During the fourth day of the Fourth LV= Insurance Ashes Test at Emirates Old Trafford, Australia scored 317 (Labuschagne 51, Marsh 51; Woakes 5-62) and 214-5 (Labuschagne 111; Wood 3-27), while England tallied 592 (Crawley 189, Bairstow 99*; Hazlewood 5-126). With Australia still trailing by 61 runs, England’s hopes for the Ashes continue to hang by a thread as they prepare for the final day of the fourth Test against Australia.
Despite an onslaught of rain that threatened to wash out the entire fourth day, a brief dry spell allowed 30 overs to be played from 14:45 BST at Old Trafford. The persistent Labuschagne, who scored his second international Test century, and his unyielding partner, Mitchell Marsh, frustrated the English side for much of the game.
As dusk approached, England were instructed to switch to spin, and Joe Root’s off-breaks emerged as a surprising source of success. Root’s bowling led to Labuschagne’s dismissal by a sharp catch from wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow for 111, and almost resulted in Marsh’s dismissal too.
The arrival of rain at the scheduled 17:00 tea break put a halt to any further play, leaving Australia at 214-5, still 61 runs away from forcing England back to the crease. Marsh and Cameron Green ended the day with 31 and 3 runs respectively.
Weather forecasts predict more rain for Sunday, leaving England hoping for enough time to claim a victory that would tie the series 2-2 and set up the final Test at The Oval as a series decider. While a victory is now improbable for Australia, a draw would be enough to keep the urn in their possession.
The ongoing series has seen three nail-biting Tests, with the fourth Test’s drama stemming from England’s tussle with the weather. If the rain plays a deciding role in the outcome, it would be a significant letdown.
After enduring a downpour overnight and into the early afternoon on Saturday, the swift ground preparation allowed play to commence. However, despite optimal overhead conditions and an eager crowd, the English team faced an obstinate Australian duo in Labuschagne and Marsh on an unresponsive pitch.
Due to the wet ball, England’s previously potent reverse swing was absent. They were then told the light was unfit for fast bowling when they sought to introduce Mark Wood to the attack. However, this turned out to be fortuitous as Root became the most effective bowler.
As England plan to return on Sunday, they will be praying for favourable weather conditions. The possibility of 98 overs of play and a second new ball available nine overs into the day keeps their hopes alive.
Meanwhile, Australia aims to hold off England and extend their lead, which will make England’s route to victory more challenging. The inclusion of both Marsh and Green in this Test, to strengthen the batting lineup, was a strategic decision made with this situation in mind.
Despite a challenging series for Labuschagne, he stepped up when Australia needed him the most, hinting at a comeback with 51 runs in the first innings, and then scoring a potentially Ashes-saving hundred.
Despite the urgency of the situation and the high stakes, England’s seamers delivered a surprisingly subdued performance. The team wasted precious time deliberating over field placements and strategies. Yet, fortune came in the form of Wood being denied the chance to bowl, leading to Root and Moeen’s call to action.
Despite Moeen’s unpredictable bounce combined with loose deliveries, Root managed to constantly make things happen. He had faith in the on-field umpire Nitin Menon’s mistake for the Labuschagne wicket, celebrating even before the review was complete. In the same over, an inside edge from Marsh narrowly escaped Harry Brook’s clutches.
Australia’s Labuschagne expressed his disappointment at not being able to guide the team to the tea break. On the other hand, England’s batting coach Marcus Trescothick acknowledged their frustration but appreciated the additional play. However, BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew felt that the England team lacked their usual energy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ashes 2023 Fourth Test
What was the match situation during the fourth day of the Fourth LV= Insurance Ashes Test?
On the fourth day of the Fourth LV= Insurance Ashes Test, England and Australia battled under rainy conditions. Australia scored 317 and 214-5, while England had previously posted a score of 592. The day ended with Australia still trailing by 61 runs.
Who took the crucial wicket of Marnus Labuschagne on the fourth day?
England’s captain Joe Root took the vital wicket of Marnus Labuschagne on the fourth day of the Fourth LV= Insurance Ashes Test at Old Trafford.
What was the weather condition during the match?
The fourth day was largely rainy, which threatened to wash out the day’s play. However, a brief period of dry weather allowed for some play at Old Trafford. The forecast predicts more rain for the following day.
How did Marnus Labuschagne perform during the fourth day of the Fourth LV= Insurance Ashes Test?
Marnus Labuschagne performed commendably during the fourth day, scoring his second overseas Test century. However, he was dismissed by Joe Root for 111 runs, ending a stubborn partnership with Mitchell Marsh.
What is the significance of this match in the context of the Ashes series?
This fourth Test is significant as England’s hopes for the Ashes continue to hang by a thread. If England can force a win, the series would be level at 2-2, setting up the fifth Test at The Oval as a decider. For Australia, while a victory is now nearly impossible, a draw would be enough to retain the Ashes.
Who are the key players going into the final day of the match?
Joe Root, who provided an unexpected breakthrough with his off-breaks, is a key player for England. For Australia, Marsh and Green are crucial, who will be hoping to build a lead against England on the final day.
What does the weather forecast predict for the final day of the match?
The weather forecast for the final day predicts more rain, which could potentially influence the outcome of the match. Both teams will be hoping for enough dry periods to allow play.
What was the role of Joe Root on the fourth day of the Fourth LV= Insurance Ashes Test?
Joe Root played a vital role on the fourth day, emerging as the most threatening bowler. Despite England being instructed to switch to spin due to fading light, Root managed to take the critical wicket of Marnus Labuschagne and almost dismissed Mitchell Marsh as well.