Australia need just 56 for victory in the first Ashes Test at the Gabba
England are on the brink of a resounding defeat in the first Ashes Test after Australia dominated the fourth day’s play.
The hosts closed on 114 without loss in pursuit of just 170 to win after England were bowled out for 195 in their second innings.
David Warner (60 not out) and his debutant opening partner Cameron Bancroft (51no) both bagged half-centuries for Australia, while England failed to build on a half-century from captain Joe Root (51) to set a competitive total.
Moeen Ali’s dismissal, stumped after the tightest of third-umpire rulings amid mutterings about a bulge in the hand-painted popping crease counting against him, did not help England – who lost their last five wickets for 40.
Moeen Ali had to go, and there would have been dissenters whatever third-umpire Chris Gaffaney’s decision. An inconvenient bulge in the whitewash line painted on the popping crease did not help him, but Moeen perhaps could not have left himself in such a tight spot by simply making sure he left his back foot in his ground.
England were 143 for five – lead of 117 – when Jonny Bairstow took the attack to the dangerous Nathan Lyon and deposited him high over midwicket for six. It did not change this game, but demonstrated the tourists are up for the challenge here – come what may.
Five for 40 – England’s last five wickets did not amount to a great deal, although as their record of trademark collapses goes of late, this was far from extreme.
England were admirable at times here over the first two days especially, but floundered principally against Steve Smith – with his unbeaten 141 out of 328. The captain came up with four second-innings catches too as Australia steered another victory course at a venue where they have been invincible for almost 30 years.
Last knockings of a fine Test match on the final morning, then on to the pink ball in Adelaide.
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