Ashes: Khawaja’s second century leaves England fighting for survival


At the end of the fourth day, on which rain refused to fall on twin centurion Usman Khawaja’s parade, England have 98 overs to bat to save the Sydney Test, which saw them win their third in Australia in 15 years. Will protect against whitewash.

The forecast was disappointing, but a full day’s play – spread over three innings – was possible, with rain coming five minutes after the end.

England began the day with 9.1 overs to bat, losing their last three first innings wickets, and finished batting on 11 overs, with their callo openers scoring 30 not out for their highest stand of the series.

In testing conditions, Zak Crawley – the more confident of the two – and Haseeb Hameed batted well to see Australia’s excellent attack. They are in the foothills in their attempt to save the game; Or, if you are more optimistic, chasing 388. Both men were probably grateful that Pat Cummins delayed the announcement beyond Khawaja’s second century of the match.

The lower order was less diligent at first, as Australia wrapped up England’s innings very quickly. He scored 294, his highest first-innings score of the series from some distance, but still could not breach 300 for the first time. He had left a deficit of 122, which was pretty clear at 36 for four, but still deep in sight to see.

They could have been a little more diligent, to be honest. Jack Leach, overconfident after a couple good strokes, looked to hawk Nathan Lyon, and was caught at midwicket.

It exposed Bairstow, along with Stuart Broad and James Anderson, and battling a thumb injury on Friday, could only add 10 to his overnight 103 before Scott Boland took the lead.

Broad had fun, and Anderson showed his reverse sweep (successful on first attempt, unsuccessful on second). Boland picked up a slogging broad to continue his remarkable start to his Test career.

Boland has 11 wickets at an average of 8.27, the lowest of any bowler to strike more than 10 times. It is perhaps no coincidence that Axar Patel (11.86 at 36), one of the top five on that list, also made his debut against England last year.