England held Australia to a slender first-innings lead of 32 runs to leave the fourth Ashes Test at Chester-le-Street intriguingly poised on yesterday’s third day.
At lunch, England were 24 for one in their second innings, eight runs behind, with captain Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott unbeaten on 17 and five respectively, after Ryan Harris clean bowled Joe Root (two) with a superb seaming delivery that clipped the top of off stump.
England, who at 2-0 up in the five-match series had already retained the Ashes following the drawn third Test at Old Trafford, dismissed Australia for 270 earlier yesterday after they added 48 runs to their overnight 222 for five.
Australia resumed with opener Chris Rogers 101 not out, following the 35-year-old left-handed opener’s painstaking maiden Test hundred on Saturday, made in the face of superb seam bowling from Stuart Broad, who finished the innings with five wickets for 71 runs in 24.3 overs.
Brad Haddin added just one to his overnight 12 before he played back to off-spinner Graeme Swann, bowling from around the wicket, and was LBW to a delivery that hit him in front of middle stump.
Haddin reviewed, but with DRS indicating neither an edge nor that the ball had pitched outside leg stump, New Zealand umpire Tony Hill’s decision was upheld and England had a wicket before the new ball with Australia on 224 for six in the 76th over.
Swann then made it two for six in 10 balls when Rogers, pushing forward defensively, was brilliantly caught one-handed off glove and pad for 110 by wicketkeeper Matt Prior, diving in front of the stumps.
Hill originally ruled not out, but England overturned his decision on review and Rogers, who batted for nearly six hours, was out having faced 225 balls with 14 boundaries.
Cook took the new ball as soon as possible, with Australia two behind at 236 for seven off 80 overs, and then, at first slip, held a low catch to dismiss Peter Siddle off James Anderson, who then had Nathan Lyon LBW.
Broad had the ninth five-wicket haul of his 61-Test career when he ended the innings by having Harris out LBW on review with Hill, somewhat comically, reversing his signal with no players in front of him as they headed to the changing rooms.