Ashes 2021-22: England's tail-enders cling on for draw to deny Australia whitewash

By Sports Desk January 09, 2022

England have stubbornly held on for a thrilling draw with one wicket left to halt Australia's bid for an Ashes series whitewash at the SCG on Sunday.

Australia needed 10 wickets on the final day to claim a 4-0 series lead in the fourth Ashes Test but could only claim nine, with tail-ender Jimmy Anderson staving off the final over from Steve Smith.

Smith had claimed the ninth wicket with the final ball of the 100th over, meaning Anderson (0*) and Stuart Broad (8*) had to navigate two more overs but survived.

England, who resumed at 30-0 needing an improbable 388 for victory, got through 91 overs on the final day, with Australia taking five final session wickets to apply intense pressure.

Zak Crawley (77), Ben Stokes (60) and Jonny Bairstow (41) led the rearguard despite the latter two being hampered by injuries, before Leach (26), Broad and Anderson saw England through to a draw in fading light.

MCG hero Scott Boland (30-3) was the pick of the bowlers along with Nathan Lyon (28-2) and captain Pat Cummins (80-2), who claimed two wickets in three balls in the final session to ignite the home crowd.

Crawley offered positive resistance in the first session but was trapped lbw by all-rounder Cameron Green for 77 before lunch, after Boland got Hameed early and Lyon had bowled Dawid Malan.

Rain delayed the resumption before England were stubborn in the second session, scoring only 52 runs in 21 overs but Australia got the key wicket of Joe Root (24) to Boland.

The game came to life in the final session, with Stokes' heroic stand ending caught by Steve Smith at slip off Lyon for 60 from 123 balls. Cummins struck twice in three balls in the 85th over, trapping both Jos Buttler and Mark Wood lbw to give the hosts real hope.

Jonny Bairstow was dropped by Smith at second slip on 28 but Boland struck again, when England's last remaining recognised batsman edged onto his pad allowing Marnus Labuschagne to catch at silly mid-off for 41.

Leach, who batted for more than an hour, and Broad fought hard, with the former edging off Carey's gloves to Warner late, before England's final two did enough to claim a hard-earned draw.

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