Ashes 2019: 4th Test – Root, Burns toil before Hazlewood strikes back on Day 3


England tried their utmost best to resist the full force of the Australian bowlers before finally enduring a mini-collapse on Day 3 of the Manchester Test. Joe Root and Rory Burns brilliantly blunted out the Australian bowling attack but a late evening charge from Josh Hazlewood completely changed the complexion of the game. For most parts of the day, it seemed as though England too would manage to post a big score on the board. But three quick strikes left them reeling at 200/5, still trailing the Aussies by 297 runs.

Here we take a few highlights from an eventful Day 3:

Root, Burns weather the storm

After the first session was washed off due to rain, Australian were quickly off the blocks. Hazlewood struck early to send nightwatchman Craig Overton back to the pavilion. Caution was the need of the hour for Root and Burns. And they did that brilliantly, coming through a tough phase where the Aussies were on top. After becoming more comfortable on the crease, they picked up the scoring rate, before eventually bringing up their respective half-centuries.

Also read: Steve Smith: Australia’s Phoenix rising from the Ashes

Pat Cummins brings the game back to life

As the game approached the final phase of the day, Pat Cummins summoned up every last bit of energy he had in his body. He was quite unfortunate to not pick up a wicket but his spell set up the platform for a late attack. With Root and Burns looking to up the ante after getting settled on the crease, the No.1 bowler in the world troubled them both with his variations. There was a healthy mix of bouncers, in-swingers and out-swingers, with the two batsmen almost finding him unplayable. England’s momentum was halted and what followed was a direct result of Cummins’ efforts.

Hazlewood breaks the English back

It was Hazlewood who reaped the rewards of Cummin’ brilliant work, picking up 3 late wickets in the day. Burns was the first one to go after battling so hard for his 81. Hazlewood managed to extract some movement and bounce out of a dead surface as the left-hander edged the ball into the safe hands of Steve Smith. The Australians could now sniff their prey. Root quickly followed as he failed to convert another 50 into a 100. The failure to get centuries will really start to play on Root’s mind now as he was trapped by Hazlewood for 71.

All of a sudden, the scorecard now read 175-4. Jason Roy, under pressure with questions over his Test credentials initially looked solid. But his technique was again exposed. Hazlewood got one through the gate with an in-dipper which exploited the gap between his bat and pad. This was all of a sudden a different story altogether. Bad light then brought an early end to play with England struggling to stay in the contest with Stokes and Bairstow battling it out.

Brief scores: England 200-5 trail Australia by 297 runs. (Rory Burns 81, Joe Root 71; Josh Hazlewood 4-48)