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Skipper Root holds key for England

Fleming and Gillespie say the visitors remain in the hunt as long as their captain is at the crease

The ascendancy in the second Magellan Ashes Test remains with Australia entering day five but England captain Joe Root could engineer a historic win for the tourists, according to a pair of former Australia fast bowlers.

Jason Gillespie said last night after play that while he believes Australia is still ahead in the game, the presence of Root unbeaten on 67 is dangerous sign for the Aussies.

Day wrap: Second Test poised for dramatic finale

"You still tend to think that Australia has just got their noses in front but Joe Root still in is a big win for England" Gillespie told Optus Sports' Stumps

"I said at the start of the innings for England to get anywhere near this total, Joe Root needs to get a score of 130 plus."

Damien Fleming agreed that despite a brace of lbw dismissals in the first Test, Root appeared more settled and comfortable on day four in Adelaide.

"It's all on Root the captain who hasn't got big runs yet but he looks like he is thriving out in the middle," Fleming said.

"(As a bowler) you've got to go through a variety of tactics because he doesn't have an obvious weakness.

"They got him out lbw at the Gabba which Australia went hard at early in his innings but he looks like he's worked on that and is playing straighter."

Root has never scored a hundred in the fourth innings of a Test, with a personal best of 87, and no team has ever chased down more than 315 at Adelaide Oval to win.

Should England manage to reach their target of 354 it would be the 10th largest chase in Test cricket's 140-year history, and the largest tally ever chased down by an England team.

Fleming, confident of an Australian victory, gave the nod to the home side's bowlers to make best use of early conditions, although he suggested reverse swing is unlikely to feature on the final day.

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"Nathan Lyon will play a big part in that first hour," Fleming told Optus Sports Stumps program.

"I'd expect him to bowl a lot of overs early to get to that new ball. (Because of that) I wouldn't see reverse swing as a factor tomorrow."

Lyon, currently Test cricket's leading wicket-taker in 2017, has mixed memories of day fives in Adelaide.

Having been unable to force a result with three wickets across 50 overs against South Africa in 2012, Lyon bounced back against India in 2014 taking seven wickets on the final day to lead Australia to a narrow victory.

Gillespie and Fleming agree another close finish is on the cards with the game having the makings of 'Amazing Adelaide' part two, albeit this time with the script potentially flipped on Australia after their miraculous 2006-07 Ashes win at this venue.

"This match is going down to the wire," Gillespie said.

"I think it is going to be within 30 runs."

Fleming added: "If Joe Root gets a hundred and get them home England will be talking about it like the 06/07 victory for the Australians.

"This venue in day/night Tests creates the opportunities where you always feel like you're in the game."

Entry to Adelaide Oval for day five has been set at a gold coin donation with proceeds going towards the Sporting Chance Foundation. 

2017-18 International Fixtures

Magellan Ashes Series

Australia Test squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine (wk), Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Jackson Bird, Chadd Sayers.

England Test squad: Joe Root (c), James Anderson (vc), Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow, Jake Ball, Gary Ballance, Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Mason Crane, Tom Curran, Ben Foakes, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ben Stokes, Mark Stoneman, James Vince, Chris Woakes.

First Test Australia won by 10 wickets. Scorecard

Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Tickets

Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Tickets

Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Tickets

Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Tickets

Gillette ODI Series v England

First ODI MCG, January 14. Tickets

Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Tickets

Third ODI SCG, January 21. Tickets

Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Tickets

Fifth ODI Perth Stadium, January 28. Tickets

Prime Minister's XI

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21