Ashes 2023 | Twitter reacts as Zak Crawley's historic knock hands England complete control on Day 2

Ashes 2023 | Twitter reacts as Zak Crawley's historic knock hands England complete control on Day 2

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Zak Crawley being congratulated by Australian skipper Pat Cummins for his brilliant knock of 189


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The second day of the fourth Test thoroughly belonged to England as they raced to a first-innings lead of 67 runs by the end of play with six wickets still in the bank. Zak Crawley dominated proceedings with a brilliant knock of 189 and was well-aided with half-centuries from Moeen Ali and Joe Root.

England got down to business quickly on Thursday at Old Trafford as James Anderson got rid of incumbent batter Pat Cummins with the first ball of the day to whittle Australia down to 299/9. Chris Woakes added to the tally moments later with a sharp delivery to register his first Ashes five-wicket haul, only for the umpire to call no-ball. Nevertheless, the all-rounder eventually got to the feat six overs later to end with standout figures of 5/62 as the Kangaroos posted 317 on the board.

In response, Mitchell Starc ensured the visitors inflicted the first blow as a peach of an outswinger saw Ben Duckett nick the ball to the wicketkeeper to depart after a six-ball stay at the crease. Makeshift number three batter Moeen Ali, filling in at the top of the order for the injured Ollie Pope, got into the flow of things early on a good batting deck and scored his runs at a fairly quick rate. With Zak Crawley being his usual flamboyant self at the other end, the duo got the hosts to Lunch with the scoreboard reading 67/1. 

Mayhem ensued in the second session of the day, as England put their foot flat on the pedal with an extravagant display of boundary hitting. Both Ali and Crawley comfortably reached their half-centuries, the latter reaching the milestone of 3,000 runs in the process to become only the 16th all-rounder in Test history to also have 200 wickets to his name. He eventually departed for 54 courtesy of a brilliant diving catch by Usman Khawaja off Mitchell Starc to beckon Joe Root to the crease. Thereon, the former skipper alongside Crawley went on a scoring spree fit enough for white ball cricket, taking the side to Tea at 239/2 with the session having cost Australia 172 runs at nearly seven runs an over.

In the final session of play, Crawley registered his fourth test century off just 93 balls, making it the second fastest ever in Manchester, as the partnership continued to build. It took a delivery to keep extremely low for the opener to eventually depart to the pavilion for 189 and received congratulations from a host of opposition players as he walked off the pitch. Root, meanwhile, marked his half-century with an audacious reverse ramp and fell victim to another dirty trick played by the pitch. Harry Brook and Ben Stokes kept their composure to remain unbeaten on 14 and 24 respectively at close of play, setting up the game for some extreme Bazball on Day 3. 

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