Australia captain Steven Smith and David Warner’s resolute batting ensured there were no more hiccups for the home team crawled to 103 for 2 in their second innings before rain forced early stumps on Day 4 of the fourth Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday. (Scorecard)The rain has practically ended England’s chances of registering a consolation win in this series with just one more day of play remaining.The MCG floodlights were illuminated and ground staff covered the center wicket in the hope that the match would recommence before the umpires eventually called off play for the day.First-innings century-maker Warner, batting with extreme caution, was unbeaten on 40 from 140 balls when play was interrupted with Smith 25 not out and the pair needing to build a big partnership on the final day to salvage a draw.Australian opener Cameron Bancroft was dismissed for 27 when he chopped a ball from Chris Woakes back on to his stumps. Then Usman Khawaja, who got off the mark with a massive six off English spinner Moeen Ali, departed for 11 when Jimmy Anderson found the edge and wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow took a routine catch.Earlier, England couldn’t add a single run to their overnight score this morning as Pat Cummins removed James Anderson for a duck off the first ball of the day which left former skipper Alastair Cook stranded on 244*.It is the highest score by an opener to have carried his bat through an innings surpassing New Zealand opener Glenn Turner’s 223* against the West Indies way back in 1972.advertisementThe left-hander also became the first batsman to achieve the rare feat in an Ashes series since Geoffrey Boycott at Perth in 1979.The 33-year-old is also the first England batsman in 20 years to carry his bat, with Mike Atherton (94 not out) the last to do so against New Zealand in Christchurch in 1997.Cook’s effort was the 52nd time a player has achieved the feat in over 130 years of Test cricket. Only 46 players have ever carried their bat in the longest form of the game.The last to do so was West Indies’ Kraigg Brathwaite, who was 142 not out against Pakistan in Sharjah last year.Cook’s 244 not out is also the highest score by a touring batsman at the MCG. The 208 scored by West Indies’ Viv Richards in 1984 was the previous record.Cummins finished with 4 for 117 while fellow paceman Josh Hazlewood and spinner Nathan Lyon captured three wickets each as the Australians struggled in the absence of injured strike bowler Mitchell Starc.
November 18, 2019