We look ahead to day two of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford, with three best bets.
England had the better of the first day at Old Trafford but now have to see off the Australian tail and then perform with the bat, as the Ashes series still hangs in the balance.
It was a historic Wednesday for Stuart Broad, who collected his 600th Test wicket – becoming just the second seam bowler to achieve the feat.
England attack work in partnership
Wednesday’s bowling display was arguably England’s best of the series to date, with the pacemen working in pairs to get rid of the Australian top order.
The biggest example of that was the dismissal of Steve Smith, who had been dragged across his crease by Chris Woakes, before Mark Wood then trapped him in front of the stumps.
Broad also worked in tandem with the other seamers and claimed two of the top five on what looks like a decent batting wicket.
It will be bowlers Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins who return to the crease on Thursday morning, on 23 and 1 respectively, with Australia resuming on 299-8.
It’s worth noting that four of the eight wickets that fell on day one were LBW dismissals and pace has often had Australia playing and missing.
Stokes holds the key for hosts
With Ben Stokes’ fitness forcing him to take a backseat with the ball, he has made sure he still makes an impact with the bat in the opening three Tests.
The England skipper is currently second on the list of the series’ top run-scorers, with 309 to his name over six innings this summer.
He’s looked very comfortable at the crease, even when early wickets have forced him to start his innings at a more steady pace, before then piling on quick runs.
Stokes made 80 from 108 balls in the first innings at Headingley and has recent happy memories of making runs at Old Trafford.
In England’s innings & 85-run victory over South Africa last year, the all-rounder made 103 whilst also taking four wickets in a man-of-the-match display.
Australia need their seamers to perform
Controversially, the tourists have decided not to select a spinner for the fourth Test, so much will rely on their seamers bowling long spells.
The last time Australia played at Manchester, they beat England by 185 runs in 2019 and their pace attack had plenty of success.
Of the 20 wickets they took in winning that Test, 17 of them were scalps for Cummins, Starc and Josh Hazlewood. The latter taking 4-57 in 25 overs in England’s first innings.
Bearing in mind his previous performances in Leeds, it was a surprise decision to leave the 32-year-old out of the side at Headingley, especially when you consider he took five wickets in the victory at Lord’s.
Australia Method of 9th Dismissal – LBW
To Score 50+ Runs 1st Innings – Ben Stokes
To Take 3+ Wickets 1st Innings – Josh Hazlewood