Ashes 2019

After all the pain that they endured in the third Ashes Test at Headingley, the Australians got back on their feet and ensured that they created another opportunity for themselves to regain the Ashes. This time, they didn't let it go. Any chance of a miracle being performed again was nipped in the bud after Australia lost two wickets in the first session.

There was tension in this game as well due to the resistance from Craig Overton and Jack Leach towards the end of the game but eventually Australia got home. They now lead the series 2-1 and have a chance to record their first series win in England since 2001.

So, with this Test match done, let us look at the biggest reasons why Australia were able to win the Old Trafford Test and retain the Ashes.

Smith, Smith, Smith

There is no superlative left to describe the performance of Steve Smith in this series. In five innings, he has amassed 671 runs and his lowest score is 82. But that's not all! Most of the time he has batted, his team has been in trouble and he has had to take the responsibility of reviving them. The focus, concentration, hunger of Smith is unbelievable.

Steve Smith
Smith's form has been incomparableTwitter/ICC

Take him out of this series and England would be on verge of inflicting a whitewash on Australia! Yes, that's true! Smith is the man who has allowed Australia to put up enough runs for their bowling attack to work with. Otherwise, there wouldn't have been any contest.

Relentless Aussie attack

The Australian seamers have been incredibly good in this series. Their consistency and perseverance has been flawless. For England, Stuart Broad has bowled brilliantly with the new ball and Jofra Archer has delivered some good spells. But the unrelenting nature of Australia's pace attack was on another level. It was this quality of them that has kept English batsmen from prospering.

No back-up for Broad

The biggest problem for England with the ball was lack of support for Broad. Archer was bowling slower than his usual pace in the first innings, probably because of his heavy workload in the previous Test and Craig Overton didn't prove to be that effective as a third seamer. Ben Stokes and Jack Leach were also not very effective.

In this light the exclusion of Chris Woakes looks quite surprising. A proven commodity, Woakes would have been more likely to provide good support to Broad with the new ball and overcast conditions. England would be ruing their decision to not pick him.

Joe Root
Root is not delivering big runs for EnglandReuters

Helpful wicket

The fifth-day wicket in Headingley offered no help for the seam bowlers and was also didn't have footholds for Nathan Lyon for work with. That's one big reason why England were able to chase down the big target.

But the pitch in Manchester was rough and did provide reverse swing. The presence of Mitchell Starc also proved helpful for Nathan Lyon. As a result, batting was far more difficult in this Test's fourth innings than in the previous one's.

Joe Root's failures

In the first innings, the English captain failed to convert his fifty into a hundred once again. In the second innings, he was out for his second golden duck of the series. The fact that the best batsman in the English line-up is not scoring big is also a big reason why this team is consistently failing to get big scores. Root's form is a big worry for England