Mitch Marsh claimed the crucial scalps of Alastair Cook and Ben Stokes on Saturday, powering Australia’s bid for a series-levelling win in the second Ashes Test.
England were 7-285 – still 281 runs behind Australia – at tea on day three, Cook (96) and Stokes (87) having fallen after offering stern resistance at Lord’s on Saturday.
England require a further 82 runs to pass the follow-on, with Steve Smith’s maiden double-century lifting Australia to 8(dec)-566 on day two.
Jos Buttler walked on 13, Kumar Dharmasena having turned down Nathan Lyon’s caught-behind appeal.
Cook and Stokes resumed at 4-85 on Saturday, the fiery allrounder surviving all but three overs of the morning session in his 145-run stand with Cook.
Marsh removed Stokes for 87, driving at a ball that stayed low and edging it onto his stumps.
Marsh dismissed Cook in the same fashion during Saturday’s second session, with the England skipper falling four runs short of his first Ashes century at Lord’s.
Cook, who suffered a nasty blow on the arm after attempting to leave a short ball from Mitchell Johnson in the morning session, trudged off the ground.
He was mentally and physically drained, having spent every minute of the game on the field, but also frustrated to have come within five overs of making tea.
Australia had three overs with the second new ball prior to tea, but couldn’t engineer another breakthrough.
Stuart Broad is on five, having failed to connect with a few lusty swings, while Moeen Ali is 38 not out.
Adam Voges remained off the field for Saturday’s first two sessions, having suffered a painful blow to the ribs while fielding at short leg on day two.
Mitchell Starc received treatment on his back but stayed on the park and was able to bowl.
“There’s a lot of hope in the change room that we can certainly save this Test match, if not put ourselves in a position,” England paceman Stuart Broad said on Friday.
Broad couldn’t quite get the words ‘to win’ out.
For good reason.
Based on the past 120 years, a draw is all his team can achieve in this contest.
With the exception of a timeless Test at the SCG in 1894, no side has ever posted such a high first-innings total then lost the game.