Australia cling on to earn draw after Archer and Leach give England hope
Jofra Archer, Jack Leach and Ben Stokes shared the starring roles as England’s captivating fifth-day victory charge came up four wickets short in a drawn second Ashes Test at Lord’s.
Stokes hit 115 not out, his first century in two years, to set up the declaration, with the ferocious pace of debutant Archer and the nagging left-arm spin of Leach piling the pressure on Australia in a suitably tense finale.
The tourists, without key man Steve Smith due a concussion caused by a vicious Archer bouncer the previous afternoon, finished on 154 for six under failing light just before 7.30pm.
Stokes played wonderfully for his seventh Test hundred, allowing Joe Root the luxury of declaring 266 ahead with 48 overs left in the day, but the real tension revealed itself as England pursued the win during a compelling fourth innings.
Archer once again provided the adrenaline, rattling bodies, rapping helmets and taking three wickets to cap a remarkable first appearance, while Leach proved a brilliant foil with three of his own in the evening session.
Australia retained their 1-0 series lead courtesy of Smith’s concussion substitute Marnus Labuschagne, who made 59, and Travis Head, who finished 42 not out but was badly dropped by Jason Roy earlier in his innings.