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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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.

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.