After an hour of England resistance on Sunday morning when Joe Denly and Jason Roy kept the Australian bowlers at bay, Pat Cummins delivered key strikes in the latter half of the first session to dent the home team’s fight for Ashes survival. Denly and Roy added 48 runs to their overnight partnership of 18 before Cummins added to his wickets tally, leaving England at 87 for 4 at Lunch on Day 5 of the fourth Test at Old Trafford, Manchester, reports Cricbuzz.
An under pressure Roy started the day reaching out to some deliveries and playing away from his body while there were a couple of leg-before appeals when Denly was on strike. Cummins and Josh Hazlewood, who began the proceedings for the day, kept the England batsmen on their toes and went past the edge a few times. Starc and Lyon then came on and they found the edges but the ball landed well clear of the fielders as Roy and Denly rode their luck and grit their teeth.Puffs of dust from the pitch were a regular sight, the ball kept low sometimes, rose on occasions while there was also turn. Combined with all these was also the pressure factor with Australia coming hard at the English batsmen. But Roy and Denly accepted their struggles and put it behind them. They also played their shots whenever they got an opportunity and slowly but steadily raised a half-century stand while denying Australia a wicket in the first hour.
But Australia were persistent and it paid off as Cummins bagged his third wicket of the innings, finding a big gap between Roy’s bat and pad to send him back for 31. Australia could have had another in the next over when Lyon found the inside edge of Denly‘s bat but Tim Paine couldn’t react in time and missed a tough chance. At the other end, even as Cummins continued to pose questions, England’s hopes rested on the hero of the previous game - Ben Stokes. The all-rounder hung around for a while before deciding to walk. It was a big dismissal but happened so softly as the ball brushed the back of the bat when he was attempting to shoulder arms.
Denly, though, didn’t give up on his fight, remaining unbeaten on 48 and will be key to England’s hopes of staying alive in the series.