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.

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Anderson masterclass puts England in control

England bounced back from their dismal defeat at Lord’s in perfect fashion by taking charge of the third test at Edgbaston. The hosts bowled out Australia before tea, with James Anderson taking 6-47, before putting themselves just three runs behind at the close of play. Steven Finn and Jonny Bairstow came in for Gary Ballance and the injured Mark Wood for England, whilst Australia named an unchanged side.

James Anderson's 6-47 are his best Ashes bowling figures

James Anderson’s 6-47 are his best Ashes bowling figures

Australia won the toss and chose to bat. England set the tone of the day early on, as David Warner had to dive to save himself from being run out without playing a ball. It wasn’t long before he did fall though, lbw to Anderson for 2. Steve Finn marked his return to the side after a two year absence, first taking Smith’s wicket, caught by Cook for 7, and bowling Michael Clarke for 10. This early flurry of wickets left Australia on 34-3 when rain stopped play. Adam Voges and Chris Rogers offered a little resistance, with a partnership of 43.

Straight after lunch, Voges was drawn in to an Anderson delivery, but nicked behind to Buttler as he tried to pull out at the last second. Anderson took his third wicket as Mitchell Marsh edged behind without scoring. Australia mid-order collapse continued, as Peter Neville left an Anderson delivery, which cannoned into off stump, leaving the score at 86-6. Anderson’s took his eighteenth five wicket haul, as Ben Stokes caught Mitchell Johnson at slip for just 3. Chris Rogers continued his single handed resistance as a boundary brought up his 50, meaning that he’d contributed over half of Australia’s runs. All hope Australia had of batting out the day was lost as Rogers was trapped lbw by Stuart Broad for 52. Broad dismissed Mitchell Starc for 11 and Anderson took his sixth wicket, bowling Nathan Lyon for the same score. Australia finished on 136, dismissed in only 35.4 overs.

Ian Bell made 53 as he was moved up the order

Ian Bell made 53 as he was moved up the order

Adam Lyth contined his poor series, playing at a wide shot and edging behind to Hazelwood for 10. Ian Bell came in at three, and alongside Cook stabilised the hosts. A Cook boundary took England past 50, and consecutive fours from Bell brought up to 50 partnership from just 53 balls. Alastair Cook was very unfortunate to fall, as he played straight in to Voges’ midriff. The short leg somehow managed to hold on to the ball, as it caught in his arms that he had raised to protect himself. Ian Bell brought up England’s hundred with a boundary, but skied to David Warner just after he passed fifty. England closed on 133-3.

England hold slight advantage on day 2

A fine batting display from Chris Rogers threatened to put Australia in control of the first test, but a lack of support from his fellow batsmen has potentially left visitors chasing the game. Moeen Ali stood out, scoring a strong 77 to banish memories of yesterday morning’s abysmal early collapse, before taking two wickets.

Moeen Ali scored 77 with the bat before taking two wickets

Moeen Ali scored 77 with the bat before taking two wickets

England resumed on 343-7, with Broad and Ali at the crease. Stuart Broad survived an early scare, with Johnson’s short ball ricochetting off of the batsman, and appeared to be caught by Adam Voges. Broad was given out, but an umpire review revealed the ball did hit the ground. Moeen Ali brought up his 50 with a fortuitous four, getting an inside edge which darted across the face of his stumps before reaching the boundary. Broad lost his wicket cheaply for 18, as he swung loosely at a Nathan Lyon delivery, nicking behind to Haddin.

Ali was the next to fall, as his impressive 77 from 88 balls was ended when he edged Starc’s delivery to Shane Watson at slip. Jimmy Anderson’s was the final wicket, with England finishing on 430, and Mitchell Starc ending up with a five-for. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Mitchell Johnson finished with the worst bowling figures for an Australian in England since 1985, with 0-111 from his 25 overs.

Broad could have had an early wicket, as Chris Rodgers was given out lbw. However, an Australian review revealed a nick from the bat. Anderson eventually made the breakthrough though, as David Warner edged his delivery to a diving Alastair Cook at slip, putting Australia on 52-1. Steve Smith looked to be carrying on his good form, until he chipped straight to Cook at mid-wicket for 33. Chris Rogers had really dug in and was looking good for a century, pushing Australia forward to 180 with Michael Clarke. But he fell agonisingly short of his ton as he became Mark Wood’s first Ashes victim, nicking behind to Jos Buttler for 95.

Alastair Cook dives to take

Alastair Cook dives to dismiss David Warner

Michael Clarke was the fourth to fall, as he drove straight back to Moeen Ali, who reacted quickly to take a smart catch, leaving the Aussies 207-4. Ben Stokes took a late wicket to put England in the driving seat, as Adam Voges played a loose shot to Anderson at cover for 31. Australia finished the day on 264-5, trailing by 166, with Shane Watson and night watchman Nathan Lyon at the crease. James Anderson’s economic bowling stood out, as he was rewarded with a wicket and six maidens from his 16 overs. Moeen Ali was also dangerous with the ball, taking 2-67.

England will feel that they hold a slender advantage after two days play, and taking the wickets of Watson and Haddin early on tomorrow will put the hosts firmly in control. With the exception of Chris Rogers, the Australian openers got in, but were unable to capitalise before getting out.