Ashes 2017-18: England face further embarrassment as Australia reach 479–4

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ENGLAND’S bowlers spent another brutal 90 overs in and took just two wickets on day three of the Fifth Test.

It is all shaping towards another crushing victory for Australia and a 4-0 series loss. Certainly, it will require some epic, rearguard batting by England in their second innings if they are to escape another defeat.

Aussie No3 Usman Khawaja took his score to 171
EPA

By the close, Australia had reached 479 – 4 which is 133 runs ahead of England’s first innings total of 346 all out.

Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the day was that England managed to dismiss Steve Smith before the Aussie captain completed his fourth century of the series.

Smith was caught and bowled by Moeen Ali for 83 – which represents almost a failure by his current standards.

Aussie No3 Usman Khawaja took his score to 171 before he gave leg-spinner Mason Crane his first Test wicket.

Leg-spinner Mason Crane his first Test wicket
EPA
Mason Crane his first Test wicket for England
EPA

Khawaja advanced down the pitch but Crane saw him coming and tossed the ball wide. It turned sufficiently to beat Khawaja between bat and pad and Jonny Bairstow completed the stumping.

Crane would have dismissed Khawaja earlier on 132 but TV replays showed that he overstepped for a no-ball by the narrowest of margins. The DRS ball-tracking device confirmed that Khawaja would have been out lbw.

England managed to dismiss Steve Smith before the Aussie captain completed his fourth century of the series
Reuters
Steve Smith was caught and bowled by Moeen Ali for 83
EPA

Crane joined Tom Curran, Mark Wood and Ben Stokes as England bowlers in the past four years to be denied a maiden Test wicket by a no-ball.

In fact, Crane generally bowled okay despite his low wicket haul.  His control was decent, he extracted some turn and could easily have picked up another couple of victims.

But he must eradicate the habit of aborting his run-up if he feels uncomfortable approaching the crease. It happened at least 20 times during Australia’s first innings.

The Marsh brothers, batting together for the first time in Test cricket, compounded England’s misery with a 161 partnership for the fifth wicket.

Mitch Marsh was the more aggressive and struck Moeen for a couple of sixes in the same overs while Shaun Marsh continued his heavy scoring in this series.

Mitch Marsh was given out lbw to Tom Curran on 55 but the decision was overturned on review.

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