Root leads victory push as record target looms

ADELAIDE • England were 178 runs from a stunning comeback victory in the second Ashes Test after James Anderson grabbed five wickets and captain Joe Root steered the visitors to 176 for four at close of play on an extraordinary fourth day yesterday.

Root will play a key role today if he is to lead England to a first Test win in Australia in nearly seven years. He will resume on 67 with Chris Woakes (five not out) at the other end after Dawid Malan was bowled for 29 by Pat Cummins shortly before stumps.

"We're delighted to be in a position to have any chance of winning the game," said Anderson, whose 5-43 gave him his first five-wicket haul in Australia.

Australia skipper Steve Smith will urge his bowlers to keep up the pressure and help him avoid the ignominy of becoming only the second captain to lose a Test after not enforcing the follow-on.

Earlier, Anderson and Woakes (4-36) skittled the Australians for 138 at tea with a brilliant display of seam bowling.

Having set a ground-record 354 to level the series after last week's 10-wicket Brisbane defeat, England made a steady start before losing openers Alastair Cook (16) and Mark Stoneman (36) and James Vince (15).

England enjoyed the best of the DRS system, however, with Root first overturning an lbw decision off the bowling of Nathan Lyon and seeing a Smith review fail when the Australian suspected an inside edge.

Smith left his team with no referrals for what could be a tense final day a couple of balls later when he pursued an lbw decision against Malan, only for the tracking to show the ball would have gone over the wickets.

REUTERS

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 06, 2017, with the headline 'Root leads victory push as record target looms'. Print Edition | Subscribe