Nottingham: England were tantalisingly close to winning the match and pocketing the Ashes series by decimating hapless Australia who were engaged in a grim struggle to stave off innings defeat on day two of the fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.
The visitors, who were shot out for an ignominous 60 in the first innings, reached 241 for seven at stumps on Friday, still needing 90 runs to make England bat again when the umpires called off the day’s play due to fading light.
A fighting Adam Voges (48 batting) and Mitchell Starc (0 batting) were in the middle as Ben Stokes (five for 35) emerged as the latest tormentor of the Aussie willowers on a day bowlers continued their dominance taking 11 wickets.
In the morning, resuming their first essay at 274 for four overnight, England declared close to lunch at 391 for nine racing to a 331 run lead.
Centurion Joe Root (130; 176b, 19×4, 1×6) fell early, but the England tail wagged on to take the game further into the hosts’ grip. For Australia, Mitchell Starc (6 for 111) was the most successful bowler.
With their backs to the wall, the tourists came out with a solid opening partnership of 113 runs.
Chris Rogers and David Warner for the first time fired together as a pair but it was all rounder Stokes who provided the home side with the break through sending back Rogers for 52.
Warner (64) soon followed his partner as Stokes once again induced a false stroke from the burly willower which was easily lapped by Stuart Broad.
The England allrounder also accounted for Shaun Marsh, Peter Neville and Mitchell Johnson.
Johnson was the last man to walk back after he edged a swinging delivery from Stokes straight to slip.
Up 2-1 in the five-match series, England would take away the Ashes urn if they win the ongoing Test.