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In 2023, England narrowly defeats Australia at Old Trafford despite the inclement weather

Mark Wood’s late-game heroics helped England win the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford against Australia and the inclement Manchester weather.

Australia ended day three with a score of 113-4 and 162 runs adrift after Wood took 3-17 with his fast, hostile bowling.

England would be heavy favorites if the weather held out, but there is a chance of significant rain this weekend, especially on Saturday’s fourth day of play.

The home team is in a commanding position after posting 592 runs in the first innings, their best total in an Ashes Test at home since 1985.

Harry Brook scored 61, and Ben Stokes struck 51, but Jonny Bairstow’s not-out 99 was the highlight of the innings.

In a wild last-wicket stand with James Anderson, Bairstow contributed 66 runs before Anderson was lbw to Cameron Green, preventing Bairstow from reaching a well-deserved century.

Australia is batting for time and the rain with a 2-1 series lead and knowing that a draw is enough to keep the Ashes. Wood and Chris Woakes bowled their opening pair of Usman Khawaja and David Warner out of the game.

Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, who refused to back down, managed to calm the crowd until Travis Head was bounced off, and Wood found Smith hooking.

With Labuschagne still undefeated on 44, the weather poses a significant challenge to the home team as they attempt to extend England’s historic comeback from 2-0 down in the Ashes.

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Englishmen weigh the weather dilemma

Normally, England would have a comfortable lead to win the series-tying Test at this venue for the first time since 1981. According to the prediction, Saturday will be rained out, and Sunday will be cut short.

All this information would have been used on Friday to inform their batting strategy. The team’s declared goal was to score as many runs as possible in the opening frame since doing so would result in a victory more quickly, and, generally speaking, first-inning runs are simpler to score than second-frame runs.

The next two days will determine whether or not England batted too long. Their innings did not end until almost 15:00 BST, well past when most people would have anticipated them to stop.

Over that period, more and more proof accumulated that England’s assertiveness had confused the Australians. By the first ball of the day, all hope of winning the match had been given up, and there was palpable anger at Pat Cummins’ tactics and hilarious anarchy at the hands of Bairstow and Anderson.

Despite being behind 2-1 due to poor play in the first two Tests, England has been outstanding at Old Trafford and created a real chance to win.

They now appear to be the better team and will be favorites to win the third and deciding Test at The Oval, regardless of the outcome of this match.

Critical hits by Wood and Woakes

While England may be hampered by the weather, the pitch’s more irregular bounce could work to their advantage.

Australia was stable thanks to brief partnerships between Khawaja and Warner and later Labuschangne and Smith, but England’s arrival of Wood and Woakes in the third Test was crucial.

Khawaja put an edge behind off Wood’s second delivery, and Warner played on to his stumps in uncertainty.

Woakes nearly got Smith out without him scoring a run, but an edge to Joe Root at first slip was ruled not to have gone through by the third umpire.

Smith’s expression soured as Wood switched ends and sped up. Then, Smith top-edges to Bairstow for Wood’s 100th Test wicket after Head (who has never been effective against the short ball) catches at gully off Wood’s 91 mph delivery.

In addition to Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh caught 27 balls while still in the game.

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Ingenious Bairstow plays jokes on the Aussies

England started the day on Friday with a score of 384-4 and aimed to add to that total. Despite a morning high of 122 runs, the potential devastation was avoided.

Both Brook and Stokes helped themselves to fifty after beginning on day 14. However, runs were hard to come by because of the pushed-out field and the softball. Australian bowler Josh Hazlewood dismissed Brook and Woakes quickly after ten overs with the second new ball.

Not until the last man, Anderson, joined Bairstow (who had 49 out of 50 balls) did anything exciting happen.

To get to 50, Bairstow got rid of Mitchell Starc for six. When Australia again sent all nine fielders out to the boundary, they promptly lost control of the game, like they did on Thursday.

Bairstow, looking for payback for Carey’s controversial stumping in the second Test at Lord’s, tried to farm the strike by snatching a bye from wicketkeeper Alex Carey three times.

Against Cummins, Bairstow smashed three more sixes, the greatest of which was a huge hit over midwicket. Anderson resolutely blocked bouncers and nicked a four of his own, contributing to his team’s 50-run outburst off 31 balls.

After expecting the two of them to get him to 100, Bairstow sent Anderson back while still on 98. Anderson bowled Bairstow for 99, the first English batsman to be removed on 99 in a Test since Alex Tudor 24 years ago. The next delivery was the leg before.

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