Trent Bridge, 1st Ashes Test, Day 4

Quick wickets was Australia’s primary goal on the fourth morning, and while they perhaps didn’t wrap up the English tail quite as quick as they might have liked they didn’t let things get too out of hand. When their innings wrapped up England had set the Aussies 311 for victory and left them a little over 5 sessions to get it. On the surface that sounds simple, right? Not so much, the highest total successfully chased at Trent Bridge is just 284, and the Aussies have only chased 300+ down on nine occasions in their history. The sketchy performances of the top order in recent memory weren’t going to help either. They needed to dig in. And when Watson and Rogers came to the crease that’s what they did, at least for a little while. Watto got close to his 50 prior to the drinks break only to fall straight after play resumed. Ed Cowan fell on the stroke of tea leaving the Aussies 2/111 still needing 200 more. Rogers fell shortly after tea having made his first test 50. But when Clarke fell to the featheriest of feathery edges, and with Smith going next ball trouble was looming with things going from 3/161 to 6/164 in just a handful of overs. Enter Ashton Agar, promoted with a bullet to number 8 following his first innings heroics, to join Haddin at the crease. By close of play they’d ground out a patient 10 run partnership off 9 overs. But they’re going to need a lot more than that on day five, as the Aussies are still 137 behind with just 4 wickets remaining. Of the three fast bowlers left, all have reasonable averages, Starc has a recent Test 99, Siddle scored a first-class century a few weeks ago and had back-to-back fifties in India. There is still hope, but it is about as slim as I am.