Day two of the fourth Ashes test: England vying to beat Australia and the weather

England will be looking to push the gas pedal on the second day of their must-win Ashes Test as they try to beat Australia and the weather forecast at Emirates Old Trafford.

The hosts enjoyed a productive first day on the ball as they whittled their opponents to 299 of eight, but with heavy rain predicted over the weekend they need to move fast to get ahead of the game.

Chris Woakes did everything in his power to further the cause, hitting an excellent four for 52, including the all-rounders Cameron Green and Mitchell Marsh in the same over, while Stuart Broad bagged two to become the fifth bowler in Test history to reach the 600 mark.

England’s task now is to round things out as quickly as possible before launching their own potentially explosive innings. The ‘Bazball’ era has spawned many exciting hits, but rarely have they had to race against the clock with stakes this high.

While Australia can afford to let the game take its natural course, certain that a draw would see them retain the ballot box, England captain Ben Stokes has made it clear that he wants his team to pull every lever they can to force a result.

With another full house ready to roar them, the scene is set, but England must be careful not to go too hard, too often and blow their own chances before the real storms arrive on Saturday.

Broad joins an elite troupe

  1. Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) – 800 in 133 tests
  2. Shane Warne (Australia) – 708 in 145 tests
  3. James Anderson (England) – 688 in 182 Tests
  4. Anil Kumble (India) – 619 in 132 tests
  5. Stuart Broad (England) – 600 in 166 Tests

Broad moved to 599 Test wickets by putting Usman Khawaja in front, bringing up the attractive prospect of David Warner being the storied scalp of England’s closer. Warner did not go down to Broad for the eighteenth time in his Test career. But Broad wouldn’t balk when his goalie pulled a fake shot from Travis Head. Longtime opening bowling partner James Anderson is the only other closer to reach the milestone.

Stokes to make history

Pat Cummins’ misery at the coin toss continued, calling incorrectly for the fourth time in succession, allowing the England bowlers to use the pitch for the first time. When Stokes were told that neither team had won at this ground after winning the toss and choosing to invite their opponents to bat, the England captain said: “It would be a good time to be the first to do that.”

Broad overtakes Botham

  1. Stuart Broad – 149 in 39 Tests
  2. Sir Ian Botham – 148 in 36 Tests
  3. Bob Willis – 128 in 35 Tests
  4. James Anderson – 115 in 38 Tests
  5. Wilfred Rhodes – 109 in 41 Tests

Broad’s addition to the exclusive 600 club was the talk of the town, but the wicket that got him there, when Head recklessly hooked Joe Root on long leg, was also significant, moving him to 149 dismissals against Australia, taking him ahead of Sir Ian Botham’s tally against the old foe.

unfortunate for some

Marnus Labuschagne’s struggles in this series have been well documented, but those who have filled the first fall role for England have hardly fared better. Labuschagne’s 47 in the first innings at Lord’s was the highest score by a number three batsman after three Tests, but he went four better to record his first fifty of the series, before missing one followed by Moeen Ali and departing lbw.

Stats is everything, folks.

Chris Woakes continues to excel in his return to the Test side as he nabbed Warner, Cameron Green, Mitch Marsh and Alex Carey to end the day as the attacking pick on four of 52. The layoffs of all-rounders Green and Marsh was the first the time in Woakes’ Test race that he has claimed two wickets in a single over.

Ollie’s operation

Ollie Pope took to his social channels to announce that he has undergone surgery on the dislocated right shoulder that has ruled out the England vice-captain in the last three Tests. Pope suffered the injury when he was playing in the second Ashes Test at Lord’s and exacerbated the problem later in the match amid a miscommunication between England and match officials. The scans highlighted the extent of the damage and Pope, who has suffered two left shoulder dislocations, has begun the road to recovery.

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