The UK media are calling on Joe Root and his men to “show some balls” as the hosts desperately try and cling to their Ashes hopes with Australia leading after day three of the fourth Test.
Australia are just one win away from retaining the urn after taking a commanding 297 run lead after day three at Old Trafford, with England at 5-200.
Should Tim Paine’s men notch a 2-1 lead they would claim the 2019 series with a Test still to play.
Sensing blood in the water, the UK media have mustered a final collective effort to spur their XI to hold out against the visitors.
The Telegraph conceded England were facing a “desperate fight for survival” on Saturday.
Tabloid The Star told nation’s cricketers to “now show some balls” – referencing the fact Joe Root’s box was smashed by Mitchell Starc.
England found themselves in not a dissimilar situation during the third Test at Hedingley when it was rescued by a historic knock by Ben Stokes.]
Currently he sits unbeaten on seven at Old Trafford and the nation has again called on the century hero to save the day.
The Times’ backpage read “Over to you, Ben”.
“On Ben Again: England need another Ben Stokes miracle…” read another headline in The Sun.
Hazlewood the hero on Day 3
“Stokes might have to do something significant here, too, and at least he is not out as England enter day four with many overs of resistance still required,” said cricket writer John Etheridge for the publication.
There is a glimmer of hope however after English opener Rory Burns (81) and captain Joe Root (71) combined to bat for more than four hours through the middle of the day three, after the entire first session was washed out.
It may have seemed like the Test was drifting quickly into draw territory, as they struggled to break the pair’s resolute defence, but Hazlewood’s three quick wickets before bad light ended play meant the day three honours were shared, and as a result, Australia still have a golden opportunity to claim this Test, and with it, the Ashes.