MANCHESTER, England, Sept 8 (Reuters) - England lost Jason Roy and Ben Stokes before lunch as they slumped to 87 for four to leave Australia closing in on a win that would retain the Ashes on the final day of the fourth test at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Resuming on 18-2 and chasing a distant target of 383, Joe Denly and Roy provided initial resistance before Cummins bowled Roy (31) with a beautiful delivery that cut back off the seam to leave England at 66-3.
The crowd rose to welcome Ben Stokes, the hero of England’s memorable last day comeback victory in the third test at Headingley, but there was to be no repeat performance from the all-rounder this time.
Another fine delivery from Cummins clipped the inside edge of Stokes’s bat and was well taken by wicketkeeper Tim Paine, the England batsman not waiting for the umpire’s verdict as he walked off.
Cummins, the world’s top-ranked test bowler, has figures of 4-23 and Australia will be very confident of finishing off England and taking a 2-1 lead in the series which would ensure they retain the Ashes regardless of the outcome of next week’s final test at The Oval.
Joe Denly was unbeaten on 48 with Jonny Bairstow on two with England heading into lunch trailing by 296 with six wickets remaining and two sessions to play. (Reporting by Simon Evans, editing by Ed Osmond)