ENGLAND are on the brink of defeat in the First Ashes Test – with the controversial dismissal of Moeen Ali contributing to their likely downfall.
Joe Root’s men could muster only 198 in their second innings, leaving the Aussies to chase 170 for victory at the Gabba – and by close of play on their fourth day, they had coasted to 114-0.
But England’s demise was hastened by TV umpire Chris Gaffaney giving Moeen out stumped on a wafer-thin call, when the all-rounder was well set on 40 and enjoying a promising partnership with Jonny Bairstow.
Kiwi Gaffaney watched footage several times but failed to give any benefit of doubt to the batsman despite there being no conclusive evidence as to whether or not any of Moeen’s boot was grounded behind the crease.
England’s sense of injustice was heightened by the fact the painted line appeared wobbly.
The tourists’ hopes of setting the Aussies a truly challenging victory target was then wrecked by Bairstow throwing away his wicket with a reckless uppercut to third man soon before the scheduled tea break.
Stuart Broad suffered his own tough brush with technology as he was given out caught behind on review to the tiniest of nicks – despite bowler Mitchell Starc having been convinced he had made no contact.
ETHERS’ ASHES Moeen Ali plays in an era of technical wizardry but was given out partly because of a bloke with a brush
This was part of a sequence of England losing their final four wickets for ten runs – and their complete inability of their tail to combat Australia’s quicks looks a serious problem for the series ahead.
England made a solid start after resuming day four on 33-2 but Mark Stoneman and Dawid Malan both edged Nathan Lyon to slip in quick succession to reduce them to 74-4.
Skipper Root completed his 50 by whipping Josh Hazlewood through mid-wicket for two – only to be trapped lbw next ball.
But after a promising partnership between Moeen and Bairstow was cut short by Tim Paine’s neat glove-work and Gaffaney’s laser eyes, Chris Woakes was bounced out by Starc and England were soon all out.
David Warner and debutant Cameron Bancroft set about the run chase with relish, rarely looking troubled – with England’s attack, which lacks the raw pace of their Aussie rivals, looking largely innocuous.