

Australia had set England a victory target of 531 with a declaration before the start of play and the tourists chase began disastrously, with openers Alastair Cook and Michael Carberry losing their wickets cheaply to rash shots before the first drinks break.

Mitchell Johnson, who tore through England's first innings with a spell of 7-40, struck with his third ball of the day to remove England captain Cook for one run.

Having beaten Cook for pace in the first innings with a searing delivery that crashed into his stumps, Johnson flung in a short ball that the England skipper hooked poorly, the top edge flying high to be caught at long leg by Harris.

Carberry, who scored a fighting 60 in the first innings, followed soon after when he pulled Siddle to almost the same position where Lyon took another excellent catch to dismiss the opener for 14.

Siddle then captured the breakthrough wicket of Kevin Pietersen (53) to end a stubborn 111-run partnership with Root, continuing his domination of the South Africa-born batsman.

Part-time spinner Steven Smith struck soon after to remove Ian Bell for six when he threw up a full toss to leave the tourists on 143-4 at tea.

Bell, who was a rock in England's insipid first innings of 172, drove it to mid-on where Johnson took a sharp, low catch. (Editing by Peter Rutherford/Patrick Johnston)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

Bangalore lose nerve, lose game

IPL 7, GAME 11—Vinay's over, Lynn's catch turns last-over finish in KKR's favour. More »

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting IPL will not save cricket

Boycotting the IPL as a means of protest against the grime in the game may not yield the desired results. More »

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

Jadeja spins out Rajasthan in close chase

IPL 7, GAME 10—Chennai beat Rajasthan by 7 runs after last-over scare. More »

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gambhir a knock away from striking form - KKR coach

Gautam made an eight-ball duck in the opening game against Mumbai and in the second game against Delhi, he lasted only half those balls. More »

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

Rivals say Srini group delaying BCCI special general meeting

The group opposed to Srinivasan alleged that since BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel belongs to the president’s group, he was intentionally delaying the SGM… More »

April 24: A legend is born

As Sachin Tendulkar turns 41 - here's a look at some offbeat moments from the Master Blaster's innings. More »

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

Cleaning up the game starts with fans

... because, as recent events reveal, the BCCI has little intention of doing it. More »

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

SL in 'difficult place' after Farbrace exit

Sri Lanka depart for assignments in Ireland and England in two weeks, and Sanath Jayasuriya suggested Marvan Atapattu would be interim head coach for those… More »

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Chandimal axed as T20 captain

Sri Lanka's cricket selectors on Wednesday sacked Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain and replaced him with Lasith Malinga, while Angelo Mathews was… More »

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups

Herath has been rested, while the team will be without the veteran pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who retired from T20 internationals… More »

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

'BCCI should have picked panel with care'

Dalmiya said that it was the first time that the BCCI had been faced with a situation where the apex court had hauled up the Board and it should have acted… More »

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

Farbrace is England's assistant coach

The ECB continued the restructuring of the England coaching set-up on Wednesday by announcing the appointment of Paul Farbrace as assistant coach. More »

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

SC asks Mudgal committee to continue

Mukul Mudgal has communicated to the court his willingness to take up the investigation and has been asked to specify the terms and modalities on April… More »

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

Sri Lanka players resolve pay dispute

The pay dispute between Sri Lanka Cricket and its 13 contracted players ended on Wednesday when the latter agreed to accept 10 percent of the participation… More »

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

Hope to be fit for next game - Pietersen

With two heavy defeats at the hands of Bangalore and Chennai, Daredevils currently languish near the bottom of the table. More »

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

'SC decision could hurt BCCI's status'

The Supreme Court prefers that the Justice Mudgal panel further investigate the IPL corruption scandal. More »

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

Mudgal panel drops bombshell in court

The Mukul Mudgal probe committee dropped a bombshell in the Supreme Court on Tuesday by making a sensational claim that it was forced to stop audio recording… More »

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

Perfect Punjab trounce Hyderabad

IPL7, GAME 9—Maxwell (95, 43b), Balaji (4-13) set up 72-run win. More »

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Have the ECB played an unfair game?

Money talks, but it is in light of this ICC shakeup that the ECB's act of soliciting of another team's coach deteriorates from free-market aggression to… More »

Farbrace quits for England post

Farbrace quits for England post

He will assist Peter Moores who was unveiled as the new England coach on Saturday. More »

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Moin appointed to manage Pakistan team

Pakistan on Monday reappointed Moin Khan as chief selector and manager of the national team, a week after fellow former captain Rashid Latif turned down… More »

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

Chennai smash Delhi for first win

IPL7, MATCH 8—Raina-led middle order, superlative catching give CSK a 93-run win. More »

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

'BCCI reputation lowest in 80 years'

The former BCCI president says he was "disillusioned" by the happenings at the emergent working committee meeting on Sunday. More »

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Injured Bravo to miss rest of IPL

Dwayne Bravo is set to be sidelined for at least four weeks due to a shoulder problem. Bravo sustained the injury when attempting a catch on the boundary… More »