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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Finn stars in extraordinary third test

England are set to wrap up the third test at Edgbaston in an unprecedented three days after restricting the visitors to 168-7, a lead of just 23 runs. The hosts had resumed the day on 133-3, but another day of exhibition bowling saw 14 wickets fall. Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad made sure that England capitalised on the first day’s bowling display, whilst Steven Finn’s six wickets decimated the Australian middle-order. Only David Warner, who put on 77, offered any resistance to the English bowlers. The day was marred by a potential series-ending injury sustained by Jimmy Anderson, who went off with a muscle injury.

Steve Finn produced a five-wicket haul to put England firmly in the driving seat

Steve Finn produced a five-wicket haul to put England firmly in the driving seat

Mitchell Johnson opened the day brightly for the Aussies, as he took two wickets in three balls. Both Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes fell to short balls cannoning off of them to Peter Nevill. Joe Root brought up his 50, but got out for 63 after nicking a poor Mitchell Starc ball to Voges at slip. After surviving one review, Jos Buttler continued his poor series, going lbw to Lyon for 9. However, Hawkeye revealed the ball to be missing the stumps, meaning had Buttler reviewed the decision he would have stayed in.

Moeen Ali's 59 from 78 balls featured 11 fours

Moeen Ali’s 59 from 78 balls featured 11 fours

With England seven down and leading by only 85 runs at lunch, Moeen Ali and Stuart Broad built up a partnership of 87. Ali hit 11 fours on his way past fifty,whilst Broad found the boundary three times. But Broad fell to a short ball from Hazlewood, skying it to Mitchell Marsh. Moeen Ali’s fantastic innings came to an end in the same over, as he lobbed to Warner at the boundary. Anderson was the last to fall, with England finishing on 281, a lead of 145.

Stuart Broad drew first blood for England, trapping Chris Rogers lbw for 6. David Warner carried Australia past 50, providing 30 of them himself. Steve Smith was unable to produce a similar display though, adding just 8 before he skied a Steve Finn delivery high to Jos Buttler behind the stumps. Adam Lyth took a great diving catch to dismiss Clarke for 3, and Finn was on a hat-trick as Voges edged to Bell on the next ball. Mitchell Marsh survived the hat-trick ball, as well as an lbw review, but was bowled by Finn for six. Australia had crumbled, losing four wickets for only 30 runs.

And it looked as if England could have wrapped up the match today as David Warner looped Adam Lyth for 77, leaving Australia 111-6, still trailing by 34 runs. It wasn’t long after dismissing Warner that Anderson pulled up with a suspected side muscle injury. Steve Finn took his fifth wicket of the day, as Mitchell Johnson top-edged to Ben Stokes at backward point. Australia survived the day, as Starc and Nevill took them to 168-7 at close of play.

England cruise to victory with a day to spare

England have taken a 1-0 in the 2015 Ashes after securing a 169 run victory in Cardiff. The Aussies had two days to chase down their target of 412, but a middle order collapse enabled England to wrap the game up with a day to spare. With rain forecast for tomorrow, the only real hope of Australia salvaging a result meant batting out the day, so finishing in such style was imperative for England.

Alastair Cook catches Brad Haddin at the second attempt

Alastair Cook catches Brad Haddin at the second attempt

Australia had an early let off, as Joe Root dropped Chris Rogers within the first few overs. Rogers couldn’t capitalise on his reprieve though, as he fell for just 10, edging Stuart Broad to Bell at slip. The umpires, amid a chorus of boos from home fans, decided to review the decision, before confirming that the opener had to walk.

David Warner and Steve Smith seemed to target Moeen Ali, taking their partnership past 50, but the Englishman had the last laugh, trapping Warner lbw just before lunch. Warner fell for 52, with the Australians 97-2 at lunch. However, all Aussie hopes of salvaging anything from the first test were obliterated as they lost five wickets for just 25 runs.

Steve Smith survived an appeal, as Root caught a ball that ricochetted off of the Aussie’s pads, not his bat. However, within the same over, he edged straight to Ian Bell, out for 33. Broad took his third wicket of the day, as Clarke hit straight to Ben Stokes at backward point for only 4. Mark Wood joined the party, forcing Adam Voges to edge behind for 1. In an attempt to restart the Aussie attack, Brad Haddin tried to go big against Moeen Ali, but only succeeded in picking out Alastair Cook, who made a wonderful high catch. Haddin’s dismissal left the Australian’s 122-6, needing 290 to win.

Mitchell Johnson offered Australia's only resistance scoring 77

Mitchell Johnson offered Australia’s only resistance scoring 77

Mitchell Johnson showed the batsman how it was done, posing the English bowlers a few problems as he found the boundary with both sixes and fours. But his partner Shane Watson fell lbw again, with Mark Wood dismissing him for just 19. Australia went in to tea at 162-7, the game well and truly out of sight.

Johnson continued to lead the resistance well, as he passed 50, and soon after his partnership with Mitchell Starc took Australia to 223-7. Joe Root broke through though, as Starc edged in to Cook’s chest, and fellow slip Adam Lyth dived to take the catch. The same combination of Root and Lyth prevented a Johnson century, as he swung wildly at a tempting ball, only to nick it to Lyth. Moeen Ali finished off the Australians in the next over, with Josh Hazlewood skying the ball to Joe Root, leaving the Aussies all out for 242.

Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali shared three wickets apiece, for 39 and 59 runs respectively, whilst Mark Wood (2-53) and Joe Root (2-28) also had success with the ball. Joe Root was named man of the match, following his scores of 134 and 60, and his two wickets today. The second test starts on Thursday at Lords.