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Crawley’s Century Puts England Ahead in the Ashes Test

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Crawley’s Century Puts England Ahead in the Ashes Test

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Zak Crawley’s sensational century of 189 puts England ahead in the Fourth Ashes Test series against Australia at Old Trafford. The must-win situation for England intensified the pressure, but Crawley’s batting heroics lifted the home team to a dominant position against Australia.

England was sitting pretty at 384-4 in response to Australia’s first-innings total of 317, giving them a valuable lead of 67 runs. The significance of this match could not be overstated, as England, trailing 2-1 in the five-game series, needed a victory to keep their hopes of reclaiming the Ashes alive.

Crawley’s incredible partnership with Joe Root, who contributed a noteworthy 84 runs, was the highlight of the day. The duo orchestrated a breathtaking stand of 206 runs in just 29 overs, leaving the Australian bowlers gasping for answers. Before this, Crawley and Moeen Ali had laid the groundwork with a solid 121-run partnership for the second wicket.

The explosive ‘Bazball’ style of batting, championed by coach Brendon McCullum and backed by captain Ben Stokes, had become synonymous with Zak Crawley’s approach at the crease. The Kent opener admitted that he had his share of doubts but stuck to his aggressive instincts, which ultimately paid off with a brilliant 189 runs to his name.

At the close of play, England’s position seemed formidable, with Harry Brook at 14 not out and skipper Ben Stokes undefeated on 24. The Australian camp was left grappling for solutions, as Crawley’s whirlwind innings proved too much to handle for their bowlers.

The day began cautiously for England, with the team reaching lunch at 61-1 in 16 overs after losing the early wicket of Ben Duckett. However, a dazzling display of aggressive batting in the second session saw the hosts score a staggering 178 runs in just 25 overs, leaving Australia stunned.


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Zak Crawley’s heroics during this session were unforgettable. He surged from 26 to 132 runs, becoming only the sixth England batsman to achieve a hundred runs in a single session of an Ashes Test. Australia’s assistant coach, Daniel Vettori, acknowledged that despite their clear plans against Crawley, the young batsman’s form was unstoppable.

Crawley’s aggressive intent was evident when he surpassed 150 runs, peppering the boundary with sublime straight drives off Australia’s captain, Pat Cummins. However, as the landmark of a double century beckoned, Crawley fell victim to Cameron Green’s all-round skills, chopping the ball onto his stumps. His 182-ball innings featured a breathtaking 21 fours and three sixes, leaving the Old Trafford crowd in awe of his masterclass.

Following Crawley’s dismissal, England faced a momentary hiccup with the departure of Joe Root, bowled for 84 by a ball from Josh Hazlewood that kept surprisingly low. In the same over, Ben Stokes survived a fierce delivery that struck his helmet, adding to the drama on the field.

Australia’s woes further compounded when their lead bowler, Mitchell Starc, left the field with a shoulder injury after making a diving stop. Despite Starc’s earlier efforts of 2-74 from 15 overs, his absence would undoubtedly weaken the Australian bowling attack.

Meanwhile, Moeen Ali made his mark in this historic Test, becoming only the fourth England player to achieve the remarkable milestone of 3,000 Test runs and 200 Test wickets. Moeen’s blistering 54 runs were a testament to his comeback, having returned to the Test side after a brief retirement from red-ball cricket.

Australia’s unconventional decision to go without a specialist spinner in their playing XI backfired as Travis Head’s part-time off-breaks proved to be expensive, conceding 48 runs in just six overs.

The morning session saw England wrapping up the Australian innings for 317 runs, with Chris Woakes shining with the ball, claiming a five-wicket haul (5-62) in the Ashes for the first time.


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