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.

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 in control despite wobble

England have two days to bowl out Australia, after setting them a target of 412 to win the first test. Despite this level of control, they did suffer a wobble, losing three wickets for just nine runs, giving Australia a slither of hope of taking the first test. Despite the mini-capitulation, Australia still require the third highest successful run chase in Test history to take the win, so only a shocking bowling display or rain should prevent an England victory.

England celebrate dismissing the Aussies for 308

England celebrate dismissing the Aussies for 308

Australia resumed on 264-5. England did get the early breakthrough, as Shane Watson was dismissed lbw by Stuart Broad. Nathan Lyon, who had been sent in as night watchman, fell in the next over, lbw to Mark Wood. Mitchell Johnson and Brad Haddin put up a mini-stand of 34, hitting seven fours between them. The final three wickets fell for just four runs, as Haddin (22) and Starc (0) fell to Anderson, either side of Mitchell Johnson (14) chipping straight to Gary Ballance off of Broad. Australia lose last five wickets for 43 runs, finishing on 308, 126 runs behind. Anderson stood out from the English bowlers, finishing 3-43, with Broad, Wood and Ali all taking two wickets each.

Alastair Cook fell just before lunch for a disappointing 12, with Nathan Lyon taking a low catch. Gary Ballance fell just after lunch, caught behind off of Hazleworth for a duck, leaving England 22-2. Ian Bell began strongly, reminding his doubters of the form he showed in the last Ashes series at home. Adam Lyth hit the day’s first six, but just after a Bell single brought up the 50 partnership Lyth was dismissed for 37. Nathan Lyon was the man who took the wicket, with Lyth edging to a diving Clarke at slip.

Ian Bell brought up his 50 with a four before tea, with England going into the break on 160-3. But Bell fell for 60 soon after tea, bowled by Mitchell Johnson for his first wicket after a dismal first innings. Joe Root was also scoring freely, and brought up his fifty with a four, his twelfth 50 in his last 18 test matches. Josh Hazlewood ended Root’s hopes of a second consecutive century, bowling the Yorkshire man for 60.

England’s capitulation began as Jos Buttler gifted Australia his wicket for only 7, with Haddin catching his attempt a a reverse sweep. Ben Stokes was the next to fall, with an inside edge back on to the stumps from Mitchell Starc. Stuart Broad completed England’s wobble as he was caught well by Hazlewood from a complete slog, with England looking in danger of not pulling out a lead of 400.

Mark Wood made 32 from just 18 balls

Mark Wood made 32 from just 18 balls

But Mark Wood brought up that milestone, hitting an entertaining 32 from 18 balls, including 4 fours and 1 six. Moeen Ali was unable to repeat his first innings heroics, as he ambitiously swung at a loose ball, nicking behind for 15. James Anderson was bowled by Lyon as England were bowled out for 289, a lead of 411. Nathan Lyon finished 4-75, with two wickets a piece for Johnson, Starc and Hazlewood.

England should realistically see off Australia comfortably, perhaps even with a day to spare. However, if they fail to dismiss the Aussie openers in the morning session then some nerves could creep in.

England lift Ashes after 5th test draw

An entertaining final day of the Ashes ended bitterly as bad light stopped play with only 4 overs left. What’s worse is that England only needed 21 runs to win the series 4-0.

England began the day on 247-4, and looked more positive after the washout on day 4. Ryan Harris carried on his impressive form with the ball as he got Chris Woakes for 25, as Clarke caught him. Ian Bell fell next for 45, with Haddin catching him behind for James Faulkner’s first wicket of the game. Stuart Broad fell for 9, with Prior getting some much needed runs before falling to Faulkner for 47, caught on the boundary by Mitchell Starc. James Anderson threw his wicket away for 4 as his poor form with the bat continued, however Graeme Swann added and impressive 34, including five 4s and one 6. Faulkner bowled Swann, meaning England finished on 377, still 115 runs behind but managing to avoid the follow on.

In an attempt to win the match, Michael Clarke shook up his batting order to extend the Australian lead whilst still giving them enough time to bowl England out. It was a bold decision, and it looked to backfire as Australia found themselves 67-4. Much to the crowd’s delight, David Warner fell first for 12, with Anderson diving to his right to take a one-handed catch off of his own bowling. Shane Watson fell next, with Pieterson catching him for 26 from Swann’s bowling. Shortly after, Stuart Broad got Brad Haddin for a duck, with Matt Prior catching him behind. Matt Prior caught James Faulkner, as he edged Broad behind for 22. Steve Smith was next to fall, chipping Stuart Broad to Graeme Swann on the boundary for 7. The Aussies fell to 85-6 after Broad knocked out Harris’ leg stump for just 1. At tea, Clarke declared on 101-6, giving England a chase of 227 runs from 44 overs.

England started positively; however they suffered a setback as Root was caught behind 11 for from Harris. Cook and Trott built a 64 partnership before the captain fell for 34, lbw to Faulkner. Trott’s good innings was bettered by Kevin Pieterson, who hit 10 fours on his way to 62. David Warner caught Pieterson on the boundary, with Harris’ bowling again undoing the English batsmen. Trott was next to go, falling lbw for 59 despite a review to Faulkner. Ian Bell was next to fall, as he tried to hit the ball back through Starc, only for the bowler to run him out. This was the last action of the series, as the umpires led the players off with England needing 21 off of 4 overs. The match was drawn; however England will be content with a 3-0 series victory.

Man of the match was Shane Watson for his 176 in the first innings, and the Man of the Series was Ian Bell for his 3 important centuries.

Bell ton revives England

Ian Bell’s 3rd century of the series helped England recover from 49-3 to finish the day on 234-5. Australia started the day at the crease, but the England attack made short work of the Aussie batsmen. Graeme Swann made an early breakthrough, trapping Haddin for lbw, and despite a wasted Australian review, Haddin went for 13. Swann then got the key wicket of Chris Rodgers, with Matt Prior showcasing a fantastic piece of wicket keeping, diving forward to dismiss Rodgers for an outstanding 110. The flurry of wickets continued after the new ball, with Jimmy Anderson finally getting in the act. Alistair Cook caught Siddle low down at slip for 5. Anderson got another wicket shortly after, with Nathan Lyon going out for 4, lbw. Ryan Harris had put on an impressive 28, before going lbw to Broad, his fifth wicket of the match. Australia finished on 270 all out, a lead of 32.

Ryan Harris destroyed England’s top order, with Joe Root the first to fall for 2 with a wonder ball from Harris, reminiscent of Anderson to Clarke at Trent Bridge. Cook was next to fall, lashing out at a ball that he really should have left, nicking it behind to Haddin for 22. Trott was next, flicking a Harris bouncer behind with his glove and caught by a diving Haddin for 23. With Pieterson and Bell at the crease, England recovered from 49-3. They were aided by some comedy fielding at the boundary, as an Australian mess up allowed them to run 4 runs. Pieterson survived a run out, after he played the ball back towards Lyon, who threw it back to Haddin, requiring Pieterson to dive back to stay in. Haddin missed a stumping of Pieterson, as he attempted to attack Lyon, but edged it narrowly passed Haddin and through for 4. This luck was short lived though, as Pieterson  fell shortly after for 44, as he tried to sweep Lyon but edged it out to Rodgers at cover. A bizarre decision came at 17:42, as the umpires led the players off due to bad light. Luckily, the players came out about 8 minutes later. Despite looking comfortable, Australia struck again with Haddin catch Bairstow for 28. Ian Bell brought up his 100 before the end of play, as England finished on 234-5, a lead of 202.

With Bell and Bresnan at the crease, England will look to build the lead up to about 300 tomorrow to put them in command of the test.