JOE ROOT and Jonny Bairstow were the top scorers as England raged again.
But fans were emotional when Stuart Broad announced his forthcoming retirement from all forms of cricket.
The recent Bazball batting eruption brought 389 runs in 80 overs on the third day of the fifth Test – and now England have a good chance of ending the streak.
A rate of 4.86 runs per over over a full matchday would have been considered exceptional in the past, but that’s standard for this England side.
And they even slowed down considerably when they lost wickets in the last session.
Root was disappointed that he fell nine runs short of his 31st Test century, while Bairstow, who did not retire in the fourth Test with 99 points, trailed by 78 points.
With Zak Crawley scoring 73 and Ben Duckett and Ben Stokes on 42 each, there were significant and quick contributions throughout the English standings.
That means England have a 377 lead with two days to go and are looking to throw the Australians out of the field.
After two even days, England stormed into control and, just like their run blitz at Old Trafford, made Australia’s attack look ordinary and very tired at times.
It was another turbulent day with 48 fours and three sixes.
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Bad weather has dashed England’s hopes at Old Trafford but although rain is forecast and the pitch appears to have flattened there should be enough margin to level the series at 2-2.
If they succeed, England will take what some people call “morale ashes” – which is a ridiculous concept, of course, but shows how much England have dominated the series.
It can be said that the rain in Manchester robbed England of almost certain victory, but the reality is they could and should have won the first Test.
From the moment Crawley slammed the first ball of the day through the ceiling in a four-man game, England were utterly dominant.
It might not have been quite as memorable as his boundary on the first throw of the series at Edgbaston, but it was a raspy, juicy shot nonetheless.
And it could hardly have made a bolder statement of intent.
After Duckett scored two boundary points, England equalized their first innings deficit of 12 runs in the opening game. Mitchell Starc’s first two overs cost 22 runs.
Australia bowled poorly early on – too straight to Crawley and too far to Duckett.
The tsunami of borders meant Pat Cummins was forced to disperse the field and England openers were then able to pull back and play the ball for ones and twos with little risk.
Duckett was caught driving in Starc. The appeal was denied, but Cummins opted for a review and DRS found a clear lead.
Duckett’s first Ashes series produced 321 runs on 35 – quite respectable – and he and England’s small batsman Crawley have proved a decent and dynamic opening couple.
As Australia passed Crawley just after lunch, he aimed with a drive and passed Steve Smith on the second slip for 73 points.
He finishes with more impressive numbers than Duckett – his 480 runs are the most in the series, well ahead of runner-up Usman Khawaja’s 424. And Crawley was hitting his runs more than twice as fast.
Moeen Ali couldn’t bat at number 3 as he was absent from the field on Friday with a groin strain. Ben Stokes has made it his mission to fill the vacancy.
He scored 61 with Crawley and 73 with Root as England offered Australia few chances to get back into the game.
Stokes hit a miss in the middle for 42 and then Harry Brook, after lifting his second ball for a huge six in a row against Todd Murphy, fell behind against Josh Hazlewood.
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So there were two wickets in nine runs within nine balls.
But Root and Bairstow prevented further mishaps with a Century Stand for the fifth wicket.
They started out fast, but then stabilized and slowed down.
Root played one of his reverse ramps for six on Mitchell Marsh and then an uppercut for four on Starc.
So it came as a surprise when he tried to bowl a ball that turned away from Murphy when the century was eight years away.
Moeen, still struggling with his injury, came on in 7th place and then Bairstow, who lost some speed towards the end of his inning, fell behind.
Chris Woakes chipped a catch midway and Moeen was caught almost behind the keeper on the boundary as Starc took his fourth wicket.
Mark Wood, who successfully checked an LBW judgment when he had scored four points, was caught deep in the middle of the wicket attempting a slog sweep.
No. 11 Jimmy Anderson scored with a reverse sweep and a slog sweep for two fours in the last over and they caused the biggest cheer of the day.
He was then awarded LBW and reversed the decision to review. More cheers.