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Despite Bairstow’s century, England remains in trouble in the 4th Test of the Ashes

He removed captain Joe Root for a duck three overs later as he continued his remarkable performance in his first Ashes series.

SNS | New Delhi |

England posted 258/7 on Day 3 of the fourth Ashes Test after Jonny Bairstow’s unbeaten century (103 from 140 balls) on another rain-interrupted day, as Pat Cummins and Scott Boland each took two wickets as Australia strengthened their advantage with the ball.

Playing his second Ashes game in the five-Test series, Bairstow scored the tourists’ first century of the series, but batting with the tail he must close the 158-run deficit from the first innings. The first innings score for Australia was 416/8.

Mitchell Starc claimed a wicket in Australia’s fifth over during the first session after a delayed start.

Despite surviving the last part of Cummins and Starc’s opening spell, Zak Crawley and Dawid Malan failed to respond to what followed. Scott Boland pinned Crawley’s off stump in his second over of the innings, giving Sydney fans plenty to cheer about on Boxing Day as he dismissed the England opener for 18.

He removed captain Joe Root for a duck three overs later as he continued his remarkable performance in his first Ashes series. Root edged Boland’s delivery to second slip, where Steve Smith took an impressive catch from Root.

The visitors’ situation worsened as the lunch break approached. A ball flicked off Malan’s hip was caught by Usman Khawaja at leg slip by Australia all-rounder Cameron Green. With all the work still to be done, Green’s delivery was the last of the first session as England headed into lunch 36/4.

Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow opened England’s comeback after failing to score for 10 overs and losing three wickets. Stokes was fortunate not to walk after Cummins dropped him on nine. In an attempt to clip Stokes’ off stump, Green steamed in but the bails remained intact.

After the Australians’ misfortune, England’s duo brought up a 50-run partnership before Stokes scored his 25th Test half-century off 70 deliveries.

Nathan Lyon bowled Stokes lbw on 66 after he hit his off-spinner into the stumps from around the wicket. Cummins dealt a nasty blow to Buttler’s thumb, and two overs later he was bowled for a duck by the Australian captain.

In an entertaining evening knock, Bairstow had a valuable partner in Mark Wood, who hit three sixes and two fours. While Cummins bowled all three sixes, it was Wood whose edge ended up on his helmet and in Nathan Lyon’s hands.

As Bairstow moved into the nineties, Jack Leach (4 not out) accompanied him. Slashing over the slip cordon for a boundary, he became the first English player to reach triple figures in the series.

Australia declared at 416/8 in its 70 overs vs England at 258/7 (Jonny Bairstow 103 not out, Ben Stokes 66, Mark Wood 39; Pat Cummins 2/68, Scott Boland 2/25).

(With inputs from IANS)