Rory Burns believes England can draw on the spirit of their Headingley success to get back into the fourth Ashes Test against Australia.
England are facing a battle to save the match at Old Trafford after closing the third day on 200-5, still trailing the tourists by 297.
It is a tough challenge but, after the Ben Stokes-inspired, series-levelling victory in the third Test in Leeds, Burns insists nothing should be counted out.
The opener, who hit a battling 81 in England’s reply, said: “The way that game went, I think anything is possible. We are not that far behind – a couple of partnerships away from making them bat again. It is about putting pressure back on them.”
Stokes and Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow will resume this morning with their first task to score the 98 runs required to avoid the follow-on.
Burns said: “We have obviously got some work to do, but it is pretty clear what we need to do.
We have got some batters left in the hutch and we are 100 runs behind it (the follow on). That is a couple of good partnerships and then we are up close to them, and we’re asking them to make a play.England’s Rory Burns
“We have got some batters left in the hutch and we are 100 runs behind it (the follow on). That is a couple of good partnerships and then we are up close to them, and we’re asking them to make a play.
“We have got to look at it from a positive aspect and see where we can get to.”
Burns put on 141 for the third wicket with captain Joe Root (71) in England’s highest partnership of the series. Both were removed by Josh Hazlewood late in the evening session, with the seamer ending the day with 4-48.
Australia were frustrated for a large part of the day by Burns and Root but, after hitting back with three wickets late in the day, Hazlewood is confident the tourists can tighten their grip.
“We’re pretty happy with where we’re at,” he said. “I think the weather is pretty good for the next two days – two long day.
“There’s plenty of cricket left.”
Hazlewood admits removing Headingley hero Stokes will be crucial to Australia’s hopes of retaining The Ashes with a game to spare.
He said: “He’s scored a lot of runs this series and is a dangerous player.”
Darren Gough and Chris Waters on the Ashes: Page 7