Ashes 2013: Australia on Cusp of Taking 2-0 Lead as England Stutter

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By IBTimes Staff Reporter | December 8, 2013 7:07 PM EST


Australia are closing in on their second straight win in the Ashes with the hosts needing only four wickets to take a 2-0 lead in the series. England ended the day on 247/6 and are staring down the barrel with a whole day remaining.

The Aussies had ended day three on 132/3 with David Warner and Steven Smith at the crease. However, Michael Clarke decided to declare the innings on the morning of the fourth day, setting England a target of 531 with two days remaining. Warner was not given an opportunity to complete his century and was left stranded on 83.

In reply, England started the innings slowly, losing Alastair Cook and Michael Carberry with only 20 runs on board. Cook was the first to go to a brilliant ball from Mitchell Johnson who has been a revelation this series. With two wickets down, Joe Root and Kevin Pieterson held the innings together with a 111-run partnership before Pieterson was opened up by Peter Siddle with England reeling at 131/3. With Root at the other end it was up to Ian Bell to stabilise the innings, but he failed and returned to the dressing room after adding only six runs.

Root and Ben Stokes tried to put England back on course but failed as both batsmen fell within 40 runs of each other. Root was the pick of the batsmen for the visitors, scoring 87 in difficult circumstances where none of the England batsmen had managed to get a proper start. The day ended with Stuart Broad (22*) and Matt Prior (31*) at the crease. Broad hit Johnson for two consecutive boundaries on the final day which was followed by an exchange of words between the two players.

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