Ashes 2017-18: Fourth Test, Day 5 :Smith's 23rd test ton guides Australia to shelter

The fourth Ashes test match ended in a draw.

Steven Smith scored his 23rd test century | Getty Images

The fifth and the last day of the fourth test match in Melbourne started with Warner and Smith on the crease with Warner scoring his slowest ever test century and Steven Smith also playing with a low strike rate that meant both were in no mood to get out and give England any happy chances to win the match.

The players were present to draw the match that is why they faced 23 consecutive dot balls. Gradually Australia started to score runs and take lead over England. The 107 runs stand was broken by Joe Root on his birthday. Coming round the wicket flighted delivery that took Warner's wicket.

Just after Warner's dispersal Shaun Marsh also went back cheaply, Australia's score was then 178 for 4 and England showing positive attitude on the field. The first session was anyhow beneficial for the visitors as they took two quick wickets of Aussies, they still had a chance to win the match. Warner's wicket before the session end was definitely going to be the best present for his birthday. 

Mitchell Marsh had joined the skipper in the middle with Smith already batting 50 plus. This partnership had to be a huge one because their memorable partnership of 301 runs at Perth. Both the batsmen knew each other's strength and weakness so it was easy for them to rotate the strike with Marsh bit a slow on the other hand. 

Perhaps the only people who still believe a contest exists in this game are the Barmy Army. You can't seem to get them to stop singing. And they aren't short of lyrics and tunes. But with the new ball not making the impact it was meant to, things seemed to drift away. This dull pitch was not helping matters either.

The scoreboard did not stop increasing with England winning chances fading away. It made clear that the match is going to be held a draw with fearless batting display Steven Smith was on the verge to score his 23rd test century. 

The match proceeded in its last phase with Australia on 243 for 4, both the run-getters were solid on their crease and there was no stopping them to bat. Steven Smith scored his 23rd test ton in his 110 innings. In this series, Steven Smith crossed his 3000 international runs.

The score went up on 263 for 4 after a lot of cricket both the batsmen decided to shake hands and end the match in a draw. Apart from that excitement that we saw on either side of the lunch break, there was hardly anything for the bowlers to boast of. It doesn't help matters when a part-timer is trusted before the 'lead' spinner is. But it's a match the English had the better grip of over the first four days. It has taken England 42 years to draw a test match at Melbourne Cricket Ground and end Australia winning streak.

Brief Scores Australia - 327, 263/4
                      England - 491 all out 


By Kunal Kataria - 30 Dec, 2017

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