Rain left Australia waiting to push an Ashes-retaining victory and delayed the start of day three in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
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England – that has to avoid defeat in order to maintain his hopes of regaining the urn alive – closed day two on 23-1, a mammoth 474 runs behind Australia’s Steve Smith-inspired 497-8 declared.
Joe Denly (4), having swapped places in the arrangement by Jason Roy, has been blown off using a super short-leg grab from Matthew Wade off Pat Cummins, leaving Rory Burns (15no) and nightwatchman Craig Overton (3no) in the crease following the first 10 overs of England’s innings.
The forecast is more brilliant for Friday day and the weekend, meaning Australia will fancy their chances of maintaining their grip over the Ashes having been scuppered by Ben Stokes’s heroics at Headingley in the third Test as England chased down 359 to level the series at 1-1.
England wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow, though, has backed his side as they did in Leeds second time around having been steamrolled for 67 in their first innings.
“There’s three innings to proceed in the game, three times of cricket left,” said the 29-year-old, who’s due to bat at No 6.
“If we can go out and employ , set out our stall to bat for a very lengthy time period just like we did at Headingley, there is no reason why [we cannot get back in the Test].”
Smith Ashes double century and next bunch in four innings in the show – underpinned Australia’s total, the 30-year-old notching 211 within his very first Test knock because coming from concussion.
Smith has notched 589 runs from the show, at an average of all 147.25 and with a smallest score 92, together with his entire batting average in Test cricket currently standing at 64.64 after his 26th trillion at the format.
However, the batsman says England frequently perilously brief assisted in his most recent huge score him.
“I have faced a great deal of short-pitched bowling in my life and haven’t had a lot of issues with it,” said Smith, who suffered his concussion when he had been struck on the neck by a Jofra Archer bouncer in the next Test at Lord’s.
“I said before the match – bowling there means that they can’t hit me onto the mat or nick off me. It softens their ball .
“It played with our hands, I believe, and allowed the ball to acquire soft pretty quickly and also for us to score enormous first-innings runs.”
See day three of the fourth Ashes Test live on Sky Sports The Ashes. You could even follow over-by-over commentary and in-play clips onto our rolling site on skysports.com along with the Sky Sports program.