The Ashes 2023: England makes a strong come back in 2nd Test (Day-4) Match Report (England vs Australia)

The fourth day of the England vs Australia’s second test of the Ashes 2023 series at Lord’s saw a great comeback from England. The hosts confined the visitors to a total of 279 runs with magnificent bowling by Stuart Broad who claimed 4/65, thereby breaking the backbone of Australian batting line up. Usman Khawaja remained the only successful batsman from the Aussies with 77 off 187 balls. After receiving a target of 371 runs on the score board, England got a stumbling start to their 2nd innings where they ended on 114/4 on Day-4.

The Ashes 2023, 2nd Test (Day-4): Australian innings got wrapped up quickly

The day started with Smith & Khawaja resuming Australia’s second innings at 130/2. Both the batters further added 57 runs to the total before Khawaja fell prey to Broad when he got a top edge & got caught by Pott at the fine-leg boundary. Hardly three more runs were added to the total for Australia when Tongue provided a crucial breakthrough as he claimed Smith’s precious wicket at a score of 190 runs.

The Aussies saw a ripple effect of losing early wickets of their two set batsmen, as they lost the third one within a frame of 10 runs when at a score of 197, Travis Head tried to hit a short ball by Broad which ended up in the hands of Root. Now, two new batters, Cameron Green & Alex Carey were on the crease and both added 42 runs for the sixth wicket. Trouble got deeper for the Aussies when once again they lost two back to back wickets of both set batters, that is, Green & Carey, at respective scores of 239 & 242 runs. Robinson claimed both of these wickets and brought back England into the game.

The last three wickets further added 37 runs to the total, taking the Aussies to 279 runs. Mitchell Starc played an unbeaten 15-run knock whereas Cummins, Hazlewood & Lyon, who came out to bat even after having calf-injury, contributed 11, 1 & 4 runs respectively. Out of the last three wickets, Broad claimed two wickets of Cummins & Lyon whereas Stokes claimed Hazlewood as his only wicket. As Australian innings ended at 279 runs, it gave a target of 371 runs to England, which included the 91-run lead the Aussies got in the first innings.

The Ashes 2023, 2nd Test (Day-4): Kudos to England’s bowling side

Stuart Broad played a vital role in bringing England back to the game by claiming four wickets which included Khawaja, Head, Cummins & Lyon. On the other end, Tongue & Robinson grabbed two wickets each. England’s aggressive bowling approach didn’t let the Aussies reach a big total as in the last game.

The Ashes 2023, 2nd Test (Day-4): England’s stumbling start

The Aussies gave a tough start to the hosts as Starc gave the first blow to England in the third over when at a score of 9, Zak Crawley ticked the ball down the leg side which went directly to wicket keeper Carey. Within a frame of next two overs, Pope followed the path when he got clean bowled on a in swing delivery by Starc.

Then came Joe Root who along with Duckett took England to a score of 41 when in the 13th over he fell prey to Cummins when he played a wide length ball and got an edge to get caught by Warner at the first slip. Shorty after Root left, the new batter Harry Brook was shown the way to pavilion by Cummins when he got completely beaten on a brilliant delivery by the ace seamer to get clean bowled.

In short, England could not sustain to the attack launched by Starc & Cummins which led to the hosts’ top order succumbing to 4-45 by 13th over. From hereon, both Duckett & Stokes played sensible innings to built a big partnership of 69 runs which took England to 114/4 before the stumps.

The Ashes 2023, 2nd Test (Day-4): Starc’s catch controversy

In 29th over, just two overs before stumps, Ben Duckett played a short ball by Green which hit the thick top edge of his bat and the ball travelled to the left side of the fine leg where Starc took a sliding catch. As he fell on the ground, the ball in his hands also appeared to have rubbed on the ground.

Third Umpire Marais Erasmus was convinced after watching the replays which according him showed that Starc had rubbed the ball on the grass while sliding on his knees on the ground. Ultimately, Duckett was called back to resume his innings.

The decision that came from the third umpire was in accordance to Law 33.3 of the Laws of Cricket, which stated that:

“The act of making a catch shall start from the time when the ball first comes into contact with a fielder’s person and shall end when a fielder obtains complete control over both the ball and his/her own movement.”

Contrary to this decision, many including the former Australia seamer, Glenn McGrath believed that Starc was in clear control of the ball though not in total control of his body when he rubbed the ball as he fell on the grass. McGrath seemed very disappointed by the Umpire’s decision. Here’s what he told BBC:

“The biggest load of rubbish that I’ve ever seen. If that’s not out, every catch I’ve ever seen taken should not be out. That is a disgrace. I’ve seen everything. That is ridiculous. Did the ground assist him catching the ball? Did him sliding aid the catch? It did not assist him, he had control of the ball.”

The decision is particularly confusing because a number of other catches where fielders, particularly diving in close, have just got their fingers under the ball, but it still touched grass, have been awarded recent

The Ashes 2023, 2nd Test (Day-4): At Stumps

Although, the controversial decision went in favour of the hosts, but the visitors still look in dominant position as England lost its first four wickets at a score of just 114 runs with Ben Duckett (50*) and Ben Stokes (29*) on the crease. Having six wickets in hands, England still required a mammoth target of 257 runs to level the series 1-1. But facing the in form Australia bowlers, Starc & Cummins would definitely put a challenge for the hosts to make a come back in the game.

BRIEF SCORE: Day-4 (2nd Test), The Ashes 2023
Australia: 416 (Smith 110, Warner 66, Robinson 3/100, Tongue 3/98, Root 2/19)
England: 325 (Duckett 98, Brook 50, Starc 3/88, Head 2/17, Hazlewood 2/71) 
Australia: 279/10 (Khawaja 77, Broad 4/65, Robinson 2/48, Tongue 2/53)
England:  114/4 (Duckett 50*, Stokes 29*, Starc 2/40, Cummins 2/20)

England requires 257 more runs to win

The Ashes 2023, 2nd Test (Day-4): Match Details

Venue: The Lord’s Cricket Stadium

Dates: 28 Jun to 02 Jul

Toss: Won by England, Chose to Bowl first

Umpires: Ahsan Raza (PAK) and Chris Gaffaney (NZ)

TV umpire: Marais Erasmus (SA)

Match referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)

Watch England vs Australia Live on:

United KingdomSky Sports
AustraliaChannel 7/Foxtel/Kayo Sports
United StatesWillow TV
South AfricaSuperSport
New ZealandSky Sports NZ
CaribbeanFlow Sports, SportsMax, ESPN+

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