Craig Overton confident England can fight back in fourth Test
Craig Overton is confident England can seize control of the fourth Ashes Test on Thursday.
Australia ended a windswept and rain-interrupted first day at Old Trafford on 170 for three with the returning Steve Smith once again frustrating them on 60 not out.
Overton made his mark in the game – his first Test appearance for 18 months – by bowling the in-form Marnus Labuscahgne for a well-made 67.
Now he hopes the hosts can up their levels to put themselves in charge on day two.
The 25-year-old said: “We’re probably slightly behind but we felt the conditions weren’t quite with us, with the rain and wind. We can come back tomorrow, get a couple of early ones and we’ll be right back in the game.”
Removing Smith will obviously be key to England’s hopes.
The former Australia captain, who scored twin centuries in the Test at Edgbaston and 92 at Lord’s but missed Headingley, took his run tally for the series to 438 in four innings.
Overton said: “Smith is obviously a world-class player, and he’s back as Test number one. He’s always going to be difficult but we’ve got our plans so we’ll try to keep going to them and hope to get him out.”
Smith’s battle with Jofra Archer, who bounced him at Lord’s, was one of the most eagerly-anticipated aspects of the game.
However, in difficult bowling conditions, Smith dealt with the England paceman comfortably.
Overton said: “We all tended to struggle with the wind. I wouldn’t look too much into it. He’ll be raring to go tomorrow, firing in and bowling as quick as he can. Hopefully taking a few wickets as well.”
England came into the match on a high after their remarkable Ben Stokes-inspired win at Leeds but Australia are hoping to quell their momentum by batting on.
Labuschagne, who has scored four successive half-centuries, said: “We’ve talked about (England’s momentum) not being an issue for us at all.
“We’re just focused on the process of winning a Test match. It’s about taking it a ball at a time, day at a time – and trying to make sure we’re doing things right.
“I think that’s what we have been doing the whole series. We haven’t been getting too far ahead when we’ve done well, and haven’t been getting too far down when we’ve done poorly.”