Ashes: Australia 299/8 at stumps; Broad claims 600th wicket

Woakes bowled superbly all day to claim 4/52 in 19 overs

broad-england-afp England's Stuart Broad (C) celebrates with teammates after taking the wicket of Australia's Usman Khawaja on the opening day of the fourth Ashes Test match at Old Trafford | AFP

Stuart Broad claimed his 600th Test wicket for England, under-fire wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow took three catches and Australia batters kept the runs ticking along to reach 299/8 at stumps on the first day of the fourth Ashes Test on Wednesday in what already looks like another close contest.

Broad joined Test cricket's exclusive club as he and Chris Woakes kept England's hopes of a rousing Ashes comeback alive at Old Trafford.

Three years after taking his 500th wicket at the same ground, Broad completed another century to join a hall of fame that includes only four other names: Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, Broad's teammate James Anderson and Anil Kumble.

The 37-year-old Broad dismissed the series' top run-scorer Usman Khawaja (3) early on and returned after tea to bounce out Travis Head (48) as his landmark victim, overtaking Ian Botham's record for an England bowler of 148 Australian wickets in the process.

But with England in do-or-die territory at 2-1 down heading into the Test, the collective mission in Manchester was even more important than any personal achievements, guaranteeing Woakes a healthy share of the spotlight.

He bowled superbly all day to claim 4-52 in 19 overs, with Australia finishing one run shy of 300 after being sent in by Ben Stokes.

Woakes picked up exactly where he left off in an excellent comeback performance at Headingley, picking off David Warner (32) in the morning session before removing Australia's dangerous dueling all-rounders Mitch Marsh (51) and Cameron Green (16) in one outstanding over in the evening.

The pair were initially thought to be fighting for one place in the side but Australia surprisingly ditched spinner Todd Murphy to find room for both. That beefed up their middle order but Woakes swept them both aside at an important moment, trapping Green lbw as he hunched forward in defence and then having Marsh brilliantly caught behind. England had kept faith with Bairstow behind the stumps despite a series of costly misses in the first three Tests and got a measure of payback as he held on to an ankle-high nick, sprawling almost horizontally as he scooped the chance in front of first slip.

And it was Woakes who provided a late sting in the tail, taking out Alex Carey (20) with the new ball to squash a vexing stand with Mitchell Starc (23 not out).

Australia captain Pat Cummins is unbeaten on one.


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