England avoid follow-on but Australia take 196-run lead

Manchester: Jos Buttler helped England to avoid a follow on but Australia will start their second innings with a 196-run lead after dismissing the hosts for 301 in the second session of Day 4 of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford.

Buttler scored 41 off 65 balls batting with the tail and a four off Mitchell Starc in the 106th over helped England reduce their deficit below the 200-run mark. Australia will now be looking to put the game beyond the hosts’ reach as they look to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

England started the day with Bairstow and Stokes cautiously fending off Cummins and Nathan Lyon. Their partnership did not last long though, with Starc, who was wicketless till then and leaking runs, dismissing Bairstow by inducing a drive which went through the England wicketkeeper and hit the stumps unimpeded.

He then managed to get a nick off Stokes that flew to Steve Smith at second slip. Archer was dismissed four overs later by Pat Cummins thanks to a wild swing he took at a length ball which got big on him. It took an edge and flew to Tim Paine who held on for an easy catch.

Buttler and Stuart Broad then held on to see their side through to lunch but the latter fell to Starc soon after resumption of play. Jack Leach however ably held up one end once again as Buttler pushed England past the 301-run mark.

Brief scores: Australia 497/8d (Steve Smith 211, Marnus Labuschagne 67; Stuart Broad 3/97) vs England 301 (Rory Burns 81, Joe Root 71; Josh Hazlewood 4/57)