Stokes stand firm as Australia chase victory in fourth Ashes Test

Australia need six wickets in the final session to secure the victory, while England, still 213 runs in arrears, will be hoping to bat out the final 35 overs and secure a draw.

All-rounder Stokes, who famously steered England to a dramatic victory at Headingley in the last Ashes series, was 46 not out at the second break despite clearly struggling with a side injury.

First innings centurion Jonny Bairstow, who will resume with Stokes unbeaten on 10, was also playing with an injury, having been struck on the right thumb by a Pat Cummins delivery on Friday.

The start of the second session was delayed for an hour by rain, and Joe Root and Stokes slowed Australia’s march towards the win with partnership of 60 runs for the fourth wicket.

Scott Boland separated them when he dismissed Root for the third successive innings, drawing the England skipper into a thin edge that was taken by Alex Carey behind the stumps for 24.

The tourists had resumed on an overcast day at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 13 without loss, chasing an unlikely victory target of 388.

Zak Crawley led off the rearguard with an authoritative 77 from a hundred balls before all-rounder Cameron Green got under his bat with an accidental yorker.

Crawley’s fellow opener Haseeb Hameed and Dawid Malan looked far less assured and departed without much bothering the scoreboard.

Australia lead the series 3-0 after big wins in Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne. The fifth Test will be a day-night match in Hobart starting on Friday.

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