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Root resistance delays Australia

By Rob Barnett

Australia stayed on course to double their series lead via victory at Adelaide despite Joe Root resisting stoutly with a classy 87 on day four.

The 22-year-old, promoted to number three in place of Jonathan Trott ahead of this encounter, mixed sensible defence with occasional aggression on a still-reliable pitch for his first Test fifty in Australia.

Joe Root during more than two sessions at the crease that yielded 87, but his departure saw England close on 247 for six

With the hosts declaring 15 minutes before play today and dismissing England’s opening batsmen in the first hour, Root shared a restorative 111-run stand alongside Kevin Pietersen that gave the tourists renewed hope of saving the game.

However, shortly before tea Pietersen played on for 53, falling to Peter Siddle for the ninth time in Tests, and Ian Bell chipped a full-toss from occasional leg-spinner Steven Smith to mid-on.

In the evening session Root was crucially caught behind via pad off Nathan Lyon and Ryan Harris had Ben Stokes, who rode his luck for 28, held at slip with the second new ball. Matt Prior and Stuart Broad counter-attacked for 31 and 22 respectively of 247 for six, meaning another 284 is required for an unlikely win.

With showers forecast today and tomorrow, although they have not materialised so far, Michael Clarke halted Australia’s second innings on their overnight 132 for three, setting the tourists a notional 531 to square the rubber.

Alastair Cook perished on the hook to Mitchell Johnson in the second over of the innings before Michael Carberry pulled Siddle aerially to long-leg.

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Evening Session

Watch highlights of the evening session when Australia continued to chip away at England

7.30am - STUMPS! England 247/6; Prior 31 Broad 22 - Prior pulls and top-edges a hook for fours from consecutive Johnson balls. England have at best a faint chance of saving the game, although forecast showers could help them if they materialise, unlike today. The tourists theoretically need 284 more to win.

7.24am - CHANCE! - After Broad crunches four through cover-point, Prior, on 20, glances Lyon just out of the reach of leg-slip in the penultimate over.

7.15am - Broad clips Harris to the midwicket boundary and smites him over mid-off for another four, after which there are three overs to go today. In the first of those, Prior fortuitously top-edges a pull off Johnson well short of deep square-leg.

7.08am - Stuart Broad avoids a pair with a single to cover off Harris, but it puts him up against Johnson who almost bowls Broad and then strikes him on the shoulder with a bouncer.

7am - WICKET! Stokes c Clarke b Harris 28; Eng 210/6 - The left-hander edges a length ball low to Michael Clarke at second slip. Stokes fought bravely, but surely the writing is on the wall now?

6.58am - Johnson and Stokes have words mid-pitch in a crucial period of play to stumps in which England cannot afford to lose a wicket.

6.50am - Johnson shares the fresh cherry but Stokes defends resolutely in a maiden. Stokes exquisitely straight-drives Harris for four in the next over.

6.42am - Australia take the second new ball straight away and give it to Harris. Australia, of course, have two reviews again, the same number as England retain.

6.32am - Stokes sweeps and then powerfully cover-drives Steven Smith for fours, the latter taking England to 200 for the first time in the series. Lyon follows up with a runless over to Prior.

6.26am - CHANCE! - A similar scenario to Siddle’s previous over, although this time Stokes, on 12, plays into Bailey’s midriff and the short-leg fielder cannot hold on. In the previous over Prior steered Johnson for four to third man.

6.14am - The umpires refer after Stokes plays Peter Siddle down to short-leg, where George Bailey claims a catch via his foot. Replays show the ball hit the ground before striking his boot and popping up.

6.09am - After Prior chips Lyon over midwicket for a second four, Stokes plays out a maiden to Johnson who is bowling despite the second new ball being available in eight overs.

6am - Harris loses an lbw appeal against Stokes. If Australia had a review left and used it, Stokes would have been out for eight given the ball hit pad just before bat and was heading for middle stump. To rub salt in the wound, Harris fields the next delivery and hurls it at the striker's stumps only to concede four overthrows.

5.50am - Matt Prior avoids a pair by advancing to Lyon and smacking four over mid-on.

5.44am - REVIEW! - Ryan Harris strikes Stokes on the pad and has his appeal turned down by umpire Dharmasena. The ball was going across the left-hander and would have missed off stump. Australia have no more reviews until the 80th over.

5.38am - WICKET! Root c Haddin b Lyon 87; Eng 171/5 - Root inside-edges the spinner on to his pad and the ball pops up for wicketkeeper Brad Haddin to hold his 200th Test catch. That’s an unfortunate way to go.

5.31am - Shortly after Root unfurls a textbook back-foot drive for four off Johnson, Stokes cuts Lyon to the rope. It’s getting a little gloomy so the floodlights have been turned on.

5.20am - REVIEW! - Johnson has an lbw appeal against Stokes rejected by Kumar Dharmasena and Australia review, but replays show the left-hander edged the ball onto his pad. In the next over Root inside-edges Lyon just past leg stump.

5.11am - Stokes, having been inconvenienced by Johnson, opens his account by straight-driving the paceman for three. Lyon is back in a rhythm with a maiden to Stokes.

5:01am - Day four’s last session starts with Mitchell Johnson bowling to Test debutant Ben Stokes, who is on nought and plays out a maiden. In the next over Joe Root dispatches two uncharacteristic Nathan Lyon long-hops for four, the second taking England beyond 150.

Afternoon Session

See highlights of an afternoon session England dominated until Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell fell late on

4.40am - TEA! Eng 143/4; Root 66, Stokes 0 - Lyon ends the session with a maiden to Root, who has batted beautifully. However, the wickets of Pietersen and Bell have kept Australia on course to double their series lead.

4.34am - WICKET! Bell c Johnson b Smith 6; Eng 134/4 - Smith replaces Siddle and bowls a full-toss to Bell, who miscues to mid-on where Johnson holds a super catch diving low to his right. That is a bitter blow for England.

4.27am - Root gets his first runs for 35 minutes via a clip to midwicket off Siddle that goes for four despite Lyon’s dive on the boundary.

4.19am - England at last have another run as Ian Bell opens his account with a quick single to backward point off Siddle. At the other end Lyon replaces Watson and is cut for four by Bell.

4.10am - Watson is officially warned by umpire Marais Erasmus for running on the pitch during the fifth consecutive maiden.

4.04am - WICKET! Pietersen b Siddle 53; Eng 131/3 - Immediately after three straight maidens, Pietersen plays on to the off bail with a defensive prod, ending a stand of 111. That is the ninth time Siddle has ousted Pietersen in Tests.

3.59am - Peter Siddle and Shane Watson replace Johnson and Smith, halting England’s brief run flow.

3.43am - FIFTY! Pietersen (90b 2x4 3x6) - England’s talisman ends Smith’s over with a straight maximum, heralding his half-century.

3.40am - HUNDRED PARTNERSHIP! - Smith’s filthy long-hop is dispatched disdainfully over the midwicket fence by Pietersen, taking him and Root to a three-figure alliance.

3.30am - FIFTY! Root (113b 5x4 0x6) - The young right-hander tucks Johnson to midwicket for two and receives warm applause for a valuable half-century. Pietersen then miscues Smith over cover, is beaten by one that turns and scampers a quick single to mid-on from where David Warner throws down the non-striker’s stumps.

3.23am - Part-time leggie Steven Smith takes over from Lyon and starts with a rank full-toss that Pietersen deposits over mid-on for six. Later in the over a Root single to leg moves England to 100.

3.13am - Man of the moment Mitchell Johnson replaces Harris and bowls a maiden to Root. About this time yesterday he took five wickets in as many overs. In the next over Root drives and pulls Lyon for consecutive fours.

2.59am - Pietersen advances to Lyon and smashes four past mid-off. Pietersen has played patiently so far, but will he look to attack more now?

2.53am - Root nudges Lyon to midwicket for one, bringing up an important fifty partnership for England.

2.40am - Ryan Harris starts the day’s second session with a maiden to Kevin Pietersen. Joe Root then gets one run, in front of point, off Nathan Lyon in the next.

Morning Session

Watch highlights of the morning session when England fought back from the loss of their opening batsmen

2.01am - LUNCH! Eng 65/2; Root 29, Pietersen 18 - Occasional leg-spinner Steven Smith and specialist off-break bowler Lyon deliver the last two overs before the interval without significant threat.

1.49am - With lunch approaching, Watson and Johnson deliver tight overs. Root and Pietersen are content to play within themselves.

1.36am - Root clips Johnson to the long-leg rope, taking England past 50, and soon steers the same bowler past point for four more. The light rain is dissipating for now at least.

1.30am - Johnson returns and concedes his first runs of the innings in a fourth over that costs two. Shane Watson is introduced and goes for his first runs of the series in his sixth over.

1.20am - Pietersen, who will be desperate to keep up his record of scoring a hundred in each of his Tests at Adelaide, cuts Siddle for four. Root then dispatches a Lyon full-toss to the cover boundary.

1.12am - Siddle follows Lyon’s tight over with a runless one. Despite offering some turn, this pitch still looks good to bat on.

12.58am - Kevin Pietersen drives Lyon for two through extra-cover, getting him off the mark.

12.51am - WICKET! Carberry c Lyon b Siddle 14; Eng 20/2 - Carberry pulls Siddle, bowling round the wicket to the left-hander, straight to Lyon’s safe hands at long-leg. Both England’s openers have fallen in that fashion.

12.44am - Carberry keeps the score board ticking against Siddle, immediately after which Nathan Lyon’s spin is introduced. A Carberry single to midwicket denies Lyon a maiden.

12.33am - Peter Siddle replaces Johnson, whose figures are 3-3-0-1, and Root gets off the mark with a single to midwicket. Harris continues and Root straight-drives him for two.

12.28am - Immediately following a third Johnson maiden, Carberry opens his account with a clipped four to square-leg off Harris. Later in the over he sweetly drives to the cover rope.

 

12.22am - A Harris no-ball double’s England score in an otherwise runless over when Carberry did well to keep two yorkers out.

12.14am - Harris bowls a maiden to Michael Carberry and Johnson then does likewise to Root.

 

12.06am - WICKET! Cook c Harris b Johnson 1; Eng 1/1 - Mitchell Johnson’s third ball is a bouncer that Cook hooks and top-edges a catch to Harris, who does well to hold on as he runs in from long-leg. Johnson completes a wicket-maiden to Joe Root.

12am - Ryan Harris starts England’s second innings bowling initially to Alastair Cook, who gets going with a single to long-leg.

Pre-Play News

11.50pm - Maybe it was the threat of showers that persuaded Clarke to declare, but England will have to bat for 180 overs to save the game unless rain reduces that number. Their notional target is 531.

11.40pm - As two of the below tweets say, there could be showers over the next two days. Although they are likely to be brief, it begs the question how long Australia should bat on for today, if at all. If Clarke gives Warner a chance of three figures and England, as unlikely as it seems, save the Test, the Australia captain will be criticised.

11.30pm - Hello and thank you for joining me for the fourth day at Adelaide, particularly given how difficult this Test has been for England fans. Australia, who are 132 for three in their second innings with David Warner on 83, lead by 530. Michael Clarke must therefore decide how soon to declare, after which England face a monumental task the save the game.

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