Aussies in control of final test

Australia look set to save face in this Ashes series as they are in full control of the fifth test at the Oval. Putting this down to a Trent Bridge hangover for England or the lack of pressure now on the Aussie team would be disrepectful to how Australia have played, whilst England have just not turned up. Australia racked up 481 in their first innings, but England collapsed to 107-8 in reply.

Steve Smith's 143 makes him the top run scorer of this series

Steve Smith’s 143 makes him the top run scorer of this series

On day one Rogers and Warner had put on 110 before Rogers fell for 43. Warner (85) and Clarke (15) also fell, but Steve Smith and Adam Voges remained unbeaten as they put on 101 to end the day on 287-3. There were wickets for Mark Wood, Moeen Ali and Ben Stokes.

Adam Voges (76), Mitchell Marsh (3), Peter Nevill (18) and Mitchell Johnson (0) all fell before lunch, but England’s bowling was nowhere near the standard set so far in the series. Australia went to lunch on 376-7 with Steve Smith passing his century. He was given a reprieve on 92, after Steve Finn overstepped by a good six inches.

Smith and Mitchell Starc put on 91 before Smith was bowled by Finn for 143, and Starc soon followed, lbw to Stokes for a fine 58. Interestingly, Starc’s dismissal only the second review overturned the whole series, showing how well the umpires have performed so far. Peter Siddle, a surprise inclusion in Australia’s side, added 1 as the visitors finished on 481. Stokes, Finn and Ali took three wickets a piece, with Mark Wood taking the other.

If England were poor with the ball, they were even worse with the bat. Nathan Lyon dismissed Cook before tea with a beautiful delivery for 22. The hosts then lost 7 wickets for 46 runs. Adam Lyth continued his poor series with only 19, putting England on 46-2. Bell, Bairstow and Stokes were the only men to make it to double figures, with Root, Buttler and Broad suffering the embarrassment of not even reaching that milestone. Mitchell Marsh took three wickets, whilst their was two a-piece for Lyon and Siddle, and one for Mitchell Johnson.

Alastair Cook's side floundered with the bat, losing 7 wickets for just 42 runs

Alastair Cook’s side floundered with the bat, losing 7 wickets for just 42 runs

Although it seems that England have just been utterly useless, which they have, credit does have to go to the Australian bowlers for forcing them in to this dismal showing. Moeen Ali and Mark Wood (both on 8) resume tomorrow at 107-8 with absolutely no pressure on them with the match seemingly out of sight.

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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.

Broad piles on misery for dismal Australia

Stuart Broad produced career best figures of 8-15 as Australia slumped to 60 on the first day at Trent Bridge. The visitors lasted only 18.3 overs as they were skittled out before lunch in one of the most remarkable days in Ashes history. England ended the day on 274-4, a lead of 214 runs. This was helped by an unbeaten century from Joe Root and a half century from fellow Yorkshireman Jonny Bairstow.

Stuart Broad celebrates his record equalling five-for

Stuart Broad celebrates his record equalling five-for

England won the toss and elected to bowl. It took only three balls for Stuart Broad to begin his one man mission, as Rogers edged to Cook at slip for 0. Steve Smith also fell in the first over, making 6 before being caught straight on and edging to Root. Mark Wood made the score 10-3, as opener David Warner nicked behind to Buttler. Broad added a further two wickets, with Shaun Marsh (0) and and Adam Voges (1) being caught by Bell and Stokes respectively. Ben Stokes’ catch was outstanding, as he dived to his right and plucked the ball from behind him at fifth slip.

Michael Clarke was the first Aussie to make it in to double figures, but he was caught by Cook after thrashing out at a Broad delivery. With this dismissal Broad equalled the fasted ever five wicket haul, in just 19 balls. Steven Finn bowled Peter Nevill for 2 to get his first wicket, leaving Australia 33-7. Mitchell Johnson offered some resistance, hitting two fours to pull the visitors towards 50. But Broad cleaned up the Australian lower order, with Starc and Johnson being caught by Root in virtually identical dismissals. Nathan Lyon added a further 9 to bring Australia to 60 before he was caught by Stokes. The state of the Aussie innings was that ‘Extras’ top scored with 14, and only two batsmen made it in to double figures.

Joe Root hit an unbeaten 124

Joe Root hit an unbeaten 124 as England cruised to a large lead on day 1

With such a low target, England could come out and bat without any pressure. Things started brightly, as both openers made some early boundaries. But having retained his place despite his poor form, Adam Lyth fell early on again, thin edging a Mitchell Starc delivery behind to Nevill for 14. Ian Bell was unable to add to his consecutive half centuries at Edgbaston as he was dismissed lbw by Starc for just 1. With England 34-2, Alastair Cook and Joe Root put on a partnership of 62. With the score at 65-2, Cook was fortunate to stay in as he edged between two slips. Michael Clarke and Steve Smith both dived, but Smith only succeeded in helping the ball for four and possibly taking the catch away from the skipper. Cook did fall, also lbw to Starc, making it 96-3. His score of 43 was his second highest of the series, but the disappointment was visible as he walked off agonisingly close to his half century.

From then on the Yorkshire duo Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow took centre stage. Root brought up his 50 with a four, and when the pair went on to pass the 100 partnership. Bairstow made his first test half century in two years, from just 73 balls, with a four down leg side. Joe Root soon brought up his ton with a four, his sixteenth of his innings, and his second ton of the series. Jonny Bairstow risked getting out many times throughout his innings, but the closest he came was when he was almost run out, but Mitchell Johnson was unable to direct a scoop on to the stumps. To add insult to injury, England nicked another run from the overthrow. The Yorkshire partnership was finally stopped as Jonny Bairstow was caught by Chris Rogers at square leg. Bairstow made 73 before Hazlewood dismissed him, and created a partnership with Root worth 173. England put on a further five runs before close of play to finish on 274-4, a lead of 214.

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.

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.

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.