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Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Rain hampers England's push for rare Ashes victory

Fourth Test in Melbourne 1-4 to end all-square

David Warner (left) and Steve Smith have steadied the ship in Melbourne
1 of 1

Day five
BT Sport 1, 11.30pm Friday

Rain played a key role on the fourth day of the fourth Ashes Test in Melbourne, halting England's push for a rare victory and making the prospect of a first stalemate of the series increasingly likely.

Australia - 3-0 up in the five-Test series - were 101-2, trailing England by 63 runs when a downfall ended play prematurely midway through the afternoon.

The visitors had bowled just 43.5 overs prior to the heavens opening and bookmakers are now as short as 1-4 about the Test at the MCG ending all-square.

The Aussies had been 65-2 before David Warner and skipper Steve Smith steadied the ship and gave the locals something to cheer.

An Australian television station carried pictures that some viewers believed showed James Anderson digging his nail into the ball. But the footage was inconclusive and England coach Trevor Bayliss denies any ball-tampering claims.

And Bayliss believes the visitors can still grind out victory: "We saw in the first innings that we can take enough wickets reasonably quickly. We have 98 overs, more than enough time to force a result if we play well."

The forecast for the final day is much clearer. England still have time on their side in their bid to record a first win in Australia since 2011, but they must be aggressive and taking eight wickets on a largely unresponsive pitch looks a steep ask.

The experienced duo of Warner and Smith have constructed a nice partnership and know that holding out for as long as possible should see them avoid defeat.

Warner top-scored with 103 in the first innings while Smith made 76 and 5-6 about the classy pair reaching at least 141 before the fall of the third wicket looks a tempting investment.

Over 140.5 runs at fall of third wicket
1pt 5-6 bet365

Already advised by Matthew Ireland
D Warner top Australia second-innings runscorer
1pt 7-2 bet365

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The experienced duo of Warner and Smith know that holding out for as long as possible should see them avoid defeat
E.W. Terms
Sky bet