Australia will enter the second day of play hoping the tail can pile on a frustrating total after a disappointing day from the top order.
The Aussies failed to convert starts, gifted wickets away and couldn’t put together even a single sizeable partnership as they finished 8/299 at stumps.
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Chris Woakes capitalised on the favourable conditions with four wickets as England hold out hope of levelling the series up at 2-2.
Removing the final two wickets will be key before they set about launching a monster total before wet weather arrives in the latter stages of the Test.
Don’t miss a second of the fourth Test action right here.
7.30pm – Aussie legend calls out selection ‘mistake’
For the first time in 11 years, Australia entered a Test match without a front line spinner after electing to drop Todd Murphy in favour of Cameron Green.
The decision means the Aussies are reliant upon five fast bowlers while likely getting pinch hits from Travis Head and potentially even Marnus Labuschagne.
It’s a decision that didn’t go over well with former Australian captain Steve Waugh who labelled it a “mistake”.
“I tend to disagree with it,” Waugh said on SEN radio. “I think it’s a mistake, particularly in Manchester where the ball does turn.
“I know they’re probably looking at the forecast and saying there’s a bit of rain around, but you do need variation in the attack.
“Particularly with the way England plays. They go at the bowlers really hard and we’ve got four right-arm quick bowlers so there’s a bit of sameness about our attack.”
Fellow Australian icon Ricky Ponting also expressed his confusion after watching Moeen Ali generate some considerable spin on the opening day.
“I was still surprised they didn’t go in with [a spinner],” Ponting said about the Aussies.
“Your preference is always to go in with a spinner – unless you are brilliant at reading weather forecasts and cricket pitches. So if you haven’t got one, you can be found out very easy.”
Labuschagne however backed the decision of the selectors to go in without a top-line spinner, believing the wicket will play into the hands of Australia’s fast bowlers.
“Because the wicket has been undercover for a few days, it didn’t have that really rock-hardness,” Labuschagne said.
“And the thatchy grass is spinning. So once that wears off, I think the middle of the week it’s going to actually not spin so much.
“The ends will rough up, eventually, if the weather stays good. But I think it’s actually going to spin less as the game goes on from the good part of the wicket.”