Australian skipper Steve Smith scored an unbeaten century in the second innings as Australia and England played out a draw in the final day of the fourth Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Saturday. Smith remained unbeaten on 102 as Australia posted 263/4 in their second innings by the end of play on the final day. The hosts were dismissed for 327 runs in the first innings while England posted 491 in their only innings of the Test.
Australia have already won the five-match series as they took a 3-0 lead after winning the third Test in Perth. Smith, who notched up his 23rd Test ton, became the highest scorer in Test cricket in 2017 with 1,305 runs, surpassing India's Cheteshwar Pujara, who is at the second spot with 1,140 runs in the calender year.
Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon, who bagged a three-wicket in this Test, became the leading wicket taker in Test cricket last year with 63 scalps, overtaking South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada who has 57 to his name. Meanwhile, the MCG saw a match being drawn after 42 years and 12 Ashes series. It also ended a streak which saw the previous 13 Ashes Tests ending in a decisive result. Resuming the final day at 103/2, overnight Australian batsmen Smith and David Warner started the proceedings well to stitch together a 107-run stand.
Warner was, however, dismissed on 86 while trying to slog a delivery from England skipper Joe Root which handed an easy catch to James Vince at the covers. Warner hit eight boundaries over the course of his 227-ball knock. Smith on the other end, kept up a steady flow of runs. His 275-ball knock was laced with six boundaries.
Although Shaun Marsh (4) failed to do much with the bat following Warner's departure, Mitchell Marsh (29 not out) played out a cautious 166-ball innings containing three boundaries to compliment his skipper till the end of the day. For England, pacers James Anderson (1/46), Stuart Broad (1/44) and Chris Woakes (1/62) scalped a wicket each.
Alastair Cook breaks records
England batsman Alastair Cook becomes the sixth highest run scorer in Test history, surpassing Mahela Jayawardene, Shiv Chanderpaul and Brian Lara. Cook produced a master-class in concentration by scoring an unbeaten double century. The 33-year-old opener stonewalled Australia's bowling attack for more than 10 ½hours, eclipsing a stack of historical batting records. Cook became the first Englishman since Wally Hammond to score a double hundred at the MCG (in 1928) and his 244 not out is now the highest score made by any player against Australia in Melbourne, breaking the 208 Viv Richards made for the West Indies in 1984.
Cook also overtook Mahela Jayawardene, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Brian Lara to move into outright sixth place among test cricket's all-time leading scorers while posting the fifth double ton of his career. Cook had managed a meagre total of just 83 runs from the first three tests but was well supported by England's lower order, which had also struggled in the previous matches, when he needed their help most.
Brief scores: Australia 327 & 263/4 (Steve Smith 102 not out, David Warner 86; Stuart Broad 1/44) against England 491.