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The Ashes: England hold on for a draw at the SCG in a thriller and escape whitewash



England have saved the 4th Ashes test holding off Australia on day 5 in an absolute thriller at the SCG. England drew the match with just one wicket in hand fending off the Australian bowlers by the skin of their teeth.


The 1st innings heroes Bairstow and Stokes were once again the saviours for England scoring 41 and 60 respectively. Opener Zak Crawley showed why there is so much hype around him with a sublime 77 to vindicate his selection.


The Australian bowlers toiled hard the entire day on a pitch that had some uneven bounce but was still good for batting. They needed just one wicket with two overs remaining in the day but the veterans Anderson and Broad held firm to earn England a draw.


England started the day at 30/0 and lost Hameed and David Malan early. Hameed once again poked at a ball outside off with absolutely no feet movement while Malan was bowled by Nathan Lyon with a slider.


Crawley single-handedly kept England in the game with an assured knock, leaving balls outside off-stump very well. But Cameron Green surprised him with a brilliant yorker and he was given out lbw for 77.


Root and Ben Stokes held fort for close to 25 overs but Boland once again came up with the breakthrough for Australia as he removed the England skipper Root. The Aussies went into tea still needing 6 wickets to win and England had 35 overs to negotiate.


Stokes completed his 2nd half-century of the test match, batting with a severe side strain. Bairstow too was suffering from the finger injury he suffered in the 1st innings.


Stokes got out after scoring his fifty edging one to first slip off Nathan Lyon with just 5 overs from the second new ball to give Australia an opening. Pat Cummins came into his own with the second new ball dismissing for Buttler and Mark Wood in the same over.


Boland got the well-settled Bairstow soon after to take Australia closer to victory. It was only a matter of time before the others followed but Jack Leach and Stuart Broad denied Australia for close to 10 overs.


With three overs remaining, it got really dark at the SCG and the umpires decided to allow only spinners to bowl. Pat Cummins threw the ball to Steve Smith and it proved to be a masterstroke as Smith got Leach edging to first slip.


It was left to the old guard of Anderson and Broad to see England through, this time with the bat. Lyon bowled the penultimate over but Broad played out all 6 deliveries and the pressure mounted on Anderson and Smith who faced off in the last over. Anderson, perhaps playing his last Test at the SCG, blocked out the last over to salvage a draw for England.


Match scores: Australia 416/8 dec. & 265/6 dec (Usman Khawaja 101* and 137, Cameron Green 74; Jack Leach 4-84) drew with England 294 & 270/9 (Zak Crawley 77, Ben Stokes 60, Jonny Bairstow 41; Pat Cummins 2-80, Scott Boland 3-30, Nathan Lyon 2-28).

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