Sport Cricket The Ashes: Crucial breakthroughs put pressure on England on remarkable day four

The Ashes: Crucial breakthroughs put pressure on England on remarkable day four

Bright start: David Warner celebrates catching out Joe Root. Photo: Getty
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Josh Hazlewood claimed his second post-lunch wicket to turn up the heat on England’s brave run chase to claim the Third Test at Headingley on Sunday.

After Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow pushed England within 121 runs of a stunning victory by reaching 4-238 at lunch on day four, Hazlewood (4-66) claimed the crucial wicket of Bairstow (36) and then had Chris Woakes (1) caught at mid-off by Matthew Wade to reduce England to 7-261.

In between, a direct hit by Travis Head caught Jos Buttler (1) short of his ground to be run out for 1 to serve up the nail-biting finale.

Chasing a victory target of 359, the duo saw off the danger of the new ball to go to the break with Stokes on 32 not out and Bairstow on 34.

But Bairstow was dismissed for 36, shortly after lunch, minutes after he had successfully challenged on review his caught-behind dismissal.

Marnus Labuschagne took the catch off the bowling of Hazlewood.

Then a mix up between danger man Stokes (48no) led to Buttler being called through for a single, only to be sent back.

Earlier Australian bowler Nathan Lyon broke through early on day four of the third Test, having England captain Joe Root caught by David Warner in slips for 77.

After 80 overs England had been 4-166, still 193 runs behind.

Australia took the new ball at 80 overs and brought back its pace attack, with Ben Stokes on seven and Jonny Bairstow on 2.

Labuschagne, who top scored with 80 in his side’s second innings, had earlier backed the bowlers to bowl out England and retain the Ashes.

England had resumed on 3-156 chasing a further 203 for victory

“You always find over here there’s big partnerships but then there’s one, two, three wickets,” said Labuschagne, who was run out on day three in a quest for quick runs.

It can happen very quickly, so that’s why you’ve just got to make sure you shut that scoreboard down, make sure you keep the pressure on.

“When you lose one or two wickets all of a sudden the scoreboard can look a lot different, you add two wickets to it.

“That’ll be what we’re trying to do [on day four], trying to make sure we’re shutting down the scoreboard and making sure we’re bowling balls in good areas with that new ball.”

England’s Joe Denly admitted batting against Australia’s bowlers on day three was as hard as anything he’s faced in his career.

Denly chalked up his first 50 of the series after coming the crease with his side in crisis at 2-15 on Saturday and showed a guts and determination that was lacking from the whole England batting line-up in their pitiful 67 all out on Friday.

The 34-year-old was made to scrap for every run by the miserly Australian attack in a vigil that lasted 155 balls as he and skipper Joe Root, who finished 75 not out, put on 126 for the third wicket.

Pat Cummins (1-33), Josh Hazlewood (2-35), James Pattinson (0-23) and Nathan Lyon (0-42) all bowled magnificently with just 22 runs coming from the final 21 overs of the day in a fascinating contest between bat and ball at a sun-drenched Headingley.

Same time tomorrow? England’s Joe Root and Australia’s Nathan Lyon. Photo: Getty

Denly was dismissed by Hazlewood when a rising delivery hit him on the gloves and Tim Paine took the catch and then said what he’d faced at Headingley was as tough as anything he’s experienced as his side closed on 3-156 – a deficit of 203 runs .

“It was tough, they made you work hard and are obviously very aggressive as well,” Denly said. “It’s probably some of the hardest batting to do, in terms of getting runs

“The bowlers weren’t too bad in terms of chirping, obviously when you lose early wickets they get their tails up and find that extra bit of energy.

“They’re always chirpy or have a bit to say but if you get through those periods it gets quieter – we found that today.

“With the partnership I had with Root, we felt we were getting on top of them.”

Meanwhile, Jason Roy has hit a new low in his unconvincing attempt to become a Test opener.

Roy is expected to feel the wrath of England’s selectors after the third Ashes Test in Leeds, where he screamed “f––– off” and dropped another f-bomb as a camera operator followed him off the field after being dismissed on day three.

Roy’s outburst came almost seven weeks after he was fined for raging at an umpire’s decision in the World Cup semi-final against Australia.

Match referee Javagal Srinath had not levelled a charge at stumps, although he may yet decide to.

But that is the least of Roy’s worries as he struggles to reproduce his potent World Cup form, which included a match-winning 85 in the semi-final that ended Australia’s campaign, in the longest format.

The 29-year-old’s miserable debut Ashes continued on Saturday, when he was clean bowled on eight by a sensational delivery from Pat Cummins.

Roy’s average as a Test opener is now 8.85, with his 72 on debut against Ireland coming when England used Jack Leach as a nightwatchman opener.

Roy has been the weakest link in a misfiring top order that is likely to be reshuffled for the fourth Test that starts on September 4.

Former Australia captains Ian Chappell and Ricky Ponting have been among the many pundits to question Roy’s Test credentials.

“Not only is he out of his depth opening the batting, but he’s out of his depth at Test level,” Chappell said on Nine’s coverage of the Headingley Test.

England captain Joe Root and coach Trevor Bayliss have both backed the Surrey batsman throughout the series, although they’ve publicly disagreed over whether he should open or be demoted down the order.

-with AAP