Glimmer of hope - Root and Anderson lead extraordinary England fightback in Adelaide crunch

England were 178 runs from a stunning comeback victory in the second Ashes Test after James Anderson grabbed five wickets and Joe Root steered the tourists to 176 for four at close of play on an extraordinary fourth day.



Wednesday, December 06, 2017

England were 178 runs from a stunning comeback victory in the second Ashes Test after James Anderson grabbed five wickets and Joe Root steered the tourists to 176 for four at close of play on an extraordinary fourth day.

Root, who eked out a half-century under the Adelaide Oval lights, will probably need to stay out in the sun for much of the fifth day if he is to lead England to a first Test win in Australia in nearly seven years. Root will resume unbeaten on 67 with Chris Woakes keeping him company after Dawid Malan was bowled for 29 by a Pat Cummins snorter shortly before the close.

"We're delighted to be in a position to have any chance of winning the game," said Anderson, whose five-for-43 gave him his first five-wicket haul in Australia. "There's a huge amount of work to do but we're in with a chance, which we didn't think we would be after the first couple of days. It would be huge for us."

Australia skipper Steve Smith will be hoping his bowlers can keep up the pressure on the final day and help him avoid the ignominy of becoming only the second captain to lose a Test after not enforcing the follow-on.

"We're still reasonably confident. Obviously the last two days haven't gone to plan but we're still in front of the game," said Australia bowling coach David Saker. "But it's getting closer and closer and Joe's batting has played a large part in that."

Anderson and Woakes, who took four for 36, had fired England's resurgence when they did the lion's share of the work of dismissing the Australians for 138 at tea.

Set a ground record 354 to level the series after last week's 10-wicket Brisbane defeat, England made a steady start before losing openers Alastair Cook (16) and Mark Stoneman (36) in the last half an hour of the second session.

Sri Lanka were reeling on 31 for three while chasing a 410-run victory target in the smog-hit third Test in New Delhi blighted by scenes of bowlers vomiting on the ground. Ravindra Jadeja struck twice in an over to rattle the visitors before bad light stopped play.

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