Crutchlow takes win down under

Cal Crutchlow took his second victory of the season with a dominant victory at Phillip Island. Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales completed the podium, whilst recently crowned champion Marc Marquez crashed out of first place on lap 10.

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Cal Crutchlow’s victory was his second of the season, and his first win in the dry. Image: Crash.net

The Brit had started second on the grid, but found himself being swallowed up off the line. He worked his way forward through the pack to trail Marquez before the Spaniard slid out at Honda corner. Crutchlow extended his lead over Valentino Rossi to over four seconds to take his first premier class victory in the dry.

Rossi coasted to a second place having started down in 15th, keeping well clear of the scrap behind him. Maverick Vinales tussled with his team mate and Andrea Dovizioso for third, a scrap that saw Aleix Espargaro crash out. Pol Espargaro faded after a strong start, and Jorge Lorenzo rounded off the top six.

It was a good day all round for the British riders, as Scott Redding and Bradley Smith, on his second race back from injury, finished seventh and eighth. Home rider Jack Miller finished tenth, having tussled with Nicky Hayden, who was standing in for the injured Dani Pedrosa.

Thomas Luthi took the victory in Moto2, taking him to second place in the championship, 22 points behind Johann Zarco with two rounds to go. Sam Lowes crashed out early on and Danny Kent also failed to finish. Brad Binder continued his domination of the Moto3 class with his sixth win of the season. The race had been red-flagged due to a huge multi-rider accident involving John McPhee.


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Marquez in thrilling finish down under

Marc Marquez finished the Australian Grand Prix for the first time in some style, producing a masterful final lap to take the victory. The Spaniard went in to the last lap in fourth, but produced a lap record to pip title hopeful Jorge Lorenzo to the win. Andrea Iannone completed the podium after winning out over title leader Valentino Rossi.

Source: crash.net

Source: crash.net

Although Marquez started on pole, it was Lorenzo that set the early pace.It soon began to develop in to a four way race, with the leaders interchanging throughout. Marquez passed Lorenzo through Honda corner, and the number 99 almost slipped another place, but Iannone ran wide after blasting past on the home straight. The reigning champion was unable to escape his fellow leaders though, with Lorenzo passing him, then Rossi and Iannone both lunging down his inside on the same corner. On the final lap, Marquez passed Rossi at the beginning of the lap, before passing Iannone at Doohan. The Italian fought straight back but in doing so left the door open for Marquez to slip straight past him. As Marquez chased down Lorenzo, Rossi slipped up the inside of Iannone, just doing enough to prevent the Ducati man from biting straight back. Marquez made his move with just two corners left, holding a tight line through the hairpin. Luckily for Lorenzo, Iannone also passed Rossi at the same corner, meaning that the Spaniard’s championship hopes are still alive.

Dani Pedrosa finished fifth, with Maverick Vinales sixth and Cal Crutchlow finishing as the top Brit in seventh. Bradley Smith continued his run of scoring points in every race this season with a tenth, just ahead of Scott Redding. Jack Miller was the top Open class rider in fifteenth.

Marquez's win was his 50th Grand Prix victory. Source: twitter (marcmarquez93)

Marquez’s win was his 50th Grand Prix victory. Source: twitter (marcmarquez93)

With those 20 points, Jorge Lorenzo has now cut Valentino Rossi’s championship lead to just 11 points with two races remaining. The win for Marquez all but secures his third place, whilst Bradley Smith is still within touching distance of fifth placed Dani Pedrosa despite his tenth place at Phillip Island.

In Moto3, Danny Kent will have to wait to seal his title after he was taken out in spectacular fashion by his main title rival Enea Bastianini. Miguel Oliveira won the race to leapfrog Bastianini in the championship, 40 points behind Kent. It seemed almost inevitable that things would not go for the Brit this weekend, having been relegated to seventh from pole for slow riding in the warm-up, and being clipped already by Francesco Bagnaia before Bastianini ended his race. Alex Rins was the clear winner in Moto2, with Brit Sam Lowes keeping his hopes of reaching third in the championship alive with a second place.

Aussies in control of final test

Australia look set to save face in this Ashes series as they are in full control of the fifth test at the Oval. Putting this down to a Trent Bridge hangover for England or the lack of pressure now on the Aussie team would be disrepectful to how Australia have played, whilst England have just not turned up. Australia racked up 481 in their first innings, but England collapsed to 107-8 in reply.

Steve Smith's 143 makes him the top run scorer of this series

Steve Smith’s 143 makes him the top run scorer of this series

On day one Rogers and Warner had put on 110 before Rogers fell for 43. Warner (85) and Clarke (15) also fell, but Steve Smith and Adam Voges remained unbeaten as they put on 101 to end the day on 287-3. There were wickets for Mark Wood, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes.

Adam Voges (76), Mitchell Marsh (3), Peter Nevill (18) and Mitchell Johnson (0) all fell before lunch, but England’s bowling was nowhere near the standard set so far in the series. Australia went to lunch on 376-7 with Steve Smith passing his century. He was given a reprieve on 92, after Steve Finn overstepped by a good six inches.

Smith and Mitchell Starc put on 91 before Smith was bowled by Finn for 143, and Starc soon followed, lbw to Stokes for a fine 58. Interestingly, Starc’s dismissal only the second review overturned the whole series, showing how well the umpires have performed so far. Peter Siddle, a surprise inclusion in Australia’s side, added 1 as the visitors finished on 481. Stokes, Finn and Ali took three wickets a piece, with Mark Wood taking the other.

If England were poor with the ball, they were even worse with the bat. Nathan Lyon dismissed Cook before tea with a beautiful delivery for 22. The hosts then lost 7 wickets for 46 runs. Adam Lyth continued his poor series with only 19, putting England on 46-2. Bell, Bairstow and Stokes were the only men to make it to double figures, with Root, Buttler and Broad suffering the embarrassment of not even reaching that milestone. Mitchell Marsh took three wickets, whilst their was two a-piece for Lyon and Siddle, and one for Mitchell Johnson.

Alastair Cook's side floundered with the bat, losing 7 wickets for just 42 runs

Alastair Cook’s side floundered with the bat, losing 7 wickets for just 42 runs

Although it seems that England have just been utterly useless, which they have, credit does have to go to the Australian bowlers for forcing them in to this dismal showing. Moeen Ali and Mark Wood (both on 8) resume tomorrow at 107-8 with absolutely no pressure on them with the match seemingly out of sight.

England regain Ashes with a test to spare

England have regained the Ashes after another comprehensive victory over Australia. All memories of the 5-0 humiliation down under were wiped clear as they managed to win in only three days for the second consecutive match. Mark Wood took the winning wicket as England took the remaining three wickets for 12 runs. England now lead 3-1 in the series heading in to the final test at the Oval.

The England players celebrate after regaining the Ashes in emphatic style.

The England players celebrate after regaining the Ashes in emphatic style.

Australia resumed on 241-7, 90 runs behind, with Adam Voges on 48 and Mitchell Starc on 0. Ben Stokes took his sixth wicket of the innings, tempting Starc in to playing, but he could only edge to Ian Bell at slip. Ben Stokes’ figures of 6-36 are his best test figures. Josh Hazlewood could not add any to the total, as Mark Wood knocked out his middle stump with a terrific delivery. A rare instance for Aussie fans to shout about occurred as Voges ran a quick single to reach his 50. Nathan Lyon brought up 250 for Australia, flicking the ball down leg side for a four. But the next ball saw Lyon’s stumps flying, as Mark Wood bowled the ball that won England the Ashes. Australia had been bowled out for 253, meaning that England won the test by an innings and 78 runs.

Nathan Lyon could do nothing as Mark Wood scattered his wickets.

Nathan Lyon could do nothing as Mark Wood scattered his wickets.

After all he has been through as captain, Alastair Cook was almost in tears at the end of the match, showing how much this Ashes victory, and the manner of it, meant to him. In contrast, Aussie skipper Michael Clarke announced that “it was the right time” for him to announce his retirement from test cricket after the final test at the Oval.

Aussie collapse puts England on the verge of regaining Ashes

England are on the verge of regaining the Ashes after Australia lost their top four batsmen for just 23 runs. The visitors had looked to be back in with a chance as their bowlers performed admirably before lunch, and openers Chris Rogers and David Warner took them to 113 without loss. Mitchell Starc claimed six wicket for Australia, whilst Ben Stokes ripped through the Aussie top and middle order with five wickets. England could claim victory tomorrow without having to bat again; they need to take three wickets for 89 runs.

Ben Stokes finished with figures of 5-35

Ben Stokes finished with figures of 5-35

Joe Root risked getting out twice, as he began the day trying to carry on where he left off. It was third time lucky for Mitchell Starc, as Root nicked behind for 130 as he attempted a drive. Mark Wood’s impressive innings of 28, including 5 fours, was ended by an equally impressive delivery from Mitchell Starc, who claimed his fifth wicket. Starc produced another top delivery to bowl Jos Buttler for 12. Buttler had attempted to be more positive, but continued to fail to put a big score together. Ben Stokes nicked Hazlewood behind for 5, meaning England were 332-8, losing four wickets for 58 runs in this session.

Moeen Ali accelerated England’s progress, bringing up 350 with a big six. Along with Stuart Broad, who hit 2 fours and a six, the pair put on 58 to increase England’s lead past 300. Mitchell Johnson broke the pair though, with Steve Smith catching Ali with a superb diving catch for 38. Alastair Cook declared before lunch on 391-9, giving the Australian openers a tricky few overs to navigate before the break.

David Warner was dropped twice, once by Cook (above) and once by Bell

David Warner was dropped twice, once by Cook (above) and once by Bell

After yesterday’s misfortunes, Australia might have thought that their luck had finally come in. David Warner was dropped twice, a routine catch from Cook on 10, and a tougher one on 42 where the ball sprung out of the hand of a diving Ian Bell. Chris Rogers was offered a reprisal, as he was caught by Root with the score at 105 without loss, however a no ball was called after Wood had overstepped. But England’s bowlers now smelt blood, and Ben Stokes stepped up to the plate. He dismissed Rogers, who could only edge to Root at slip for 52, and fellow opener David Warner, who top edged a shot up in the air to Stuart Broad. Shaun Marsh then edged Stokes to Root for 2. Fittingly, Stokes took the catch for the vital wicket of Steve Smith, who fell to Broad for 5. The top order was now gone, putting on only 23 runs after Rogers’ dismissal. Broad’s ninth wicket of the match moves him to fourth on England’s all time wicket takers with 308.

Michael Clarke’s move down the order appears not have had any impact on his form, as he was caught for 13. Cook fumbled the catch, but managed to palm it back in the air for Ian Bell to take the catch. Peter Nevill was caught for 2 by Cook, but Finn had overstepped, giving Australia a second reprisal. Nevill was the next to fall, going lbw for 17 to Stokes, giving the England man figures of 4-32. Stokes took his fifth wicket as Mitchell Johnson edged to Cook, who finally got his catch, for 5. Australia finished on 241-7, as the umpires led the players off the field for bad light. They trail England by 90 runs.

Broad piles on misery for dismal Australia

Stuart Broad produced career best figures of 8-15 as Australia slumped to 60 on the first day at Trent Bridge. The visitors lasted only 18.3 overs as they were skittled out before lunch in one of the most remarkable days in Ashes history. England ended the day on 274-4, a lead of 214 runs. This was helped by an unbeaten century from Joe Root and a half century from fellow Yorkshireman Jonny Bairstow.

Stuart Broad celebrates his record equalling five-for

Stuart Broad celebrates his record equalling five-for

England won the toss and elected to bowl. It took only three balls for Stuart Broad to begin his one man mission, as Rogers edged to Cook at slip for 0. Steve Smith also fell in the first over, making 6 before being caught straight on and edging to Root. Mark Wood made the score 10-3, as opener David Warner nicked behind to Buttler. Broad added a further two wickets, with Shaun Marsh (0) and and Adam Voges (1) being caught by Bell and Stokes respectively. Ben Stokes’ catch was outstanding, as he dived to his right and plucked the ball from behind him at fifth slip.

Michael Clarke was the first Aussie to make it in to double figures, but he was caught by Cook after thrashing out at a Broad delivery. With this dismissal Broad equalled the fasted ever five wicket haul, in just 19 balls. Steven Finn bowled Peter Nevill for 2 to get his first wicket, leaving Australia 33-7. Mitchell Johnson offered some resistance, hitting two fours to pull the visitors towards 50. But Broad cleaned up the Australian lower order, with Starc and Johnson being caught by Root in virtually identical dismissals. Nathan Lyon added a further 9 to bring Australia to 60 before he was caught by Stokes. The state of the Aussie innings was that ‘Extras’ top scored with 14, and only two batsmen made it in to double figures.

Joe Root hit an unbeaten 124

Joe Root hit an unbeaten 124 as England cruised to a large lead on day 1

With such a low target, England could come out and bat without any pressure. Things started brightly, as both openers made some early boundaries. But having retained his place despite his poor form, Adam Lyth fell early on again, thin edging a Mitchell Starc delivery behind to Nevill for 14. Ian Bell was unable to add to his consecutive half centuries at Edgbaston as he was dismissed lbw by Starc for just 1. With England 34-2, Alastair Cook and Joe Root put on a partnership of 62. With the score at 65-2, Cook was fortunate to stay in as he edged between two slips. Michael Clarke and Steve Smith both dived, but Smith only succeeded in helping the ball for four and possibly taking the catch away from the skipper. Cook did fall, also lbw to Starc, making it 96-3. His score of 43 was his second highest of the series, but the disappointment was visible as he walked off agonisingly close to his half century.

From then on the Yorkshire duo Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow took centre stage. Root brought up his 50 with a four, and when the pair went on to pass the 100 partnership. Bairstow made his first test half century in two years, from just 73 balls, with a four down leg side. Joe Root soon brought up his ton with a four, his sixteenth of his innings, and his second ton of the series. Jonny Bairstow risked getting out many times throughout his innings, but the closest he came was when he was almost run out, but Mitchell Johnson was unable to direct a scoop on to the stumps. To add insult to injury, England nicked another run from the overthrow. The Yorkshire partnership was finally stopped as Jonny Bairstow was caught by Chris Rogers at square leg. Bairstow made 73 before Hazlewood dismissed him, and created a partnership with Root worth 173. England put on a further five runs before close of play to finish on 274-4, a lead of 214.

Bell leads England to emphatic win

Ian Bell led the way as England beat Australia in under three days at Edgbaston. In one of the most rollercoaster Ashes series in recent years, the hosts now lead 2-1 after an 8 wicket victory in the third test. Peter Nevill and Mitchell Starc gave Australia a glimmer of hope, both making fifties, but the target of 121 was too low for the bowlers to stand any chance.

Ian Bell's went on to make 65 not out after being dropped on 20

Ian Bell’s went on to make 65 not out after being dropped on 20

Australia’s batmen came out with no pressure on them, and it showed. Peter Nevill brought up his fifty as he and Mitchell Starc found the boundary five times in the first four overs. But Nevill was given a let off, as he gloved the ball behind, with Buttler taking an impressive catch, but the umpire gave him not out. Replays showed that Nevill would have been given out if England had any reviews remaining. Starc and Nevill’s partnership passed 50 before Nevill was caught for 59 in an almost carbon copy of his earlier let-off.

Mitchell Starc continued the resistance bringing up his 50 with a six, which also put Australia 100 ahead. Josh Hazlewood added 11 before Joe Root dived high to take a superb catch at slip. Mitchell Starc’s was eventually dismissed as he chipped straight to England’s substitute fielder, on for Jimmy Anderson. It ended an impressive innings of 58 which had given the Aussie bowlers something to play for. Australia were saved by their mid-to-lower order, who recovered to finish on 265, giving England a target of 121 to win.

England would have wanted to try to reach their total with minimal damage, and openers Alastair Cook and Adam Lyth needed runs to end their poor form. However Cook fell early on for 7, clean bowled by Starc. With the score at just 11-1, there was a chance of a few nerves creeping in amongst the England team, but Ian Bell showed that was not the case. The Warwickshire man seemed to be on a mission to win the match by himself, punishing the Aussie bowlers with 20 from his first nine balls. Australia captain Michael Clarke dropped Bell on 20, putting down a straightforward catch at slip. Fittingly, Bell brought up England’s 50 with a four. Adam Lyth’s place in the team may be under consideration, as he went lbw to Hazlewood for 12.

Mitchell Starc shamed Australia's top order with a fine half century

Mitchell Starc shamed Australia’s top order with a fine half century

Bell brought up his second 50 of the match by hitting a four on the off side. Joe Root also looked in a hurry to win the game, hitting 6 fours and a six to contribute to their partnership of 73. England were able to reach their target without further damage before a delayed tea, as Joe Root flicked the ball over a close field for four.

England’s emphatic win was the perfect response to their disgraceful showing at Lord’s, with Steven Finn’s 8 wickets a particular highlight. Jimmy Anderson’s injury will rule him out of the fourth test, and presumable Mark Wood will come back in to the team after just missing out on this test.