England progressed by leaps and bounds towards Australia’s total of 317 in a fast-moving session of freewheeling strokeplay that saw a whopping 178 runs scored off just 25 overs. Runs came thick and fast as the Aussie bowlers were devoid of ideas to combat the onslaught that was led by a breezy ton from Zak Crawley. The opener, who looked a bit circumspect in the first session, came into his own after lunch to put the Australian bowlers under the pump.
Moeen Ali played the ideal foil to Crawley, raising a quickfire half-century. The resurgent left-hander was thriving in the second session before he perished looking to be overtly aggressive. England rattled along at over seven runs per over – an incredible scoring rate even by BazBall standards. With the deficit under 100 and a session left, the hosts will eye a lead by the close of play.
Brief scores: Australia 317 (Mitchell Marsh 51, Marnus Labuschagne; Chris Woakes 5-62) lead England 239/2 (Zak Crawley 132*, Moeen Ali 54; Mitchell Starc 2-50) by 78 runs
A fourth Test century, coming in just 93 balls 💯
Take a bow, Zak Crawley! 👏
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) July 20, 2023