With two narrow defeats in the first two Tests, England now needs victories in Manchester and London next week to secure a historic series triumph. However, the odds seem stacked against them, with history and a gloomy weather forecast casting doubts on their chances.
Only once in Ashes history, led by the legendary Don Bradman in 1936-37, has a team recovered from a 2-0 deficit in the series. Bradman's extraordinary performances, scoring 270, 212, and 169 in consecutive Tests, enabled Australia to achieve this remarkable feat.
The weather forecast adds further uncertainty to England's pursuit of a series victory, predicting rain in Manchester during the final two days of the weekend.
Despite the challenges, Captain Ben Stokes remains resolute, choosing to put the Australians into bat for the fourth time in a row. England made a good start to the day, capturing the wickets of Australian openers Usman Khawaja (3) and David Warner (32) in the morning session. Throughout the afternoon, Stokes skillfully rotated his bowlers and strategically placed his fielders, striving to take crucial wickets.
As the day progressed, Steve Smith (41) and Travis Head (48) provided useful starts for Australia, but it was Mitchell Marsh (51) and Marnus Labuschagne (51) who reached half-centuries, bolstering Australia's position.
After the day's play, England's pace bowler Stuart Broad, who reached his milestone 600th Test wicket by dismissing Head, expressed contentment with the team's performance. Despite the pitch appearing to be batsmen-friendly, England impressively secured eight wickets and effectively contained the run-scoring.
"Of all the pitches we've played on in this series, it feels like the most balls were middled today," Broad remarked. “It felt like if you just missed, you went to the boundary. But ultimately there are wicket balls out there as well. When we won the toss, we weren't hoping for 160 all out; we were just hoping for a decent chase. We are going to try to move the game quickly from the start of play tomorrow.”">