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Root keeps England alive but Australia hold advantage heading into final day

Joe Root (left) showed great determination in the final session on day four of Adelaide Test
Joe Root (left) showed great determination in the final session on day four of Adelaide Test

Australia 442-8 dec & 138 (Anderson 5-43) v
England 227 & 176-4 (Root 67no)
Second Test, Adelaide, day four

Joe Root led from the front with an unbeaten 67 run knock stand but England will need another 178 runs on the final day with six wickets in hand to claim a win in the second Test against Australia in Adelaide and level the series.

Chasing 354 for a win, Mark Stoneman (36) got England off to a bright start with a hat-trick of boundaries in the fifth over from Mitchell Starc (2-65) but that came after Australia failed to review an LBW decision against Alastair Cook (16) with the replays showing all three reds.

The openers started to gain confidence as they shared four more boundaries combined in the 7th and 8th overs. Even though Nathan Lyon (1-37) straightway created problems, the 50-run opening stand came in the 17th over much to the relief of the England camp.

Australia finally managed to get a breakthrough when Lyon trapped Cook LBW in the 20th over. This time skipper Steven Smith went for a courageous review and the decision went in his side's favour.

Soon Starc had Stoneman for the second time in the game when the England opener poked one to gully where Usman Khawaja took a clean low catch. England ended the second session with a score of 68 for two.

The much anticipated final session under light got underway with Starc and Lyon in operation. Just when England needed a solid partnership, James Vince (15) played a poor shot to edge one behind the stumps to give Starc his second.

There was a nervy moment in the England camp when Root padded a straight delivery from Lyon and was given out LBW but was overturned after a review as the ball went over the stumps.

Dawid Malan (29) looked solid at the other end trying to keep the Australian bowlers at bay but was handed a reprieve when Smith dropped him in the slips off Lyon. Smith's day went from bad to worse as he lost two reviews in successive overs, one each against Root and Malan.

Root brought his half-century with a boundary and Malan was making a strong statement with three boundaries off Starc in the 52nd over as the target came down to 203 runs.

The 78 run stand for the fourth wicket finally came to an end when Pat Cummins (1-29) produced a beauty to castle Malan at the stroke of stumps that reignited Australia's hope heading into the final day.

Chris Woakes (5 not out) did his role as a nightwatchman to perfection but it will be Root, who will hold the key as England will need 178 more runs to claim a win with six wickets in hand.

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