England will need a miracle to stop Australia going into a 2-0 series lead after close on day four of the Second test in Adelaide.
"I’m disappointed to lose my wicket. I always have the mindset of trying to bat all day and wanted to be out there at the end of the day." - Joe Root
The tourists will resume day five on 247-6, 284 runs away from an improbable world-record Test victory target of 531 after Australia declared overnight on 132 for three.
Alastair Cook’s men, for the first time in the match, showed some grit with Yorkshire’s Joe Root leading the way with a composed 87 in the pressure cooker environment of Ashes cricket. He eventually succumbed to an inside edge off Nathan Lyon, which deflected off his thigh into the gloves of Brad Haddin, who took his 200th Test dismissal diving in front of the bowling crease (pictured below).
From 20 for two, the second-wicket pair of Root and Kevin Pietersen put on 111 and took the game to Australia. Root, who will almost certain retain his position at number three for the third Test in Perth starting next Thursday, showed maturity beyond his years with a dogged display against some ferocious fast bowling. He withstood two express spells from Mitchell Johnson, and the 22-year-old occupied the crease for almost four-and-half hours until he lost his wicket.
“We needed guys to get some scores and show a bit of fight,” said Root at the close.
“As a team we know we have been under-performing. That is quite evident. We need to front up to the challenge ourselves, make sure we get in a scrap and do the country proud and let’s hope that continues into the final day.
“I enjoy the battle with Mitchell Johnson (Root and Johnson, share a moment, right) – he is trying to do his job for his country and I’m trying to do my job for mine. That is part of Test cricket.
“I’m disappointed to lose my wicket. I always have the mindset of trying to bat all day and wanted to be out there at the end of the day.
“The players we have left will have to scrap tomorrow. Stu (Stuart Broad) and Matt (Prior) looked in good shape at the end of play and they are going to have do that again tomorrow. It won’t be easy but we have to make it really difficult for the Australians and try to frustrate them.”