England hold on for Ashes draw at SCG

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Pat Cummins
    Pat Cummins
    Australian cricketer
  • James Anderson
    English cricketer, born 1982

A dramatic draw at the SCG, completed when England's final-wicket pairing hung on for two overs to deny Australia in the fourth Ashes Test, helped Pat Cummins learn a lot about captaincy.

But Cummins believes his day-four declaration, which set England a target of 388, was early enough to dangle the prospect of victory in front of the tourists.

England reached 9-270 after surviving 102 overs, with No.11 Jimmy Anderson navigating an over of Steve Smith's legspin in fading light before the nail-biting contest ended at 6.50pm AEDT.

Smith delivered the wicket of Jack Leach after being called into the attack with three overs remaining when Cummins agreed umpires were right to say light was too poor for anything but spin.

But Stuart Broad negotiated Nathan Lyon's final over before Anderson denied Smith's hopes of a fairytale SCG finish to rival Michael Clarke's magic in 2008.

The result ends Cummins' hopes of captaining what would have been just the fourth 5-0 Ashes sweep in the storied 145-year history of Test cricket.

Australia, who retained the urn with crushing wins in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne, will rue costly dropped catches, some 60 overs of play lost to rain, and other factors that helped England escape after Usman Khawaja's twin tons.

Mark Waugh was among several pundits to question the timing of Cummins' declaration as England secured just the 24th Test draw from nine wickets down.

"I don't think we needed to hand it to them on a platter, but for sure we were willing to risk England winning," Cummins said.

"Around three and a half runs per over was similar to ... the game was ticking along around about that rate.

"I thought 100-110 overs at that rate, still gave them a little bit of a cherry if a couple of batters got in.

"The wicket was still not playing too many tricks. I thought if they batted really well, 350 is pretty achievable.

"I wanted to give us enough time."

Ben Stokes (side strain) and Jonny Bairstow (thumb injury) pushed through the pain barrier to provide the most significant resistance in Sunday's stonewall, facing a combined 228 deliveries.

Stokes and Bairstow are yet to be ruled out of the Hobart series finale, beginning on Friday, but Jos Buttler is returning home because of a broken finger.

Joe Root praised their stoicism, adding it was "hugely important" his side avoided a whitewash.

Cummins took matters into his own hands with the second new ball, generating incredible swing to blast Buttler and Mark Wood out in the space of three deliveries.

The skipper even donned a helmet as Australia crowded the bat in Lyon's final few overs, knowing his every move, bowling change and rejigged field would be heavily scrutinised.

"I certainly learned a lot ... made quite a few calls - some came off, some didn't," Cummins said.

"Even from the second innings compared to the first, I felt a lot calmer and in control ... take that extra second, that breath at the top of the mark.

"Probably the hardest thing to do is to try and choose among our five bowlers, plus Smithy and Marnus (Labuschagne)."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting