Ashes: England survive tense final hour to escape with draw


England clung on for a tense draw on the final day of the fourth Test in Sydney to end Australia’s hopes of an Ashes clean sweep.

The tourists were 13 balls from safety when Jack Leach edged Steve Smith behind, leaving it to Stuart Broad and last batter James Anderson to guide England home.

With the light fading and every Australia fielder around the bat, Broad and Anderson blocked out Smith and Nathan Lyon to secure a hard-fought draw, closing on 270-9.

Zak Crawley earlier made a fluent 77 and Ben Stokes hit 60 despite still struggling with his side injury as England crept towards safety.

Boland continued his extraordinary start to Test cricket with 3-30, while captain Pat Cummins took two wickets in three balls to rattle England.

It was a thrilling end to an entertaining match, with England’s players barely able to watch in the dressing room as Anderson played out the final over.

Australia may be left to rue their late declaration on the fourth day, with rain meaning they lost seven overs as they tried to force victory on Sunday.

The final Test of the series – a day-night match in Hobart – begins on January 14.

England battle through engrossing final hour

England may have already lost the Ashes, but here they showed real fight and character throughout the match.

Jonny Bairstow displayed grit with his first-innings century and that energy and determination filtered back to the dressing room as the tourists fought to repel Australia on an absorbing final day.

The small crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground were at their loudest in the final hour, as Australia tore in with the new ball.

Cummins, who had been subdued with the ball throughout the day, trapped Jos Buttler lbw on review before doing the same to Mark Wood two balls later with a delivery that knocked the bowler off his feet.

That left it to Bairstow, nursing an thumb injury that may keep him out of the next Test, and Leach, one of the heroes of Headingley 2019, to see off 15 overs.

Australia felt the pressure, with Smith dropping Bairstow off Mitchell Starc, but they would have felt victory was in their grasp when the same batter popped a catch to silly mid-off.

Leach and Broad withstood some short, fast, hostile bowling, all accompanied by the chirping of the players around the bat, before a disappointed Leach edged Smith to slip.

It was left to Broad and Anderson, the veterans, to see England home and give them something to smile about after a bruising tour. (BBC Sport)

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