England are the only team who can now win the third Test, after another highly enjoyable and entertaining day at Edgbaston.
There have been so many twists and turns so far in this Ashes series that it’s difficult to know exactly what might happen, but to my mind Australia will have to bat through until tea if they want to force the draw.
England, especially if they can get a couple of early wickets in the first hour of the last day, will be fancying their chances of forcing a victory in the time left. They are on top – there’s no doubt about that – but the first session is vital on day five.
The whole series so far has been enthralling stuff but Australia’s bowlers were again disappointing – as well as England batted through Andrew Flintoff, Matt Prior and Stuart Broad.
Mitchell Johnson is increasingly becoming an issue for Ricky Ponting and Australia. As a big supporter of Mitchell’s, I am still optimistic that he can come through and I thought he was a bit better on this fourth day.
But he is still far from bowling as well as he can and all the Australian bowlers in fact, are at least ten per cent below their best in my view.
I thought when Ben Hilfenhaus struck in the hour possible before lunch on day four that Australia were getting on top, but credit to the England lower order for keeping their aggressive approach and building a sizeable lead.
The rest of day four belonged totally to England, and their day was topped off by the wickets of Katich and Ponting before the close.
Flintoff, Prior and Broad were absolutely right to play in that aggressive fashion because they are all attacking players and that mindset best suits their games.