Rory Burns believes England can draw on the spirit of their Headingley success to get back into the fourth Ashes Test against Australia, writes Andy Hampson of the Press Association.
England are facing a battle to save the match at Old Trafford after closing the third day on 200 for five, 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 in this fixture. We are a couple of partnerships away from making them make a play again. It is about putting pressure back on them and playing well tomorrow.”
Stokes and Jonny Bairstow will resume on Saturday 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.
“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 four for 48.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, Burns said: “Obviously as a team we probably wouldn’t have liked to lose a couple of wickets at the end, but I think it has set it out pretty clear for us, in terms that there is a follow on to get past, there is a score to get as close as we can to. I think we are only a couple of partnerships away from that.
“From a personal point of view I would have liked to have been sitting here with three figures, but I thought how I played I was pretty happy with it.”
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 on Saturday.
He said: “Obviously we’re pretty happy with where we’re at. I think the weather is pretty good for the next two days – two long days of cricket, 98 overs both days.
“There’s plenty of cricket left, so we’ll concentrate on this first innings and get the next five wickets first.”
Hazlewood admits removing Stokes, England’s top run-scorer in the series so far, will be crucial.
He said: “He’s scored a lot of runs this series and is a dangerous player.
“There’s a new ball around the corner, so that’s in our favour so hopefully we can use it well. We’ve got an important session coming up.”