England is now locked in a struggle against both time and the weather.
Australia, on the other hand, is at 113-4 in their second innings, still trailing England by 162 runs. However, the forecast for the next two days indicates rainfall, threatening England’s hopes.
The country has seen an upsurge in weather app refreshes this week, with searches for ‘Manchester weather’ also rising significantly in Australia.
So, will the rain dash England’s hopes?
Wood Offers England a Glimmer of Hope in the Weather Struggle
Bairstow Decries Unfair Criticism of His Keeping Skills
What Does the Forecast Say?
Ben Rich, BBC’s Lead Weather Presenter
The weather this weekend is poised to cause exasperation. The real question is whether it will result in a complete washout.
Cloud cover and rain are expected at Old Trafford by Saturday morning, and once it sets in, it’s likely to persist. While we may see drier moments, significant dry intervals, allowing for extensive periods of play, seem unlikely. This inclement weather will undoubtedly make conditions chilly for the dedicated spectators who decide to brave it.
To make matters worse, despite other parts of the UK expected to be drier and brighter on Sunday, current forecasts suggest that northern England will be the region where rain continues to linger.
Our only hope is that the weather front shifts enough to allow for a chance of clearer skies over Manchester.
Weather Forecast for Old Trafford
What Will Be the Impact?
England requires enough playtime to claim the remaining six Australian wickets and overcome any lead the tourists may accrue.
Predicting the necessary time is challenging. While the pitch is slow, there have been sporadic indications of irregular bounce, which could prove beneficial to England’s wicket-taking efforts.
Australia, however, won’t easily concede victory to England, especially as they aim to win a men’s Ashes series on English soil for the first time since 2001.
Currently leading the series 2-1 with one game left after this, Australia could retain the Ashes with a draw in Manchester, as the current holder keeps the coveted urn in the event of a series tie.
Did England Overextend Their Batting?
Beginning the fourth day at 384-4 and leading by 67, England added 122 runs for the loss of four wickets in 24 overs. They surprisingly held back in the first session.
England could have opted for an earlier declaration, but they chose to amass as many runs as possible to avoid batting again under potentially challenging conditions.
After lunch, Jonny Bairstow rapidly added a remarkable 99 not out from 81 balls, speeding up the game before England was dismissed just before 15:00 BST, leading by 275.
Was This Decision Correct?
“As with any decision, the match’s outcome will determine its merit,” said Michael Vaughan, former England captain.
“If the rain allows England only 30 or 40 overs on Sunday, most people will question England’s decision to bat for so long.
“However, it’s undeniable that they’ve played exceptionally well to reach this point.”
Bairstow mentioned that, as far as he knew, there were no discussions in the England dressing room about declaring at lunch when the score was 506-8.
“When the scoring is going well, you try to maximize it,” he commented.
“Subtract those 70 runs now, and Australia is much closer to us, and we would need to bat again.”
Adding further, he said that England had done “all they could” and it was now a waiting game to see “what the weather brings”.
Australia’s victory hopes are nearly extinguished, with fast bowler Josh Hazlewood expressing that he would be “quite content” should the rain arrive.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Manchester Ashes Weather
What is the current situation in the fourth Ashes Test?
England is hoping to secure a victory at Old Trafford in the fourth Ashes Test. With two days remaining, Australia is at 113-4 in their second innings, still 162 runs behind England.
How is the weather expected to affect the game?
With rain predicted for the last two days of the test match, it may potentially disrupt play and hinder England’s chances of victory. The forecast suggests that significant periods of play might not be possible due to intermittent wet weather.
Who is leading the Ashes series currently?
As of the fourth Test, Australia is leading the series 2-1. If they manage a draw in Manchester, they will retain the Ashes, given that the current holder keeps the famous urn in the case of a series draw.
How did England perform in their batting innings on the fourth day?
On the fourth day, England began at 384-4, leading by 67 runs, and added 122 runs for the loss of four wickets in 24 overs. Jonny Bairstow added a quick 99 not out from 81 balls after lunch. They held off declaring to amass as many runs as possible.
What does the future hold for Australia in this series?
Australia’s hopes of victory in the fourth Test are nearly extinguished. However, they could still retain the Ashes with a draw in Manchester, given they are leading the series 2-1 with one game left to play after this.