ngland must complete the second-highest run chase in their history to level the Ashes after being set a target of 371 in the Second Test at Lord’s.
In a remarkable passage of play, Nathan Lyon defied a serious calf injury to help Australia extend their lead on the fourth afternoon, the tourists eventually bowled out for a second innings total of 279 as Stuart Broad finished with four wickets.
Lyon had been forced off the field earlier in the match and is a major doubt for the rest of the series having arrived at Lord’s on crutches on Saturday morning. Australia had already confirmed the spinner would play no further part with the ball in this Test and would only bat if absolutely required.
When Josh Hazlewood was the ninth wicket to fall with the lead already at 355 runs, even remaining batter Mitchell Starc appeared to think the innings was over. However, Lyon hobbled down through the Long Room to take his guard to a standing ovation from the Lord’s crowd, together with Starc going on to add another 15 runs that could yet prove vital.
Lyon’s inability to run between the wickets led to farcical scenes, with England fielders posted all around the fence and Australia’s batters effectively operating a boundary-or-bust policy.
The exception came when a Starc pull shot looked set to clear the rope until a sensational piece of work from substitute fielder Rehan Ahmed clawed the ball back and left Lyon hobbling through on one leg to give away the strike.
Earlier, England had followed Australia’s lead in relying on a relentless short-ball plan as the tourists found quick scoring impossible, losing eight wickets for 149 runs across two extended sessions on day four.
Ben Stokes bowled a mammoth bouncer spell of 12 overs straight through after lunch, while Ollie Robinson’s nine-over stint included six maidens and two wickets for the cost of just seven runs.
England’s batters were due to commence their chase at the start of the evening session. If successful, it would eclipse their pursuit of 359 at Headingley four years ago as their highest in Ashes cricket and fall behind only last summer’s 378 against India at Edgbaston in their Test history.