Both sides can take away positives from the game but England might leave a bit more happier. (Image: AFP)
Despite Australia scoring under 300 runs, English bowlers were doing well by picking regular wickets and Woakes stood out with a four wicket haul.
England’s Stuart Broad became just the fifth bowler to take 600 Test wickets, as Australia ended Wednesday’s opening day of the fourth Test at Old Trafford on 299-8. Marnus Labuschagne and Mitchell Marsh each made 51 after England captain Ben Stokes won the toss in a match the hosts must win to maintain their hopes of regaining the Ashes at 2-1 down with two to play.
Chris Woakes led England’s pace attack with 4-52 in 18.5 overs while Broad took 2-68 in 14 en route to his landmark.
James Anderson was the only change to the England side that won the third Test at Headingley by three wickets.
On his Lancashire home ground a fortnight short of his 41st birthday, Anderson had a frustrating day.
England’s all-time leading Test bowler with 688 wickets, had figures of 0-43 in 17 overs.
History is against England. No side has won a Test at Old Trafford after winning the toss and bowling.
Broad was aiming to heap further misery on David Warner, having already dismissed the Australia opener 17 times in Tests — including twice for a total of just five runs at Headingley.
But from Wednesday’s first ball, Warner thrashed a wide delivery from Broad for four.
Broad, however, moved to 599 Test wickets when he had Usman Khawaja, Australia’s other opener, lbw for three.
Woakes struck next to end a second-wicket stand of 46 when he had Warner caught behind off an edged drive, following an assured 32.
The next delivery saw star batsman Steve Smith top-edge a pull off Woakes that just cleared Mark Wood at fine leg before going for four.
An increasingly confident Smith drove off-spinner Moeen Ali for a straight six.
Having made 41, on a ground where four years ago his double century helped seal a 185-run win over England, Smith was lbw to express quick Wood.
Head was struck on the helmet by a Wood bouncer early in his innings and again looked uncomfortable against the short ball.
But he battled through. Both Head and Labuschagne unfurled several fine drives.
Labuschagne, however, fell one ball after completing his fifty, lbw to Moeen — the only specialist spinner on either side after Australia dropped Todd Murphy.
Australia were 187-4 at tea only to lose Head five balls after the resumption as Broad took his 600th Test wicket.
Left-hander Head had made 48 when he hooked at a Broad bouncer and Joe Root held a low catch as he ran in from the boundary at fine leg.
Marsh, who had marked his first Test since 2019 with a hundred at Headingley, again drove strongly and made England pay for any loose deliveries as he led the way during a partnership of 65 with fellow all-rounder Cameron Green.
Their stand was broken when the recalled Green was lbw to Woakes.
Australia’s 254-6 became 255-7 when Jonny Bairstow, whose wicketkeeping has proved fallible this series, held a one-handed diving catch to remove Marsh from an outside edge off Woakes.
The crowd roared in celebration as Marsh departed after hitting seven fours and a six in a quickfire stay of 60 balls.
Alex Carey almost made it through to stumps but fell to the new ball, caught behind Woakes trying to withdraw his bat.
Mitchell Starc was 23 not out at the close.
England have won 13 of their last 16 Tests at Old Trafford but have not enjoyed an Ashes victory at the Manchester ground since Ian Botham hit a celebrated hundred in 1981.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)