The fourth test of Ashes 2023 has ended in a draw after rain played a spoilsport on the final day. England were only five wickets away from clinching the equalizer. Alas, that slipped away, and Australia now retains the title. Fans are disappointed, and so are their favorite champions. Hosts were emerging to be the favorites despite losing the first two tests.
The fourth test started on July 19, 2023, and ended on July 24, 2023. Ben Stokes’s choice was to bowl first at Old Trafford Cricket Ground. Pat Cummins could only welcome the move and ask his batters to line up for the pitch. It was a perfect storm waiting to burst. Old Trafford stands with an average score of somewhere around 322 in the first innings. The Aussies were struggling to reach there.
Visitors were 9 wickets down at 299. That is when their skipper had to depart on the throw of James Anderson. He was playing at 1 run off 4 balls. Mitchell Starc kept the innings moving at a decent pace, taking his side closer to the average score. The reason was scoring becomes difficult as days move forward.
That, for some reason, did not stand true for the English army. They managed to accumulate 592 runs at the loss of 10 wickets. Innings were not declared under the confidence that the hosts would collapse early. The lead of 275 sounded reasonable.
Making the play interesting was Stokes encouraging his bowler to attack right from the beginning. By the time their spell ended, Australia were 214 off 5 wickets. England still had a lead of 61 runs. While this was obviously not sufficient, they were ahead of the curve to secure a win had they taken all the available batters down. One has to ask if that was remotely possible to do. As a matter of fact, that was possible since all the top batters were back in the pavilion.
That includes the in-form Marnus Labuschagne. The 29-year-old right-handed batter has 3767 runs to his name throughout 74 innings in the red ball format. This includes 111 scored in 173 balls at a 64.16 strike rate during the fourth installment of Ashes 2023.
Mark Wood was coming strong, having picked 3 wickets in 11 overs. No maiden was involved, and yet he could keep the economy of 2.45. Top cricket betting sites were beginning to incline toward them. Moeel Ali was expected to deliver a couple of wickets, knowing that the pitch would become familiar to spinners later in the innings. That didn’t happen.
Zak Crawley takes home the title of Player of the Match for scoring 189 runs in 182 balls. This includes 21-4s and 3-6s at the strike rate of 103.85. Jonny Bairstow finally gave a befitting reply to his critics by contributing 99 runs off 81 balls. Losing his 13th international test century is surely a pinch; however, it was worth all the trouble.
The fifth test of Ashes 2023 between Australia and England begins on July 27, 2023, and ends on July 31, 2023.