Ashes 2021-22: England's tail-enders cling on for draw to deny Australia whitewash

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  • Stuart Broad
    English cricketer (born 1986)
  • James Anderson
    English cricketer, born 1982

England stubbornly held on for a thrilling draw with one wicket left to halt Australia's bid for an Ashes series whitewash at the SCG on Sunday.

Australia needed 10 wickets on the final day to claim a 4-0 series lead in the fourth Ashes Test but could only claim nine, with tail-ender Jimmy Anderson staving off the final over from Steve Smith.

Smith had claimed the ninth wicket with the final ball of the 100th over, meaning Anderson (0*) and Stuart Broad (8*) had to navigate two more overs but survived with England finishing 270-9.

England, who resumed at 30-0 needing an improbable 388 for victory, got through 91 overs on the final day, with Australia taking five final session wickets to apply intense pressure.

Zak Crawley (77), Ben Stokes (60) and Jonny Bairstow (41) led the rearguard despite the latter two being hampered by injuries, before Leach (26), Broad and Anderson saw England through to a draw in fading light.

MCG hero Scott Boland (30-3) was the pick of the bowlers along with Nathan Lyon (28-2) and captain Pat Cummins (80-2), who claimed two wickets in three balls in the final session to ignite the home crowd.

Crawley offered positive resistance in the first session but was trapped leg before wicket by Cameron Green, after Boland got Hameed early and Lyon had bowled Dawid Malan.

Rain delayed the resumption before England were stubborn in the second session, scoring only 52 runs in 21 overs, but Boland got the key wicket of Joe Root (24).

The game came to life in the final session, with Stokes' heroic stand ending on 60. Cummins then struck twice in three balls to give the hosts real hope.

Bairstow was dropped by Smith at second slip on 28 but Boland struck again, when England's last remaining recognised batsman edged onto his pad allowing Marnus Labuschagne to catch at silly mid-off.

Leach, who batted for more than an hour, and Broad fought hard, with the former edging off Carey's gloves to Warner late, before England's final two did enough to claim a hard-earned draw.

Did Cummins declare too late?

Cummins is only new in the captaincy job for Australia but may regret the timing of his declaration late on day four, with the hosts unable to take the required 10 wickets in 102 overs.

Rain was forecast in Sydney on the final day, although only seven overs were lost after lunch, but that may have been the difference given the tight margins at the end.

Aussie newcomers impress

Usman Khawaja was named Player of the Match after his twin centuries upon his return to the Test side but Scott Boland deserved credit too, taking seven wickets for the game including three on the final day.

After debuting on Boxing Day, Boland has claimed 14 wickets in two Tests, boasting a remarkable average of 8.64 and strike rate of 23.6.

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