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The Ashes Round-Up: Australia close in on 4-0 after Marsh masterclasses

Australia will need six wickets to wrap up a 4-0 Ashes series win after racking up 649-7 before England were reduced to 93-4.

NEWS
07 Jan 2018, 14:05 IST
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ShaunMarshcropped
Shaun Marsh celebrates scoring a century with his brother Mitchell

Brothers Shaun and Mitchell Marsh scored centuries as Australia posted a huge total before taking four wickets to close in on a crushing victory in the final Ashes Test at the SCG.

Shaun Marsh made 156 and his younger sibling 101 on another torturous day for the tourists in searing Sydney heat, Australia racking up a mammoth 649-7 declared on day four - their third-highest Ashes score on home soil.

That gave Steve Smith's side a massive lead of 303 and they will need only six wickets to seal a 4-0 win on the final day after England were reduced to 93-4 at stumps - trailing by 210.

Nathan Lyon struck twice, but Joe Root showed resistance with an unbeaten 42 despite sustaining a finger injury after taking a blow from Mitchell Starc on a day which saw temperatures soar to over 41 degrees Celsius - and as high as 56 in the middle.

 

THE HEADLINES

- The Marsh brothers both score their second hundreds of the series, putting on 169 for the fifth wicket, and Tim Paine adds 38 not out before Smith declares an hour prior to tea.

- England spinner Mason Crane finishes with 1-193 from 48 overs, putting him fifth on the list of the worst figures on Test debut.

- Alastair Cook becomes the sixth player to reach 12,000 Test runs, but falls for 10. Mark Stoneman (0), James Vince (18) and Dawid Malan (5) also fail.

- Lyon strikes twice, while Starc and Pat Cummins take a wicket apiece but Root and Jonny Bairstow (17no) see it through to the close.

 

MOMENT OF THE DAY

Mitchell Marsh was in danger of having his celebrations cut short when he jumped to give his brother a hug mid-pitch before completing a second run and a second Test hundred.

The all-rounder had to remind his older brother to get into his ground with captain Smith looking alarmed on the balcony, fearing a run out.

There was another embrace for the centurions after an embarrassing dismissal was avoided before Mitchell Marsh was bowled from the next delivery.

 

OPTA FACTS

- For a second year running three Australian batsmen hit centuries in the same innings at the SCG (Matt Renshaw, David Warner, and Peter Handscomb also reached three figures against Pakistan).

- This was the 20th time Australia have reached 500 in the Ashes in the last 30 years. England have done it five times in that period.

- At 22.7, James Vince has the lowest Test average of any specialist batsman to have played 10 or more matches since his career began in May 2016.

 

REACTION

"It was a lot of fun to be out there with Mitch. It's been a fantastic day. For me, I try and take it one game at a time and keep enjoying it." - Shaun Marsh, speaking to ABC.

Asked if England can salvage a draw, assistant coach Paul Farbrace told Test Match Special: "Of course we can. There's absolutely no point coming tomorrow if you don't believe that. If you don't, you're in a tough position as a team. Our belief is we can get through tomorrow and get something out of the game."

 

A MATTER OF TIME?

Despite Farbrace's optimism it is surely a case of when, and not if, Australia wrap up another big victory.

Yet Root showed great application late in the day, with Bairstow also looking assured, and the captain will be desperate to score a first hundred in what has been a dismal series for his side.

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