Root battles illness to hold firm alongside Bairstow


Lunch England 346 and 5 for 144 (Root 58*, Bairstow 38*) trail Australia 7 for 649 dec by 159 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

England went to stumps last night with Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow at the crease, and went to lunch today with Root and Bairstow still there. However, as if part of some sort of riddle, England had also managed to lose a wicket in the meantime, with Root having retired hurt before the start of play due to a viral gastroenteritis bug. At lunch, England were fighting hard for a draw, at 5 for 144, still trailing by 159 runs.

Root was on 58 and Bairstow had 38, and the only wicket to fall during the session was that of Moeen Ali, who was lbw for 13 to a delivery that slid on from Nathan Lyon. It continued Lyon’s remarkable hold over Moeen this series – seven of Moeen’s nine dismissals this campaign had come against Lyon. It also wrapped up a wretched tour for Moeen generally, who took five wickets at 115.00 and failed to score a half-century.

England had added 51 runs in the session for the loss of Moeen, with Bairstow looking solid and Root showing no particular signs of the illness that saw him in hospital overnight. From his 136th ball, Root brought up his fifth fifty of the series; none have yet been converted into hundreds, but if he can do so in this innings and help England salvage a draw it would be a considerable achievement.

Lyon bowled unchanged through almost the entire session, rested only for one over from Mitchell Marsh immediately before the lunch break. Australia went to lunch five wickets away from what they hope will become a 4-0 series result, with the Ashes having already been secured after their victory in the third Test in Perth.



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