England are on the verge of winning The Ashes after Ben Stokes’ second Test five-wicket haul left the hosts just needing just four more wickets for victory after the second day at Trent Bridge.
Joe Root top-scored for England with 130 and Jonny Bairstow made 74 as the Yorkshire duo put on 173 for the fourth wicket.
One of the few major targets left for Clarke would have been to win a Test series in England, having previously been on the losing side during Australia’s tours in 2005, 2009 and 2013.
Bad light stopped play on the second day with Australia reeling in their second innings still 90 runs of making England bat again and with three wickets remaining. The bookmaker has not disclosed the total amount paid out, but detailed that it had hundreds of thousands of pounds placed on England. This after England had won the toss on Day One and elected to bowl first.
Australia was 10-3 off eight balls, and Marsh became the fourth batsman to go in just 14 minutes of play when he edged Broad to Ian Bell.
While admitting that it was a special feeling to get eight wickets in a spell, Broad also pointed out the exceptional fielding effort of the England players.
And when first-innings bowling star Stuart Broad had Steven Smith (five) caught by Stokes at point, Australia were 136 for four.
He has been known to get involved in the occasional verbal joust in his time, but on this occasion made do with a broad smile and restrained riposte.
Michael Clarke (nought not out) and Adam Voges (two not out), both desperately struggling for runs this series, were the undefeated batsmen. Broad and Wood picked up one each. Broad was looking to carry on from his form with the ball.
“I started this great game at six years of age and I think it’s the right time to walk away now to give Australia the time to prepare for the next Ashes series”.
Josh Hazlewood snared Stokes for five and Johnson removed Moeen Ali for 38 thanks to a superb catch by Smith, only a fine ninth-wicket partnership of 58 between Moeen and Broad saving England from complete collapse. “We thought long and hard about planning and have given ourselves a chance to get a big lead“. “It will be important the bowling unit talk proactively in this game and that is what I will try and lead”.
Rogers was then given a let-off on 47 when brilliantly caught by Root at slip off a Wood bouncer, the opener being recalled after replays showed a no-ball.
“We came in without Jimmy, who is a massive loss…I’m really happy with being given the extra responsibility”, Stokes told reporters after Australia had avoided their first two-day defeat in a Test since 1890.