Mark Wood bowls fireballs, he is rapid and ruffles up the batter. His fiery and hostile bowling performance has breathed new life into England’s battle against Australia on day three of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford. Wood’s exceptional spell of 3-17 left Australia struggling at 113-4 at stumps, trailing England by a considerable 162 runs.
While the home side appears to be in a dominant position, the looming threat of heavy rain on the weekend, especially on Saturday’s fourth day, adds an element of uncertainty to the proceedings.
England Right At The Top, Courtesy To Wood & Woakes
England’s commanding position was built on a monumental first-innings total of 592, their highest in a home Ashes Test since 1985, giving them a significant lead of 275 runs. The batting display was a collective effort, with Harry Brook (61) and Ben Stokes (51) contributing crucial runs. However, the standout performance came from Jonny Bairstow, who thrilled the crowd with an explosive and unbeaten 99.
Bairstow’s innings was nothing short of spectacular, and he added 66 runs in a sensational last-wicket partnership with James Anderson. The crowd was eagerly anticipating Bairstow’s century, but his hopes were dashed when Anderson fell lbw to Cameron Green, leaving Bairstow agonizingly short of a well-deserved hundred.
With the series standing at 2-1 in Australia’s favor and the knowledge that a draw would be sufficient for the possibility to retain the Ashes, Australia has adopted a cautious approach, batting for time and hoping to escape the impact of the impending rain.
Wood and Chris Woakes claimed the early wickets of openers Usman Khawaja and David Warner, putting the visitors on the back foot. However, the stubborn partnership of Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith dampened England’s spirits momentarily.
Wood, not one to be deterred, roared back into action and had Steve Smith caught while attempting a hook shot, sending a wave of jubilation through the English supporters. Shortly after, Wood’s sheer pace dismissed Travis Head, further bolstering England’s position.
As the day concluded, Marnus Labuschagne remained unbeaten on 44, presenting a formidable challenge akin to the unpredictable weather conditions for England’s quest to continue their unprecedented comeback from being 2-0 down in an Ashes series.
The upcoming days hold the promise of an enthralling battle between bat and ball, with England striving to build on their lead and Australia fighting to save the match and retain the coveted Ashes urn.
With ominous clouds looming overhead, England’s bowlers wasted no time in seizing the initiative on day three of the fourth Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford. The threat of bad weather heightened the sense of urgency as England aimed to wrap up Australia’s innings swiftly. With the Old Trafford crowd electrified, the bowlers delivered a scintillating display, led by the fiery Mark Wood.
Wood made an immediate impact, claiming the crucial wicket of Usman Khawaja with only his second delivery of the day. Khawaja, attempting to negotiate Wood’s high-paced deliveries, edged the ball behind to Jonny Bairstow, departing with Australia at 39-1 by tea.
Chris Woakes followed suit, providing another vital breakthrough as David Warner fell victim to a brilliant delivery that shattered his stumps. Australia found themselves in a precarious position at 97-2, with the English bowlers showing no signs of relenting.
Mark Wood Completes 100 Wickets In Test Cricket
Mark Wood, who has been in sensational form, returned to wreak havoc once more. The momentous occasion of his 100th Test wicket came when Steve Smith offered a loose shot, handing Bairstow a comfortable catch. Smith’s dismissal left Australia struggling at 97-3.
The 33 years old has played 30 games for England, and has bagged 101 wickets at an impressive average of 29. Wood and Woakes are only fast bowler in current English team who were also part of 2019 Men’s ODI World Cup.
After getting a two-for in no time, Wood continued to terrorize the Australian batting lineup. His blistering pace proved too much for Travis Head, who could only manage to sky the 91mph delivery into the waiting hands of Ben Duckett at gully. Head’s dismissal left Australia reeling at 108-4, and the visitors now face an uphill battle to build a competitive total.
As the dark clouds gather and rain threatens to disrupt play, England recognizes the importance of capitalizing on every opportunity to claim Australia’s remaining six wickets swiftly. With the series standing at 2-1 in favor of Australia, England’s hopes of leveling the series at 2-2 and setting up an Ashes decider hinge on their ability to maintain the pressure on the Australian batsmen.
The weather remains unpredictable, the stage is set for a thrilling contest between bat and ball. England’s bowlers, led by the indomitable Mark Wood, have laid the foundation for a potential comeback, but the final outcome will be determined by the resilience and determination of both teams in the face of challenging conditions.