Cricket

Aussies well placed to secure a draw

Australian batsman David Warner drives a ball as England’s Alastair Cook (R) looks on, on the fourth day of the fourth Ashes cricket Test match at the MCG in Melbourne.

Australian batsman David Warner drives a ball as England’s Alastair Cook (R) looks on, on the fourth day of the fourth Ashes cricket Test match at the MCG in Melbourne.  

David Warner was 40 not out, with captain Steve Smith on 25 and Australia still needing another 61 runs to make England bat again.

A morning that brought two wickets for England and a sniff of a drought-breaking Ashes win gave way to a bleak afternoon for the tourists as rain washed out most of day four on Friday and left Australia well-placed to save the fourth Test.

The home side was 103 for two in its second innings at the Melbourne Cricket Ground when rain interrupted play before tea and the showers lingered long enough for umpires to abandon the day without another ball bowled.

David Warner was batting on 40, with captain Steve Smith on 25 and Australia still needing another 61 runs to make England bat again.

But even with the promise of reverse swing, Joe Root’s bowlers face a big task on an unresponsive pitch.

With little cricket played, former Australia players and media pundits directed allegations of ball-tampering at England, with commentator Shane Warne suggesting seamer James Anderson had used his thumbnail to work on the ball.

Umpires warned both teams not to “scuff” the ball during the match but no reports were made to the match referee.

England had hope of cracking a first win after Alastair Cook’s unbeaten 244 propelled it to a first innings lead of 164.

It had resumed on 491 for nine in the morning but was unable to extend its total, with tail-ender Anderson dismissed first ball by paceman Pat Cummins.

That left former captain Cook unbeaten on his overnight score, a record total among openers who have “carried their bat”.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 8:13:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/rain-dampens-englands-hopes-of-ashes-win/article22324450.ece

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