England ended the fourth day of the first Ashes Test match at Trent Bridge on top and just four wickets from going up 1-0 against Australia. We’ll have live scores and commentary from Trent Bridge starting at 8.00pm AEST.
The target of 311 was never going to be an easy one but the manner in which Australia started would have given them hope.
In fact at 1/111 and Chris Rogers on the verge of a maiden half-century and Ed Cowan looking he had settled down after the early jitters, it would have been more confidence than hope.
But then came a stage of the innings which England had themselves endured in the second innings, a phase of the match when the ball went soft, the pitch came into play and both, the pace and the spin bowlers caused issues for the batsmen.
Cowan’s wicket was barely to do with the pitch as he went fishing outside the off stump to Joe Root in the last over before the tea break.
But credit must be given to the bowlers before Root who made batting a tough task for the batsman.
With Cowan gone and Rogers befuddled by a slower one from James Anderson early in the third session, things had begun to go awry for Australia.
Still, till Michael Clarke was at the crease, you knew they had a chance.
There was a period of resurrection as well. Clarke and Steven Smith batted with a lot of caution and survived more than a hour, bringing that lost hope back.
But Clarke then nicked one to the keeper and Smith departed very next ball to Graeme Swann to leave Australia in tatters.
And when three runs later Phil Hughes was adjudged lbw after England opted for a review, the writing looked like it was on the wall.
The seventh wicket stand between Brad Haddin and the newly-promoted number seven Ashton Agar has yielded only 13 runs but it played out 55 balls to push the game into the fifth day.
However with 137 runs still needed, the ball doing all sorts of things and the bowlers coming back fresh, a win may equate to a miracle for Australia.
England are perched on top and should sew up the game from here on, barring Agar – or someone else – repeating his heroics from the first innings. And such occurrences are rare.
Follow the live score and blog of the fifth day’s play of the opening Test from 8.00pm AEST. You can join me for this live blog and post your comments below.