Usman Khawaja worked his second century off the game to put Australia in a leading position to take another win over tired England in the fourth Ashes Test in Sydney on Saturday. Pakistan-born Khawaja is in imperious form in his comeback from a 30-month test exile, hitting 137 in the first innings before adding an unbeaten 101 to break English hearts. His dominant 179-run partnership with youngster Cameron Green made for a belated statement, leaving a beleaguered England to defy history with a formidable target of 388.
The tourists came to the end without losing a wicket for 30, with Zak Crawley not out at 22 and Haseeb Hameed at eight. They follow with 357.
The highest winning chase in the fourth innings at the Sydney Cricket Ground is Australia’s 288-2 against South Africa in 2006. No touring team has made it past 200.
England, who handed the Ashes in 12 days and have yet to pass 300 in the series, will hope to prevent Australia from rising 4-0 in the series on Sunday’s final day.
Khawaja became the third Australian player to score two centuries in 140 years of Ashes cricket with the SCG, and the sixth in a Test match.
He played bowling with England with his hundred gushing of 138 balls, punctuated with 10 fours and two sixes.
He had solid support from Green, who registered his second half-century Test with a confidence-building 74 before outdoing Jack Leach to Joe Root.
Alex Carey surprisingly came out at bat and was out first to Leach, heralding the much anticipated statement from skipper Pat Cummins.
Leach finished 4-84 from 21.5 overs.
Khawaja and Green turned down England’s efforts after losing main hitters David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith to hold the Australians at 86 for four.
Smith again failed to get going in a stay of 31 balls and was bowled for 23 after being late on a Leach skidder’s shot.
So far, Smith has scored a total of 217 runs in the series after scoring 93 in the second Adelaide Test. His series average is 36.16, well below his current test average of 60.84.
Mark Wood once again captured the prized wicket from number one rated Test batsman Labuschagne, taking it for 29 behind.
The Durham express bowler has now taken Labuschagne’s wicket three times from his eight wickets in the series, in a space of 52 balls.
Australia lost to openers David Warner (3) and Marcus Harris (27) before lunch.
The tireless Wood lured an outside edge from Warner for stand-in wicketkeeper Ollie Pope to take the catch.
Pope ended up with four catches to replace Jos Buttler, who had X-rays after taking a blow to his left index finger on day two.
Buttler’s injury will be evaluated at the end of the Sydney Test, team officials said.
The stand-in gloved a catch to sack Harris from spinner Leach.
England previously added 36 runs before being rejected for 294, giving Australia a 122 point lead.
Jonny Bairstow added 10 more runs before being caught off Scott Boland.
The great Yorkshireman took in the applause of the crowd as he left the field, following his first Ashes century in Australia.
Bairstow went through 158 balls and hit eight fours and three sixs, fighting on after getting a mean thumb from Cummins when he reached 60.
Boland continued his remarkable streak with his team’s best marks of 4-36.
Since his extraordinary Test debut in Melbourne, where he was man of the match 6-7, he has taken 11 wickets at 8.27.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)
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