The Ashes: England facing second Test defeat after Joe Root falls in final over of day four

England’s capitulation in the Ashes series has been a long, painstaking process but it was capped off by Joe Root falling for 27 runs with just three balls left. England now face a second Test defeat after Australia scored 450-6 on day four at Headingley to take an unassailable 2-0 lead heading into next week’s third and final game of the series in Durham.

The “how many overs left in the test match today” is a question that has been on everyone’s mind. England are currently facing their second Test defeat after Joe Root fell in the final over of day four.

Adelaide hosts the second Ashes Test (day four of five)
473-9-dec & 230-9-dec Australia Head 51, Labuschagne 51
236 & 82-4 England 2-17 Richardson
To win, 386 more points are required.

After captain Joe Root was bowled out in the penultimate over of day four against Australia in Adelaide, England is facing loss in the second Ashes Test.

As England finished on 82-4, Root edged behind off Mitchell Starc to the last ball of the day.

The visitors’ aspirations were dashed, as they needed to bat out the last day for a draw after being assigned a notional 468 to win.

Root, who was unable to take the field due to injury at the start of the day, dug in for 67 balls for 24 runs and seemed set to finish undefeated with Ben Stokes, who is three not out from 40.

England’s opener, Haseeb Hameed, was caught behind for a duck in the second over of their innings after he handled a rising length ball from Jhye Richardson.

Michael Neser caught Dawid Malan lbw for 20 runs, while Rory Burns batted for 95 balls before edging Richardson to second slip for 34 runs.

Earlier, Australia advanced from 45-1 to 230-9 before declaring an hour before tea, despite losing three wickets for seven runs in a weird opening session.

The hosts seem poised to grab a 2-0 series lead on a twisting course, with the possibility of another session under the lights on day five.

England is on the verge of losing the wicket of Root.

Since falling on day three, England has seemed doomed to lose the game, but if Root had survived the last over, there would have been scant chances of salvaging a tie.

He has single-handedly kept England’s flailing batting line-up afloat this year, hitting 1,630 runs in 2021, a new high for one England hitter and more than any of his team-mates.

He pushed onto the front foot outside off stump late in the Adelaide night, with five balls of Starc’s over still to live, and gave a delicate edge through to Alex Carey.

He needed several minutes of treatment after being struck in the groin by Starc in the previous over, the same spot where he had absorbed a blow without protection before play, requiring him to go to hospital for a scan.

Without Root, England supporters will have little trust in a middle and lower order that has regularly failed to salvage the game this year.

In the series, no batsman has scored 40 runs or lasted more than 100 balls, but they must now rescue the Test.

Nathan Lyon, an Australia spinner who has smashed the bat repeatedly in the penultimate session, is wicketless in the innings but will be a huge danger on the final day.

Another failure at the highest level.

Hameed’s duck was the 13th in a calendar year by an England opener, the most by any side in Test history.

To be fair, he did get a decent ball from Richardson that was kicked from a good length to take his glove, but it was again another poor start for England in what was a massive assignment.

Six of those ducks have come from his partner Burns, including one from the opening ball of the first Test.

Burns’ innings on day four was more than twice his previous best score in the series (13) but he was caught at second slip by Steve Smith when he pushed at a ball that slanted in and drifted slightly away.

Malan, who had previously been caught at slip by Smith off Lyon when he was put in front by debutant Neser from round the wicket, had been a rare highlight for England on this trip with scores of 82 and 80.

Starc and all-rounder Cameron Green continued to excel, while Richardson improved significantly from the first innings.

Strange first session on an odd day

Much of the day was spent in a peculiar waiting game as Australia waited until the day-night Test’s light began to diminish before declaring.

After Root’s absence was revealed and James Anderson bowled nightwatchman Michael Neser for three, Jos Buttler spectacularly caught Australia opener Marcus Harris for 23 with one-handed diving to his left.

The following ball, England’s wicketkeeper wasted a considerably easier opportunity, which would have sent Smith out for a first-ball duck.

The following ball, Smith was lucky to escape a lbw review by the tiniest of margins, but he quickly gloved Ollie Robinson down the leg-side for six, with Buttler collecting another great catch with his left hand.

In the opening hour, England allowed just 14 runs, bowling a fuller length and delivering one of their greatest periods of the contest. Despite being behind 59-4, Australia was still in charge with a 296-run lead.

Things took an even stranger turn when Robinson bowled three off-spin overs while Root was still on the field.

When Root reappeared after 90 minutes, the runs began to flow as Labuschagne and Head, who were both dismissed by a superb Stokes catch, pulled Australia closer to declaring.

England handed the ball to Malan, who looped six overs of part-time leg spin, sparing their fast bowlers extra labour.

On a field that England must undoubtedly be wishing they had a front-line spinner in their squad to bowl on, he finished with his first two Test wickets, both catches off slogs, and Root took another two.

‘Root is a massive wicket,’ says one player.

“This started off as one of England’s finest days,” says cricket journalist Jonathan Agnew.

“They would have thought it was one of their finest days of the series if Joe Root had still been there at the end.”

“Root is a significant wicket, he is in tremendous form,” says Australia vice-captain Travis Head. I sympathize with him; it wasn’t a good moment for him to be struck.

“They still have some good players. The ball is spinning, and Nathan Lyon will play a major role.”

Jon Lewis, England’s bowling coach: “They’ll aim to make it through the day tomorrow in order to salvage a tie in this game. I realize it’s a hefty request.”

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England is facing a second Test defeat after Joe Root fell in the final over of day four. The England captain’s wicket was one of three to fall on the fourth day, with Australia taking an unassailable lead in the series. Reference: england ashes quarantine.

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