Australian pacer Mitchell Starc managed to hit Joe Root right where one wouldn’t want it on the third day of the fourth Ashes Test at Old Trafford on Friday. The England skipper however dug in with opener Rory Burns fighting their way to a century run partnership for the third wicket to help the hosts reach 125/2 at tea on Day 3 after the opening session of the day was washed out due to rain.
The pair came together when nightwatchman Craig Overton edged just the third ball of the session from Josh Hazlewood to second slip to give the visitors their first wicket of the day. Burns, who had been bounced out at Lord’s fending a rising delivery from Pat Cummins to short leg, was once again peppered with short pitch stuff by the Australian bowlers who were determined to probe into his technique.
The tactic however appeared fruitless against the England opener, who after being hit a couple of times early, slowly eased himself into the control seat. Joe Root too looked far from convincing with his footwork and his shot-making but he hung around nevertheless and assisted Burns in building a partnership denying the visitors any further wickets in the hour following Overton’s departure.
The England skipper was well set on 36 when he coped a painful blow to the box from Mitchell Starc in the 39th over of the innings. The inswinger from the left arm seamer hit Root in the groin and he went to ground as play was halted for more than five minutes. The blow was so hard that it cracked his box and the England skipper needed to call for replacement protective equipment for his most sensitive area.
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