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Australia dominant despite Bairstow defiance in Sydney

Australia strengthened their position with the ball on day third of the fourth Ashes Test against England in Sydney on January 6, 2021.
Australia strengthened their position with the ball on day third of the fourth Ashes Test against England in Sydney on January 6, 2022. Photo: ICC

Sydney, Jan 7 (MNN) Australia strengthened their position with the ball on day third of the fourth Ashes Test against England here on Friday, despite the best efforts of Jonny Bairstow.

Bairstow brought up England’s first century of the series, though he has work to do on Saturday, batting with the tail to close the 158-run first innings deficit. The tourists will resume on 258/7.

Despite a delayed start on another rain-affected day of play at the SCG, Australia came out firing with Mitchell Starc bowling Haseeb Hameed (6) in just the fifth over of the first session.

Zak Crawley and Dawid Malan survived the rest of opening spell shared between Pat Cummins and Starc, but they couldn’t deal with what came next.

In his second over of the innings, fan favourite Scott Boland gave the Sydney crowd plenty to cheer about when he pegged Zak Crawley’s off stump, dismissing the England opener for 18.

Three overs later, the Australian quick continued his remarkable form in his debut Ashes series, removing Joe Root for a duck.

The England skipper failed to manage Boland’s delivery outside off stump, edging the ball to second slip for an impressive catch from Steve Smith.

With the lunch break in sight, things went from bad to worse for the visitors.

Australia all-rounder Cameron Green got in on the action next, claiming the scalp of Dawid Malan (3), who flicked the ball off his hip to Usman Khawaja at leg slip.

Green’s delivery would be the last of the first session as England headed into lunch 36/4 with all the work to do.

After succumbing to more than 10 overs without scoring a run, including the loss of three wickets, England began their fightback with Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow at the crease.

It seemed to be Stokes’ lucky day as Cummins dropped the English all-rounder on nine runs and he was very fortunate not to walk three overs later. Green steamed in to Stokes, clipping his off stump but only for the bails to remain intact.

Australia’s misfortune proved costly as the England duo brought up a 50-run partnership before Stokes notched up his 25th Test half-century off 70 balls.

Stokes would fall to Nathan Lyon lbw on 66 with the off-spinner firing into the stumps from around the wicket, and Jos Buttler was given a cold welcome to the crease, hit on the glove by Pat Cummins.

Nursing a blow to his thumb, Buttler would fall two overs later to the Australian captain for a duck.

Bairstow countered with the tail, finding a valuable partner in Mark Wood, who hit three sixes and two fours in an entertaining evening knock.

Those three sixes were hit off the bowling of Cummins, though it was the home captain who had the last laugh, with Wood edging onto his helmet and into the hands of Nathan Lyon.

Bairstow moved into the nineties, and was accompanied by the resolute Jack Leach (4*).

Sat on 99* on the final over of the day, Bairstow became the first English player to reach triple figures in the series, slashing over the top of the slip cordon for a boundary. He’ll resume tomorrow on 103*.

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