England have been scintillating in the ongoing fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford, Manchester. After dismissing Australia for 317 in the first innings, England scored 384/4 in just 72 overs to end Day 2 with a lead of 67. The weather forecast isn’t promising for the last two days of the Test as rain is expected to play a big part. The sense of urgency was palpable from England and it was imperative for Australia to start Day 3 with renewed vigour after playing second fiddle on Day 2.
The visitors had a great chance to dismiss Ben Stokes in the second over of the day. The England captain scampered back for a second and it seemed that Alex Carey let go of an easy chance to catch the southpaw short of his crease. The Aussie wicketkeeper didn’t appeal as he might have felt that the ball slipped out of his hand before he could dislodge the stumps. However, replays showed that the ball had ricocheted off Carey’s gloves and taken the bails off. Stokes was short of his crease but Carey made a huge error by not appealing.
Alex Carey fails to carry the ball and missed a chance to run out Ben Stokes.
Will this prove to be costly for the visitors?
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Interestingly, Carey sparked controversy during the second Ashes Test when he stumped Jonny Bairstow off the bowling of Cameron Green. On that occasion, he was slammed by a section of cricket enthusiasts for appealing as they believed it wasn’t a show of sportsmanship. This time, an appeal from the 31-year-old would have sent the dangerous Stokes packing and given Australia the early breakthrough they must have hoped for.
Ben Stokes makes Alex Carey and Australia pay
Stokes is too good a player to be given lifelines. The 32-year-old capitalised on the mistake from Carey and notched up his 30th Test fifty to take England to a position of strength. He was eventually dismissed for 51 but Harry Brook (61) and Jonny Bairstow (99*) helped the home side finish their first innings with a gigantic lead of 275 runs.
England have to win this Test and the following one in London to reclaim the Ashes. Australia are 2-1 up in the series and a draw would be enough for them to retain the coveted urn.