Stuart Broad has given England two hours to bowl out Australia and force a match-winning position on day four of the rain-affected second Ashes Test.
With play abandoned before a ball had been bowled on Wednesday and two full sessions wiped out on Friday, the window is rapidly closing for England to push for a series-levelling victory at Lord’s.
With Australia set to resume 178 adrift on 80 for four, Broad was relatively upbeat about his side’s prospects but believes he and the rest of the home attack need to pick up the next six wickets before the morning’s play is over.
With Steve Smith, scorer of two match-winning hundreds in the opening game at Edgbaston, one of those currently at the crease, that could prove a big ask.
But Broad, who has already dismissed David Warner and Travis Head, was already plotting out a path to success.
“We feel pretty positive, but we’d need to bowl Australia out by lunch,” he said.
“Our bowling unit’s aim is to get the next six wickets by lunch and then ideally bat until an hour, or half-an-hour, before lunch on day five and try to force a result that way.
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“This pitch has got 10 good balls in it in each day. There’s 98 overs for the next two days, which for both teams has been enough to bowl each other out.”
Former Australia captain Steve Waugh, travelling with the team in a mentoring role, was harbouring hopes of keeping the game alive.
“From our point of we need to score some runs. We’re still 178 behind, so that’s our first target, to get on a par with England,” he said.
“If we can get there and get some more runs after that we believe we’re in with a chance. Both sides will be confident that they can force a victory but there is a lot of work to be done.”
If England are to hustle out the Australians in quick time there will surely be a role for debutant Jofra Archer.
The 24-year-old paceman claimed his first Test scalp as England took three for 50 on a heavily truncated third day, trapping Cameron Bancroft lbw, and also cranked up to a fiery 93.7mph.
As it stands he has bowled just 13 red-ball overs for England, with Broad admitting even his team-mates find it easy to overlook his rookie status.
“He’s got all the attributes and he’s already been a successful international cricketer having been involved in a World Cup win,” said the 122-Test veteran.
“In our minds, because he’s been involved with the World Cup and he’s been talked about so much in the last six months, we think he’s an experienced, older, knows-it-all cricketer.
“He’s still learning his trade a little bit, but he’s doing it with great success. There will be times when he blows teams away.”
NEWS | Fast bowler Olly Stone has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2019 season.
— Warwickshire CCC 🏏 (@WarwickshireCCC) August 16, 2019
Meanwhile, England’s pace options have been further diminished after Olly Stone was ruled out for the rest of the season with a partial stress fracture to his lower back.
The 25-year-old made his Test debut in England’s victory over Ireland at Lord’s last month, but was unavailable for the start of the Ashes series.
Stone’s injury was sustained on England’s tour of the Caribbean earlier this year before he returned to action in early July, but Warwickshire announced on Friday evening he would now miss the rest of the campaign.