2017 Ashes: Australia on verge of taking 1-0 lead

By @saihoops on
2017 Ashes
Cricket - Ashes test match - Australia v England - GABBA Ground, Brisbane, Australia, November 26, 2017. England's James Anderson and Stuart Broad walk behind Australia's Cameron Bancroft and teammate David Warner at the end of the fourth day of the first Ashes cricket test match. Reuters / David Gray

The Australian cricket team is on the verge of claiming a 1-0 lead in the five-match Test series against England at the Brisbane Cricket Ground in Woolloongabba, Brisbane. Steven Smith's team only requires 56 runs with all ten wickets intact as they enter the fifth and final day of the Test match.

After bowling out England for 195 in the second innings, Australia finished at 114/0 at the end of Day 4, in the pursuit of 170 runs for victory. While vice-captain David Warner is unbeaten at 60, debutant opener Cameron Bancroft is not out at 51, after bringing up the first half-century of his Test career. 

Earlier in the day, Mitchell Starc (3-51), Josh Hazlewood (3-46) and Nathan Lyon (3-67) picked up three wickets apiece to bowl out the visitors for less than 200 runs. At one stage, England captain Joe Root looked to consolidate the innings with a brisk half-century. However, Root's dismissal was followed by a 41-run partnership between Moeen Ali (40) and Johnny Bairstow (42), before which England's lower order collapsed quickly. 

Australia had claimed a 26-run first-innings lead courtesy of an unbeaten century from captain Steven Smith (141 not out). Smith and Shaun Marsh (51) added 99 runs for the fifth-wicket, while fast bowler Pat Cummins contributed an invaluable 42 late in the innings. England had amassed a first-innings total of 302 all out after electing to bat first on an up-and-down Gabba wicket.

2017 Ashes: David Warner holds fort for Australia

As aptly described by ESPNCricinfo, David Warner curbed his natural, aggressive instincts to steer Australia to the verge of a win on Day 4. "Warner, whose second-innings onslaughts had been such a crucial factor in the 5-0 whitewash in 2013-14, took a more measured route to his latest Ashes half-century, which came from 74 balls with not so much as a boundary until his 27th delivery. But he did not need to rush on this occasion -- worryingly for England, where the Aussie quicks had been able to threaten with pace through the air, even when the wicket had been at its most sluggish."

The 2017 Ashes will proceed to the Adelaide Oval for the second Test starting Dec. 2. England has won the last five Ashes series against their arch-rivals, dating back to 2009 series at home. Australia, however, registered a 5-0 sweep of England when they last hosted the Ashes in 2013-14.