Crawley 189, Root 84 put England in command of Manchester Test

Tags: The Ashes 2023, England vs Australia, 4th Test at Manchester, Jul 19-23, 2023, Australia, England, Zak Crawley, Joseph Edward Root

Published on: Jul 21, 2023

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England opener Zak Crawley hammered a superb 189 off 182 balls, while Joe Root smashed 84 off 95 as the hosts gained control of the fourth Ashes 2023 Test against Australia at Old Trafford in Manchester on Thursday, July 20. Replying to Australia’s first innings total of 317, England went to stumps on Day 2 in a commanding position at 384/4.

The hosts lost Ben Duckett for 1 as he nicked a good delivery from Mitchell Starc to the keeper. However, Crawley and Moeen Ali (54) added 121 runs for the second-wicket partnership. Moeen struck seven fours in his half-century, before falling to a brilliant catch by Usman Khawaja at midwicket as he pulled a short one from Starc.

Crawley and Root, however, put England in firm control of proceedings, adding a massive 206 runs for the third wicket. The former needed only 93 balls to reach a fantastic hundred, drilling a delivery from Pat Cummins past cover. Root then pulled out his trademark reverse scoops.

The 100-run partnership came up when Crawley smacked Travis Head for six. Next, Root reached 50 off 45 balls with a reverse scoop off Cummins, which earned him another boundary. Crawley was racing towards his double century and the way he was batting, it seemed only a matter of time before he got there. However, pacer Cameron Green sent him on his way as he inside-edged a delivery onto the stumps.

Crawley’s brilliant knock featured 21 fours and three sixes. Root also fell before he could reach three figures. He was unlucky as a ball from Josh Hazlewood kept very low and beat his defense. At stumps on the second day’s play, England captain Ben Stokes was unbeaten on 24 and Harry Brook on 14.

Earlier in the day, Australia lost skipper Cummins (1) to the first ball of the day as he drove James Anderson straight into the hands of the cover-point fielder. Chris Woakes missed out a five-for initially after overstepping. However, he made amends and had Hazlewood (4) caught in the slip cordon to register his maiden Ashes five-wicket haul.

--By A Cricket Correspondent

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