England face survival bid after Khawaja ton – day four of the fourth Ashes Test

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England’s openers Hameed and Crawley battled through to the close (Jason O’Brtien/PA) (PA Wire)
England’s openers Hameed and Crawley battled through to the close (Jason O’Brtien/PA) (PA Wire)

Australia set up a final-day battle between England’s fragile batters and their own rampant bowling attack as they looked to take a 4-0 Ashes lead in Sydney.

Usman Khawaja marked his return to Test cricket after two-and-a-half years on the sidelines with his second century of the game – 101 not out to follow his prior 137 – leaving England 387 behind.

That is surely out of their grasp, meaning a day five rearguard is their best hope of stalling home momentum.

Twin hundreds in post-war Ashes cricket

  • Usman Khawaja (Sydney, 2021)

  • Steve Smith (Edgbaston, 2019)

  • Steve Waugh (Old Trafford, 1997)

  • Arthur Morris (Adelaide, 1947)

  • Denis Compton (Adelaide, 1947)

Pick of the pics

Zak Crawley and Haseeb Hameed heading out to begin England’s second innings (Jason O’Brien/PA) (PA Wire)
Zak Crawley and Haseeb Hameed heading out to begin England’s second innings (Jason O’Brien/PA) (PA Wire)

England’s opening partnership has been woefully underpowered in the series, with Rory Burns, Haseeb Hameed and Zak Crawley all trying and failing to nail the role. The latter pair emerged with plenty of pressure on in the final hour on day four but dug in to reach 30 without loss at stumps. That is England’s highest first-wicket stand of the tour, but they will need many more on the final day to lay the right foundation.

Great Scott

Bilbo’s epic journey

Kent’s Sam Billings has been called up ahead of the final Test in Hobart to cover fitness concerns over fellow wicketkeepers Jos Buttler and Jonny Bairstow, both of whom are awaiting results of X-rays. Covid protocols mean he has to drive rather than fly, meaning an 11-hour road trip from the Gold Coast where he has been with Big Bash side Sydney Thunder.

Smith into top five

  1. Sir Donald Bradman (Aus) - 5,028

  2. Allan Border (Aus) - 3,548

  3. Sir Garfield Sobers (WI) - 3,214

  4. Steve Waugh (Aus) - 3,200

  5. Steve Smith (Aus) - 3,017

Gower’s sartorial statement

There were some striking outfits on show during the McGrath Foundation’s ‘pink day’ at the SCG on Friday. But none more eye-catching than the matching set donned by English cricketing royalty David Gower for Saturday’s play. Gower’s once-in-a-lifetime get-up was captured by Australian reporter Melinda Farrell.

It’s a sell out!

Speaking of the McGrath Foundation, the charity set itself an ambitious target of selling an entire stadium’s worth of ‘virtual seats’ for this match. Towards the end of day four, it was job done and by stumps a colossal total of 4,876,22 Australian dollars for breast cancer support.

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