LONDON • A partnership of 145 between Alastair Cook and Ben Stokes increased England's hopes of salvaging something from the second cricket Test at Lord's yesterday, but Australia remained comfortably on top, especially after Mitchell Marsh snared Cook (96) shortly before tea.
The duo reached 50 in contrasting fashion on the third morning. The aggressive Stokes took the attack to Australia and eventually pressed on to 87 from 128 balls, while Cook's watchful approach got him to 56 from 167.
But, just as England were hoping to get to lunch without having lost a wicket, Stokes, closing in on his third Test century, dragged on a skidding delivery to give Marsh his first wicket in England, and only his second in Test cricket.
England, who resumed at 85-4 in their first innings, were 285-7 at tea, still a long way behind Australia's 566-8 declared, and still requiring 82 more runs to avoid the follow-on.
Cook, who took a blow from Mitchell Johnson on his elbow shortly before lunch, batted determinedly, before he dragged on a ball from Marsh.
The England captain fell four short of his maiden Ashes hundred in a home Test. He put on 56 runs for the seventh wicket with Moeen Ali (38 not out).
Australia's quicks bowled with more fire, especially after they had prised out England's top order on Friday.
England lead the five-match series after a 169-run win in the first Test in Cardiff last week.
THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
THE ASHES, 2ND TEST
Day 4: England v Australia, Singtel TV Ch123 & StarHub Ch236, 6pm