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.

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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.

Root rescues England after openers collapse

Joe Root produced a superb century to keep the first test alive in Cardiff. England had found themselves at 43-3, but the partnership of Root and Gary Ballance revived English hopes. Josh Hazlewood stood out from the Australian bowlers, with figures of 3-70 from his 22 overs. The hosts will resume tomorrow on 343-7.

England won the toss and elected to bat in cloudy conditions. Adam Lyth was the first to fall, caught at slip by David Warner for 6 off the bowling of Hazlewood. Spinner Nathan Lyon was introduced in the tenth over, and this move was rewarded as Alastair Cook edged behind for 20. The day looked in danger of becoming embarrassing for England, as Ian Bell was trapped lbw for 1. Starc’s bowling almost was the downfall of Root as well, first with a muted lbw claim, and more noticeably when the Yorkshire man edged behind, only to be dropped by a diving Brad Haddin.

From this initial trouble, Root and Ballance began piling on the runs, with Root bringing up his 50 in 56 balls. Ballance finally fell lbw to Hazlewood for 63, with the fourth wicket partnership worth 153. Root brought up his century with a square drive for 4, off of just 118 balls. Mitchell Starc was the man to eventually dismiss Root, who edged to Shane Watson for 134. Ben Stokes reached his 50, but was bowled by Starc almost immediately, with England now 293-6. Jos Buttler and Moeen Ali took England past 300, with their 50 partnership coming in just 51 balls. Jos Buttler chipped straight to Mitchell Johnson at mid-on for 27, Hazlewood’s third wicket of the day.

Mitchell Starc shared the honours with Hazlewood, also taking three wickets. Mitchell Johnson had no such luck, with his 20 overs producing figures of 0-87. England will look to push past 400 tomorrow, maybe batting through to the afternoon before getting some early wickets before close of play. This is a situation which looked very unlikely for the hosts to be in at points today, so they must capitalise on this life-line.