Usman Khawaja Michael Clarke

Usman Khawaja (left) and Michael Clarke shared a 98-run fourth-wicket stand to deny England © Getty Images

By Jaideep Vaidya
 
Jul 21, 2013

Australia slipped closer to defeat in the second Test against England at Lord’s as they lost three wickets in the afternoon session to take tea at 136 for six on Day Four of the second Test.

After losing three wickets in the first session, an inspired fourth-wicket partnership between Usman Khawaja (54) and captain Michael Clarke (51) revived Australia’s innings, before Joe Root struck twice minutes before tea to dismiss both batsmen. Tim Bresnan then got the wicket of Steven Smith on what turned out to be the last ball before the break, with Australia’s deficit standing at 446 with just four wickets in hand and as many sessions to play out.
 
Earlier, England moved closer to a 2-0 lead in The Ashes as they set Australia a mammoth target of 583 to win, before reducing them to 48 for three at lunch. England declared their second innings on 349 for seven in the morning, after losing the wickets of overnight batsmen Jonny Bairstow (20) and Joe Root (180) within the first 20 minutes of the day.
 
Bairstow was the first to go after getting cramped up for room and edging Ryan Harris to the wicketkeeper. Root, unbeaten on 178 overnight, added two more runs to his total before going for an audacious overhead scoop off Harris, but could only find third-man. The 22-year-old thus missed out on becoming the first English right-handed opener since Graham Gooch to score a double hundred. England skipper Alastair Cook immediately declared the team’s innings after Root’s wicket, thus giving Australia an improbable target to win.
 
With a snowflake’s chance in hell of saving the game, Australia had their pride to protect if not anything. However, the spitting cobra nature of the Day Four Lord’s pitch heaped on the misery on the tourists as Graeme Swann picked up a brace before lunch. Australia lost the wickets of Shane Watson, Chris Rogers and Phil Hughes before the interval, and faced an uphill task of making it to the tea break.
 
However, Khawaja and Clarke went on to build a gritty little partnership, playing out the England bowlers, Graeme Swann in particular, really well. England’s leading spinner was getting vicious turn from the spitting cobra of a Day Four pitch at Lord’s. But Clarke played his typical leggy innings and used his feet efficiently against Swann. Khawaja also showed the required maturity and stuck around with his captain, executing the pull shot with elegance.
 
The duo looked set to carry Australia into the tea break without further damage, before Root got Clarke to nick him to leg-slip 20 minutes before tea, after a 98-run stand. Root’s day got better as he got Khawaja in his very next over, to pour water on all of Australia’s efforts.

Brief scores:

England 361 (Jonathan Trott 58, Ian Bell 109, Jonny Bairstow 67; Ryan Harris 5 for 72, Steven Smith 3 for 18) and 349 for 7 (Joe Root 180, Ian Bell 74; Peter Siddle 3 for 65) lead Australia 128 (Shane Watson 30; Tim Bresnan 2 for 28, Graeme Swann 5 for 44) and 136 for 3 (Usman Khawaja 54, Michael Clarke 51; , Joe Root 2 for 8, Graeme Swann 2 for 44) by 446 runs.

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