on air now

England on top at Lunch

Article image for England on top at Lunch

Cameron Bancroft and Usman Khawaja fell cheaply before lunch – where Australia were 70-2 and 94 runs adrift at the MCG on day four.

England increased the pressure on under-fire batsmen Cameron Bancroft and Usman Khawaja, as the tourists strengthened their grip on the fourth Ashes Test.

Bancroft (27) and Khawaja (11) fell cheaply to Chris Woakes and James Anderson before lunch – where Australia were 70-2 and 94 runs adrift – at the MCG on Friday after Alastair Cook’s record-breaking knock in Melbourne.

England opener Cook, 33, became the first player in history to carry their bat in a Test at the iconic ground following his unbeaten 244 on day four, with Joe Root’s men all out for 491 – a lead of 164.

Cook, whose tally was also the highest score by someone carrying their bat – an opening batsman unbeaten at the end of an innings when all 10 wickets have fallen, finished not out after Anderson (0) was the final England wicket to fall with the first ball of the day.

Whether it was a case of patience or being frustrated by England’s bowling tactics, hard-hitting opener David Warner struggled to keep the scoreboard ticking over.

Warner faced 79 balls for only 28 runs after fellow opener Bancroft – under pressure to retain his place atop the order having only managed scores of 25, 10, 4, 5 and 82 – chopped a Woakes (1-9) delivery onto his own stumps.

Australian and cricket great Shane Warne had been critical of Khawaja’s form prior to day four, while former batsman Mike Hussey urged selectors to make a call on the out-of-form number three and his woes continued when he edged through to Jonny Bairstow off Anderson (1-16).

Warner and captain Steve Smith (4 not out) have a fight on their hands to salvage the penultimate Test, though Australia have already reclaimed the Ashes after taking an unassailable 3-0 series lead.