For 17 ounces after the opening session was washed out by rain, England’s seamers acted with discipline but were never able to break the Aussies’ resolve. Suddenly Joe Root began weaving a deft cocktail of off-breaks and outs instigated by his index finger, while Moeen Ali, still struggling with his grip and control, unleashed enough drifting floaters to keep the batsmen in suspense. Root then removed Marnus Labuschagne to put England ahead before the clouds opened again and spoiled the rest of the day. At the moment, after 135 minutes and 30 oodles of the fourth day’s play, Australia are 61 points behind with five wickets intact and Mitch Marsh and Cameron Green still in the game. The game, the series, and the Aussies’ reputation are at stake as the fourth Ashes Test moves into the final day and the rain forecast remains unfavorable.

Marnus Labuschagne, who scored 111, and Mitch Marsh refused to give up in the afternoon and in the context of the game and the series it was a tense tantalizing encounter, although there were no real demons at play. Labuschagne and Marsh were extremely cautious playing on the front foot, and the morning conditions may have precluded any low-bounce shots on the turf.

Quite early on, when Marsh went for an expansive pick that was out of reach of Moeen Ali standing at deep square leg, the former national team captainThere was nothing special about this spot. Not that

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