Irrespective of the result, a final day, final session, last ball finish will go down as a moral victory for England. Joe Root & Co tried to salvage a draw in the fourth Ashes Test at Sydney Cricket Ground, and they did it in dramatic fashion and in the process, ended Australia's dreams of a 5-0 Ashes sweep. That's some achievement for a team that has experienced chastening results in the tour. Chasing an improbable target of 388 runs, England managed 270/9 in 102 overs to share the spoils. It came down to two of England's greatest, Stuart Broad and James Anderson, who blocked an over each in trying circumstances to save the match. The match will also be remembered for a certain Usman Khawaja, for his two centuries. The series finale at Bellerive Oval in Hobart, a Day-night affair, starts January 14. Catch highlights and scores here:
1:22 PM IST: Result
And James Anderson, probably playing his final match at the SCG, blocks the last six balls from Steve Smith. It's a draw. ENG - 270/9
1:18 PM IST: Stuart Broad blocks six balls from Nathan Lyon. Six balls to go. Steve Smith with the last ball. Count down begins...
1:12 PM IST: Nine Down
Steve Smith strikes. Jack Leach goes for 26 off 34. Caught at first slip by David Warner. One wicket, two overs. England need 118 runs. ENG - 270/9 (100)
12:53 PM IST: Seven Overs To Go
Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland bowling in tandem. Starc with his 18th over. Jack Leach flicks the fifth ball for a four. He's unbeaten on 14 off 20. England need 131 runs. ENG - 257/8 (95)
12:33 PM IST: Boland Strikes
Bat pad. And Jonny Bairstow goes for 41 off 105. Inside edge onto the pad and Marnus Labuschagne takes the rebound at silly mid-off. Third for Scott Boland. Stuart Broad is the new man. England need 151 runs. ENG - 237/8 (91.2)
12:25 PM IST: 12 Overs To Go
Scott Boland continues. A maiden to Jack Leach (1 off 10). England need 156 runs. 12 overs remaining in the match. ENG - 232/7 (90)
12:08 PM IST: Drinks
Pat Cummins continues. 25 runs and two wickets in the last ten overs. England need 164 runs. ENG - 224/7 (87)
11:56 AM IST: Cummins Again
Two in two for Pat Cummins. Toe breaker. Mark Wood goes for a two-ball duck. Jack Leach is the new man. England need 170 runs. ENG - 218/7 (84.6)
11:52 AM IST: Cummins Strikes
Australia take review. Pat Cummins removes Jos Buttler (11 off 38), trapped in front. 25-run stand broken. England need 170 runs. Mark Wood is the new man. ENG - 218/6 (84.4)
11:42 AM IST: England Need 172
Pat Cummins with his 17th over. A single off the third as Jonny Bairstow plays it to mid-wicket. Bairstow on 26 off 71. England need 172 runs. ENG - 216/5 (83)
11:26 AM IST: Bowling Change
Steve Smith on with his leg spin. Jonny Bairstow takes strike. Seven from it. England need 181 runs. ENG - 207/5 (80)
11:06 AM IST: Stokes Goes
Nathan Lyon breaks the 99-ball stand give Australia the opening. Ben Stokes caught by Steve Smith at the first slip. Stokes goes for 60 off 123. Jos Buttler joins Jonny Bairstow. England need 195 runs. ENG - 193/5 (74.4)
10:45 AM IST: Stoke Fifty
Scott Boland with his 19th over. A couple off the fourth ball. Ben Stokes (50 off 107) and Jonny Bairstow (13 off 42) are in a 25-run stand. England need 207 runs. ENG - 181/4 (70)
10:32 AM IST: Post-tea Session
Players are back for the post-tea session. Scott Boland to resume proceedings. Ben Stokes to take the strike.
10:13 AM IST: Tea
Players to take 20 minutes break. Nathan Lyon with the final ove before tea, and a maiden to Jonny Bairstow. England need 214 runs. But more importantly, they need to survive 35 overs to salvage a draw. Ben Stokes and Bairstow unbeaten on 46 off 97 and 10 off 34 respectively. ENG - 174/4 (67)
9:39 AM IST: Root Goes
Scott Boland gets England captain again, for the third time. Nick and taken gleefully by Alex Carey. Joe Root goes for 24 off 85. And 60-run stand in 152 balls is broken. England need 232 runs. England's first innings hero Jonny Bairstow is the new man. ENG - 156/4 (58.1)
9:24 AM IST: 150 Up
Scott Boland returns for his 13th over. A maiden to Joe Root. England need 238 runs. ENG - 150/3 (55)
9:14 AM IST: 50-run Stand
Ben Stokes hits Mitchell Starc for a four to the mid-wicket boundary to bring up a 50-run stand, in 120 balls. England need 241 runs. ENG - 147/3 (52.5)
9:01 AM IST: England Fight
Cameron Green continues and a maiden to Joe Root (1 off 63). England skipper in an unbeaten stand of 39 runs in 103 balls with Ben Stokes (23 off 51). England need 253 runs. ENG - 135/3 (50)
8:50 AM IST: Root Four
Cameron Green with his ninth over. Three runs from the over. In the previous over, Joe Root hit Mitchell Starc for a four, off the fourth ball after lunch. England need 259 runs. ENG - 129/3 (48)
8:40 AM IST: Play Resumes
Players are back for the post-lunch session. England need 266 runs. Australia need seven wickets. 56 overs remaining in the match. All to play for.
8:35 AM IST: Play will resume in five minutes' time. Seven overs lost due to rain.
8:24 AM IST: Covers are being removed.
7:36 AM IST: And covers are on!
Unfortunately the covers are on at the SCG #Ashes— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 9, 2022
7:30 AM IST: Well, it's raining in Sydney.
7:04 AM IST: Lunch
Nathan Lyon with the final over before lunch. A single. His figures so far: 1/11 in nine overs. Joe Root and Ben Stokes are unbeaten on 13 off 46 and 16 off 44 respectively. England need 266 runs. 122/3 (46)
6:59 AM IST: Dropped
Marcus Harris drops Ben Stokes on 16 at short leg off Pat Cummins. Stokes and Joe Root (12) have added 25 runs in 73 balls for the fourth wicket. England need 267 runs. 121/3 (45)
6:28 PM IST: 100 Up For England
Nathan Lyon on with his fourth over. Maiden to Joe Root (5 off 23). 36 runs and two wickets in the last ten overs. England need 288 runs. ENG - 100/3 (36)
6:14 AM IST: Crawley Goes
Cameron Green ends a fine innings from Zak Crawley. Misses the yorker and is trapped in front. Crawley goes for 77 off 100. England need 292 runs. Ben Stokes joins Joe Root (5 off 11). ENG - 96/2 (32.5)
5:48 AM IST: Lyon Strikes
England lose Dawid Malan (4 off 29) at the stroke of drinks. Bowled by Nathan Lyon. Joe Root will join Zak Crawley in the middle. ENG - 74/2 (27.5)
5:36 AM IST: Crawley Fifty
Zak Crawley completes his fifth Test fifty in the 23rd over after Scott Boland resumed the proceedings on Day 5. England need 324 runs. England started the day at 30/0 in 11 overs, needing 358 in 98 overs. In the 20th over, Boland had Haseeb Hameed caught behind for 9 off 58. ENG - 64/1 (25)
Make that TWO!
Back-to-back centuries for Usman Khawaja - and he's made it look really easy! ðÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂÂ #Ashes pic.twitter.com/cGcDCHLjnR— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) January 8, 2022
The record fourth-innings chase at the Sydney Cricket Ground is 288. It was achieved by Ricky Ponting's Australia against South Africa in 2006. Given England's batting frailties in this Ashes series, it will be a tall task for the Three Lions to chase 350-plus runs on a wearing Day 5 SCG wicket.
If the rain doesn't play spoilsport, Australia will be backing themselves to make it 4-0. Usman Khawaja has put the home team in a dominant position with back-to-back centuries in Sydney.
And Australia have the arsenal to take all 10 England wickets. At stumps on Saturday, England were 30 for no loss with openers Zak Crawley and Haseeb Hameed surviving 11 torrid overs of pace from Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Scott Boland.
Day 4 on Saturday clearly belonged to Usman Khawaja. Overnight batting star, England's Jonny Bairstow was out for 113 and the visitors could add only another 36 runs to their 258 for seven at stumps on Day 3. Australia got a healthy first-innings lead of 122 runs after Boland returned figures of four for 36 and now has 11 wickets in his first three Test innings.
Khawaja, who scored 137 in the first innings in his first appearance since the 2019 Ashes series in England, headlined another dominant day for Australia with an unbeaten 101 off 138 balls as part of a 179-run partnership with Cameron Green (74). This put Australia in the driver's seat.