The Ashes battle is over for this year - England fought hard and made sure they avoided a series defeat on home soil, but a 2-2 result sees Australia retain the urn.

Steve Smith was the catalyst for triumphs at Edgbaston and Old Trafford but, in the main, ball dominated bat.

Pitches offered some assistance to the two high-quality seam attacks and with the English weather occasionally getting involved, there was rarely a dull moment across the five matches between the old rivals.

After the first drawn series since 1972, we have picked some of the notable numbers from Opta...

 

2 - In making scores of 144 and 142 in the opening Test in Birmingham, Smith became the fifth player to record two centuries in the same Ashes Test.

4 - Nathan Lyon is just the fourth Australian bowler to reach 350 Test wickets. He moved above Dennis Lillee into third place on the all-time list for his country, with just Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne now above him.

5 - With victory at The Oval, England are still unbeaten in a Test series on home soil since June 2014. Sri Lanka were the last visiting team to prevail, recording a 1-0 triumph under Angelo Mathews.

7 - Stuart Broad dominated his personal duel with David Warner, dismissing the Australia opener seven times while conceding just 35 runs against him.

8 - England's eight-match unbeaten streak in Tests at Edgbaston came to an end; the last time they had previously tasted defeat at the venue was in 2008 (against South Africa).

10 - An impressive run of successive half-centuries in Ashes games for Smith came to an end in his final knock of the series. The right-hander was caught at leg slip off the bowling of Broad for 23 in the fifth Test.

16 - Broad got more left-handers out than anyone else (16); he averaged just 13.7 against them, compared to 56.3 against right-handed batsmen. 

20 - England had played 20 successive Tests without a draw before the game at Lord's, where rain wiped out the entire first day's play of the second Test.

29 - Pat Cummins set an unusual record - his tally of wickets is the most in a Test series by a bowler without claiming a five-for in any innings.

135 - Ben Stokes posted his highest Test score against Australia with an unforgettable match-winning knock at Headingley that included eight sixes.

390 - Left-hander Rory Burns was easily the top-scoring opener for either team. Australia's trio of David Warner (95 runs), Marcus Harris (58 runs) and Cameron Bancroft (44 runs) all struggled for the visitors.

Australia have been set 399 runs to win the Ashes series 3-1 after England were bowled out early on day four of the final Test at The Oval.

England were dismissed for 329 in their second innings after resuming on 313-8 on a glorious Sunday in London, Jofra Archer falling for only three before Jack Leach (nine) was dismissed by Nathan Lyon (4-69).

Australia successfully reviewed after Archer was given not out by umpire Marais Erasmus when he gloved Pat Cummins (2-67) behind in the second over of the day.

Stuart Broad smashed Cummins for two sixes in an over but was left stranded on 12 when Leach was taken by Josh Hazlewood attempting to hit Lyon for a boundary.

Australia face a huge run chase under blue skies as they eye a first Ashes win in England since 2001, with Joe Root's side strong favourites to salvage a 2-2 draw a week after a defeat at Old Trafford gave them no chance of regaining the urn.

David Warner set an unwanted record when he failed again on day two of the final Ashes Test, but Australia talisman Steve Smith was unbeaten at lunch after Jofra Archer's double strike at The Oval.

Mitchell Marsh (5-46) claimed a maiden five-wicket Test haul and Pat Cummins (3-84) dismissed Jos Buttler for 70 to bowl England out for 294 early on a sunny Friday in London.

The tourists, striving for a 3-1 series win after retaining the urn at Old Trafford, were in trouble on 14-2, with opener Warner and Marcus Harris falling to the excellent Archer.

Warner made only five to become the first opener to fall for eight single-digit scores in a Test series, but the prolific Smith (14 not out) and Marnus Labuschagne (32no) saw Australia through to 55-2 at the end of the morning session.

Buttler added only six runs to his overnight score before playing on to a delivery from the outstanding Cummins after England resumed on 271-8.

Jack Leach (21) also chopped to end the innings and give recalled all-rounder Marsh, who stated "most of Australia hates me" after taking four wickets on the opening day, his best Test figures.

Archer then steamed in to see the back of both of Australia's struggling openers, Warner given out caught behind following a review after Marais Erasmus did not detect an edge, and Harris (three) snicking to Ben Stokes at second slip.

Stuart Broad was also on the money with the new ball, but Labuschagne showed good judgement and scored boundaries on both sides of the wicket after weathering an early storm.

Smith played and missed to Archer on more than one occasion and Sam Curran probed with a touch of swing, but there was more than a sense of deja vu as fidgety former Australia captain Smith set himself ominously.

Mitchell Marsh claimed a maiden five-wicket Test haul as Australia bowled England out for 294 before David Warner failed again early in the morning session on day two of the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

Recalled all-rounder Marsh struck four times as England collapsed on the opening day and ended the innings on a sunny Friday, with Jack Leach playing on for 21.

Marsh, who stated "most of Australia hates me" after the close of play on Thursday, finished with Test-best figures of 5-46, while Pat Cummins (3-84) removed Jos Buttler for 70 after England resumed on 271-8.

Buttler also chopped on attempting to launch Cummins down the ground to fall, having struck three sixes and seven fours, with England striving to salvage a 2-2 draw after the tourists retained the urn at Old Trafford.

Warner's miserable run continued when he was given out caught behind flashing at Jofra Archer for only five, Joe Root successfully reviewing after umpire Marais Erasmus did not detect an edge.

Recalled all-rounder Mitchell Marsh claimed four wickets as England collapsed before Jos Buttler made a counter-attacking unbeaten half-century to frustrate Australia on day one the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

England, attempting to salvage a 2-2 draw, were in a promising position on 170-3 after Tim Paine surprisingly asked them to bat first on a sunny Thursday in London.

Joe Root was dropped three times but England crumbled after the captain - who passed 7000 Test runs - was dismissed by the excellent Pat Cummins for 57, losing five wickets for 56 runs to slump to 226-8.

Marsh, playing his first match of the series at the expense of Travis Head, took 4-35, while the excellent Cummins and Josh Hazlewood claimed two wickets apiece to put the tourists on top as they eye a 3-1 victory.

Buttler (64 not out) then went on the attack - with support from Jack Leach - in a frantic final session, which England ended on 271-8 - having been 103-1 just after lunch.

A juggling Steve Smith caught Joe Denly (14) at the third attempt to end an opening stand of 27 - the highest of the series - and Cummins (2-73) should have had a second wicket when the recalled Peter Siddle put Root down on 24 at deep backward square-leg.

Root had just another run to his name when he was spilled by Paine after Cummins drew an edge and the skipper was on 30 when Smith dropped a tough chance diving to his right at second slip, Siddle the unfortunate bowler on that occasion.

England's premier batsman drove Hazlewood (2-76) for four to reach a notable personal milestone after lunch but Rory Burns tamely top-edged the same bowler to Marsh at mid-on, having struck seven boundaries in an otherwise assured knock.

Ben Stokes, playing as a specialist batsman due to a shoulder injury, gifted a first wicket to Marsh attempting to pull the all-rounder but ballooning to Nathan Lyon for 20 and there was no reprieve for Root when Cummins bowled him with a top-class delivery after tea.

Marsh trapped Jonny Bairstow (22) in front on the full with a yorker and seeing the back of Sam Curran, who hooked Cummins for six and could not take advantage of being called back after the paceman overstepped when he snared him lbw.

The impressive Marsh also removed Chris Woakes and Jofra Archer edged Hazlewood behind as England fell to pieces, but Buttler went into one-day mode with Leach digging in.

Buttler was struck by a short ball from Hazlewood before hitting the quick for three sixes - the third taking him to a half-century - and brought out the reverse sweep as Leach (10no) stood firm at the other end in an unbroken stand of 45.

 

MARSH MAKES HIS MARK, CUMMINS RELENTLESS

The probing Marsh and a relentless Cummins put Australia in the ascendancy with potent bursts early in the final session, the former generating swing and executing the yorker superbly as he took 3-17 in an eight-over spell after tea.

Marsh pulled up with cramp but was able to return after leaving the field, while the hostile Cummins was his usual outstanding self, charging in for 22.5 overs just four days after putting in such a big shift on the final day of the win in Manchester.

BUTTLER DELIVERS, LEACH MAKES CASE FOR THE DEFENCE

Buttler showed resilience with England battling to try and force a draw on a tense last day at Old Trafford, but played his natural game when he was in danger of running out of partners.

He clattered Hazlewood over the ropes down the ground twice and hooked him for another six to lift the spirits of England fans, while Leach was solid in defence in a frustrating end to the day for Australia.

MOMENT OF THE DAY

Cummins has been outstanding for the tourists throughout the series and conjured up another pearler to remove Root, who lost his off stump caught on the crease after being removed in similar fashion by the quick in the second innings of the fourth Test.

OPTA FACTS

- Marsh has four wickets in an innings for just the second time in his Test career, the other occasion coming when he took 4-61 against West Indies in December 2015.

- Buttler has moved past 7000 runs in all formats for England.

- Root has failed to convert any of his last nine Ashes half-centuries into a hundred.

Josh Hazlewood struck the final blow as Australia beat battling England by 185 runs on a tense final day of the fourth Test at a raucous Old Trafford to retain the urn.

England resumed on Sunday in deep trouble on 18-2 and needing a highly improbable 383 to win, but more realistically to bat out for a draw which would give them the chance of a series victory with one match remaining at The Oval next week. 

The outstanding Pat Cummins (4-43) removed Jason Roy and Headingley hero Ben Stokes before lunch, but England had hope of saving the match when they were six wickets down at tea, with Joe Denly (53) one of only two men to depart in the afternoon session.

England continued to show resistance as Jos Buttler made 34 off 111 balls on his 29th birthday, while Craig Overton and Jack Leach also dug in with the backing of a packed crowd in Manchester.

Overton and Leach fended off 14 overs in a gritty ninth-wicket stand before part-time spinner Marnus Labuschagne got rid of his fellow tweaker - who soaked up 51 balls after being promoted above Stuart Broad - to silence a lively crowd.

After the clocked ticked into the final hour with 13.3 overs remaining, Hazlewood ended Overton's defiant knock of 21 off 105 deliveries to dismiss England for 197, sparking wild Australia celebrations as they avoided more final-day agony and took a 2-1 lead. 

 

Jos Buttler and Craig Overton continued to frustrate Australia's bid to polish off the final four wickets required to beat England in the fourth Test at Old Trafford and retain the Ashes.

Nathan Lyon ended the resistance of Joe Denly (53) and Mitchell Starc dismissed Jonny Bairstow on a tense Sunday afternoon in Manchester to leave England 166-6 at tea.

Buttler, on his 29th birthday, dug in for a gritty 30 from 96 balls and a battling Overton will resume after the break on 12, with England needing to bat out another 36 overs for a draw to keep the series alive with a new ball soon available.

The outstanding Pat Cummins (4-41) saw the back of Jason Roy (31) and Headingley hero Ben Stokes (one) before lunch after a frustrating start for the tourists on a good pitch.

Buttler and Overton - who successfully overturned a leg before decision - put on 28 and, more importantly, stayed together for 15.5 overs to give England some hope of pulling off another great escape a fortnight after an astonishing win in Leeds.

Roy got forward with conviction in the first hour and Denly - who switched places with his partner for this Test to open - also dug in after England resumed on 18-2.

A positive Roy hit Starc for four with a glorious cover drive, but was gone when Cummins removed his off stump with a brilliant delivery, which nipped back through the gate at the end of the 18th over of the day.

Stokes came out to a huge roar, but was soon heading back to the pavilion looking dejected after inside-edging a pumped-up Cummins behind, walking off without the finger being raised by umpire Marais Erasmus in a huge moment late in the morning session.

Denly had a second half-century in as many Tests when he punched Cummins down the ground to the boundary just after lunch, but fended Lyon to Marnus Labuschagne at short leg to become the spinner's first victim of the match.

Bairstow (25) and Buttler looked comfortable as they played with a mixture of attack and defence, but Starc ended a sixth-wicket stand of 45 by snaring the former leg before with the first ball after a drinks break.

Overton was given a reprieve after being given out lbw for five, with the third umpire taking a long time to overturn the decision despite the fact Cummins' delivery appeared to strike the paceman's bat before hitting his pad outside the line of off stump.

Pat Cummins claimed the prized scalp of Ben Stokes in the morning session to leave Australia needing another six wickets to retain the Ashes at Old Trafford.

England started the final day in deep trouble on 18-2 - requiring a highly unlikely 365 more runs to win - after Cummins dismissed Rory Burns and Joe Root without scoring late on Saturday.

Jason Roy (31) and Joe Denly (48 not out) knuckled down in a third-wicket stand of 66 before the former was bowled - for the fourth time in the series - by the outstanding Cummins.

Stokes, England's saviour at Headingley a fortnight ago, was unable to come to the rescue again as he walked after nicking Cummins behind for only one.

Denly and Jonny Bairstow made it through to lunch with England 87-4, with a minimum of 71 overs to bat out for an unlikely draw and avoid going 2-1 down with one match to play.

Roy got forward with conviction in the first hour and dispatched Cummins past midwicket for four, with Denly also digging in.

Mitchell Starc troubled Denly with a short ball after replacing Cummins, the batsman flashing the left-arm quick over the slips for a streaky boundary as Australia strived for a breakthrough.

Nathan Lyon was again cheered each time he caught the ball after his costly botched run out in Leeds and the noise was cranked up when Cummins hurled the ball past him for overthrows.

Roy hit Starc for four with a glorious cover drive just before the drinks break, but was gone when Cummins removed his off stump with a brilliant delivery, which nipped back through the gate.

Stokes came out to a huge roar, but was soon heading back to the pavilion looking dejected after inside-edging a pumped-up Cummins behind, walking off without the finger being raised by umpire Marais Erasmus in a huge moment with lunch looming.

Pat Cummins has set Australia the blueprint for how to bowl England out and retain the Ashes, according to Steve Smith.

The ex-captain's 82 helped the tourists set England 383 to win at Old Trafford on Saturday, with the weather forecast clear for the final day of the Test.

Victory would ensure Australia cannot lose the series, though they will be wary of England's stunning comeback in the last match at Headingley, where Ben Stokes and Jack Leach completed an improbable one-wicket win to level the series.

England's task is even taller this time, however, with Cummins having brilliantly removed both Rory Burns and Joe Root in a superb opening over - the captain castled first ball - leaving Australia needing eight wickets on Sunday to secure the urn.

"I found when I first went out to the middle, when you bowl a good length there's enough up and down and sideways movement," Smith told reporters. "My first 20 or 30 balls I felt vulnerable when they were bowling a good length.

"Patty [Cummins] hit it beautifully tonight and I think that ball to Root is probably a blueprint for what we need to do tomorrow, first thing in the morning. The quicks, keep hitting that top of the stumps length and let the pitch do its thing, mixed with a good bouncer.

"There's no doubt in my mind the seaming ball is the hardest to play in the game. You have no time to react, you have to play the line and if it goes in it has a chance of hitting the stumps or getting an lbw, or if it goes away there's a chance of nicking it.

"A couple of our guys have exploited that well on this wicket and if they do it again, hitting the top of off stump with the same length as the Root ball, we could see a lot of lbws and caught behind the wickets.

"That's the length we've been trying to hit to Root, particularly early on in his innings and it's worked a few times. He's got out first ball a few times or early a few times with very similar balls.

"That's the length we're trying to hit and Patty did it first ball. I've no idea if it moved or what but I think it's the length that's the most important thing - and that's a good length."

David Warner's miserable series continued as Stuart Broad removed him for a duck for the second time in the Test but Smith defended the under-fire opener, who has been unable to repeat his stunning Cricket World Cup form.

"It's been tough with the new ball for both sides," Smith said. "The ball has done the most when it's new and when it gets a little softer it doesn't do as much so it gets a little easier.

"They've bowled pretty well with the new ball and I think they have bowlers who are particularly good at bowling to left-handers - Broad and [Jofra] Archer.

"It's not been easy for Davey and Marcus [Harris] but they're trying their hardest to counteract it. Their opening bowlers have been too good for the boys early on at the moment but hopefully things can turn around in the next Test match.

"He [Warner] has admitted Broad has had the wood on him this series and he's been talking to me, Justin [Langer, coach] and Hicky [Graeme, batting coach] about ways he can play. He's tried a couple of ways and they haven't worked.

"But Davey is a quality player. He hasn't had a lot of luck this series and hopefully he can turn it around and get a big one for us at The Oval."

Of his own performance, extending his faultless run of reaching at least a half-century in the series, Smith added: "When it is tough you want your experienced players to step up. I've played quite a lot of cricket now. I like to get in those situations and be the one to take the team through."

Trevor Bayliss says England are confident they can keep their Ashes hopes alive at Old Trafford by avoiding defeat on the final day against Australia as "anything is possible."

Australia had England on the ropes on 18-2 at stumps on day four in Manchester after Pat Cummins dismissed Rory Burns without scoring and Joe Root from the next ball in a brilliant first over.

First-innings double-centurion Steve Smith starred again with 82 after Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer reduced the tourists to 44-4 with two wickets apiece, Australia declaring on 186-6 late in the day.

England - all out for 301 in their first innings after lunch - need a highly unlikely 365 more runs to take a 2-1 lead or bat all day on Sunday for a draw that would set up a decider at The Oval.

Head coach Bayliss says they can inflict pain on Tim Paine's side once again, a fortnight after they pulled off a record run chase at Headingley courtesy of Ben Stokes' heroics.

"It's a big challenge but we've got two guys out there who are very good players and we've certainly got some guys in the sheds who can make hundreds," said England head coach Bayliss.

"It'll take I think a couple of our guys to make big hundreds but as we saw in the last Test, anything is possible.

"I'm always positive, I think we can do it. We've already had a chat and we're certainly not going out there thinking it's all over, if we do there's no use playing at this level.

"They believe they can go out and bat for 98 overs, put in a good performance and save the game."

Bayliss added that Stokes' incredible knock has given his team-mates belief that they can get themselves out of trouble again.

"It gives the guys a lift that if one guy can do it then somebody else can," the Australian said.

"We've already spoken about who is going to go out there and be the hero, we know it will take some hard work, but they'll be going out there with the aim to do that."

Australia closed in on a victory in the fourth Ashes Test that would ensure they retain the urn as Steve Smith again punished England, who were quickly reduced to 18-2 having been set 383 on day four.

Mitchell Starc, Smith and Pat Cummins each enjoyed their time in the spotlight on Saturday, with Australia reclaiming command of proceedings each time their hosts appeared to have been granted a glimmer of hope at Old Trafford.

Starc took 3-80 and excelled with the new ball as England, who resumed on 200-5, were dismissed for 301 in their first innings to concede a lead of 196.

The talismanic Smith - a double-centurion in Australia's first dig - then shone once more with the bat to stretch his side's advantage.

England reduced their opponents to 44-4 before Smith hit 82 off 92 balls - another wonderful innings yet incredibly his lowest score of the series to date - and Tim Paine declared on 186-6 in a bid to make swift progress against the fragile home top order.

Paine got what he wanted almost immediately as Cummins started with a double-wicket-maiden, dismissing Rory Burns and Joe Root. England duly stumbled through to stumps, three long sessions away from a draw that would keep the series alive - or, more unlikely still, requiring 365 to follow up their Headingley triumph with another stunning comeback victory.

In the morning session, England never truly recovered from the break up of the Burns-Root partnership on day three, with Starc getting movement out of the new ball to bowl Jonny Bairstow (17) before swiftly adding the big wicket of Ben Stokes (26).

Jos Buttler (41) was almost solely responsible for at least lifting England past the follow-on target of 298 before he fell to Cummins.

Australia then wobbled when batting again, with Stuart Broad continuing his domination of David Warner, trapping the opener for a third consecutive duck.

Broad kept the pressure on and got Marcus Harris (6) too, before Jofra Archer accounted for Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head in a pacy spell.

However, Smith initially dug in and then came out firing after tea, surviving brief scares as he came close to dragging on and then almost fell to a stunning attempted catch from Stokes.

While other batsmen struggled for fluency, Smith was able to score freely with some increasingly expansive strokeplay. His attempts to lift the run-rate eventually gifted a wicket to Leach as Stokes was picked out at long-off.

Matthew Wade departed to a rejuvenated Archer, before Paine smashed a quick unbeaten 23 off 18 and then declared mid-over, teeing up Cummins to dish out some early damage.

Burns fell victim to the third ball when a leading edge looped to a sprawling Head at cover, while Root's defences were breached immediately by a gorgeous delivery that took off stump.

Jason Roy saw off the hat-trick ball and survived the remaining 6.2 overs alongside Joe Denly, but England's hopes of regaining the urn appear slim with a day to play.

 

STARC CONTRAST TO DAY THREE

Starc, recalled for this Test, is not always the most consistent of bowlers and struggled a little on Friday, ending the third day on figures of 0-41.

He proved his worth on day four with two huge early wickets in a new-ball spell. After bowling Bairstow through the gate with an inswinger, he tempted an edge from Stokes, who had scored 161 runs since his previous dismissal in the first innings at Headingley.

ARCHER BACK AT IT BUT SMITH SUPREME

Archer endured the first really tough innings of his international career earlier in this match, his figures of 0-97 including a gruelling spell bowling to Smith. The wicket of Labuschagne here came as a huge relief.

But that battle with Smith still provided Archer with little reward. Until his dismissal at the hands of Leach, the Australia star, a little like Stokes in Leeds, appeared to be in one-day mode as he blasted the ball around Old Trafford.

MOMENT OF THE DAY

England were already in big trouble after losing Burns in the first over of their second innings. Their hopes of salvaging a draw receded sharply when the next ball from Cummins beat Root all ends up to leave the hosts 0-2.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Broad has got Warner six times in this series.
- Warner has had three ducks in a row. Prior to this run, he had never failed to score in successive Test innings.
- Broad has nine wickets from openers this series. Cummins has the next most on six.
- Smith has five successive Test half-centuries - his best such run.
- The Australia star has scored 293 runs in this Test match; his highest tally in a match.
- Having completed their highest successful run chase (359) at Headingley, England need to achieve the feat again to win this contest.
- Burns' duck was his first in Test cricket.

Josh Hazlewood hailed "machine" Pat Cummins after Australia's pacemen summoned up a final-session burst to put England in trouble on day three of the fourth Ashes Test.

Rory Burns and Joe Root frustrated the tourists with a third-wicket stand of 141 at Old Trafford after Hazlewood removed nightwatchman Craig Overton in the second over of the day.

Australia were eager to make up for lost time, with no play possible before lunch due to rain in Manchester, but Burns and Root dug in on a slow, dry pitch.

Hazlewood (4-48) did the damage after tea, removing Burns (81), Root (71) and Jason Roy (22) to leave England with work to do on 200-5 in reply to 497-8 declared.

Cummins was outstanding, particularly in a relentless, hostile 10-over spell at the Brian Statham End.

At stumps, Hazlewood was full of praise for the top-ranked Test bowler in the world.

Hazlewood said: "Patty rarely bowls a bad spell to be honest. He was fantastic in the evening session.

"He's always at the batsman, just keeps getting better each time he bowls. It is good to have him in the team.

"He's a machine really. He had all that bad luck with injury during his late teens and early 20s.

"He has always been a great athlete so it was always a matter of time until his body hardened up. He is the all-round package. Hopefully, it continues for him."

Josh Hazlewood did the damage but a magnificent spell from Pat Cummins set up Australia's final-session momentum swing at Old Trafford on day three.

Rory Burns and Joe Root frustrated the tourists after no play was possible before lunch on Friday due to rain.

Hazlewood removed nightwatchman Craig Overton in the second over when play finally got under way, but Burns and Root dug in to prevent any further damage from being done before tea.

Steve Smith's double-century on Thursday enabled Australia to post a mammoth 497-8, making them strong favourites to take a 2-1 lead - and retain the urn.

Burns and Root were in no mood to roll over a fortnight after England were humiliatingly dismissed for only 67 in their first innings at Headingley, before going on to pull off a stunning victory.

Try as they might, the elusive breakthrough simply would not come for the Australia bowlers, but persistence paid off after tea on a gloomy evening.

Hazlewood removed Burns (81), Root (71) and the vulnerable Jason Roy (22) as England lost three wickets for 30 runs before closing on 200-5.

Yet it was Cummins who was the standout bowler in batting friendly-conditions and a 10-over spell either side of tea in particular showed why he is the top-ranked Test bowler in the world.

The paceman was relentless as he pounded in time and again without reward on a cold day in Manchester, where the recalled Mitchell Starc failed to make an impact.

He rapped Burns on the gloves and peppered the left-hander with rapid short deliveries, beating the bat and drawing edges on a slow, dry pitch.

Cummins, blighted by injuries earlier in his career, continued to steam in with an exhibition of control, hostility and skill, leaving Root writhing in agony after hitting him on the knee.

A brilliant 10 consecutive overs from the Brian Statham End kept Burns and Root on their toes before he was finally replaced by Hazlewood.

Hazlewood's burst left England in the mire, but it was Cummins who softened them up.

Pat Cummins was impressed with Tim Paine's response to Australia's difficult defeat in the third Ashes Test and is confident they can bounce back.

Australia looked to have wrapped up the match at Headingley and retained the urn on Sunday, only for Ben Stokes to produce an incredible unbeaten 135 to hand England victory by a single wicket.

There were numerous errors from the tourists in the closing stages, most notably the decision from captain Paine to waste a review against Jack Leach shortly before Stokes appeared to be trapped in front and umpire Joel Wilson gave not out.

But while Paine has come in for criticism, star bowler Cummins saw his skipper respond in a positive way as Australia prepare to take the fight to Old Trafford.

"Painey's been brilliant," Cummins said. "He walked straight into the changing room and said, 'It's 1-1, it's all good. Two more matches to go.'

"Bowlers, him as a captain, everyone makes decisions and you reflect after the game on what you could have done differently.

"But when you look at it, a couple of catches, maybe a missed run out... When a batsman comes out and scores 100-odd like that, hitting sixes off an off-spinner out of the rough so cleanly, you've just got to say, 'Well done.'

"Someone's had a day out. We'll be alright."

Cummins felt Australia dealt well with a topsy-turvy Test, adding: "I was really proud of how everyone stayed quite level.

"When we bowled them out for 67 or when they got a partnership, we were quite even. It's the sign of a pretty confident squad."

He repeated that, ultimately, the defeat was more due to Stokes' brilliance than anything Australia did wrong.

"We're obviously disappointed," Cummins said. "It's not too often you get in that position and someone takes the game away from you like Ben Stokes did.

"We had a few chances, but it was one of the all-time great innings. There were a few things we could have done differently but, on the whole, he just played one of those innings that's hard to stop."

Joe Root and Joe Denly scored battling half-centuries but Australia remain on course to retain the Ashes after Josh Hazlewood struck twice on a glorious day three at Headingley.

England were humiliatingly bowled out for a pitiful 67 on the second day in Leeds and were set a highly unlikely 359 to level the series when the tourists were dismissed for 246 on Saturday.

The in-form Marcus Labuschagne showed great character and technique while riding his luck to make 80, with Ben Stokes taking 3-56 as England ended Australia's second innings in the morning session.

Captain Root (75not out) and the under-pressure Denly dug in to put on 126 for the third wicket after England were reduced to 15-2, but Hazlewood (2-35) removed the Kent batsman for exactly 50.

Root and his deputy Stokes were unbeaten at stumps, but England are still facing defeat at 156-3, needing a further 203 to win, with Tim Paine's side requiring seven wickets to go 2-0 up and keep the urn.

The tenacious Labuschagne was struck on the head by a Broad bouncer before being dropped by Jonny Bairstow off the same bowler on 60, having also been given three lives on day two as Australia's lead moved past 300 after they resumed on 171-6.

James Pattinson was caught by Root off Archer at first slip to end a seventh-wicket stand of 51 and Labuschagne soon required another check over from the doctor.

Archer rattled him on the grilled with a rapid bouncer, recalling the gripping battle the pair engaged in at Lord's last week.

Stokes saw the back of Pat Cummins and Labuschagne missed out on a hundred when he was run out by Denly, with Nathan Lyon chopping on to Archer to bring the innings to an end.

Rory Burns nicked Hazlewood to David Warner at first slip after lunch and the out-of-sorts Jason Roy followed in the next over, bowled by a brilliant delivery from Cummins that reduced England to 15-2.

The vast majority of a packed crowd would have been fearing a repeat of England's first-innings fiasco, but Denly and Root showed the resistance that had been so badly lacking on Friday to take tea on 90-2.

Denly took a blow on the helmet from Cummins but skipped down the track to dispatch Lyon down the ground for four and ran well with the busy Root, who drove the spinner to the cover boundary to reach his half-century.

Root successfully reviewed an lbw decision after inside edging a straight one from Hazlewood and Australia wasted a review for a Lyon leg-before shout against Denly.

He did not last much longer, though, falling caught behind after being rapped on the gloves by a hostile ball from Hazlewood after raising his bat for the second time in the longest format, leaving Root and Stokes to see England through to stumps.

 

 

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