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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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.

England win first ashes test

England wrapped up the first ashes test in a less comprehensive style than they would have liked at Trent Bridge today. Australia needed 137 to win, whilst England only needed to take 4 Aussie wickets. In a tense finish, England dismissed Australia for 296, winning by 14 runs.

Having starred in the first innings, Ashton Agar was bumped up the order to bat at 8, but he couldn’t muster the form of Day 2. Alistair Cook caught the youngster for 14 from Jimmy Anderson. Australia went from 207-7 to 211-8, as Starc came in, only to be dismissed for 1 by the same partnership. Cook and Anderson teamed up for their 3rd dismissal soon after, with Siddle being caught for 11.

Australia managed to survive through until lunch, with Haddin still at the crease. A final partnership of 65 with Pattinson got some England fans’ nerves jangling, but man of the match Anderson got the breakthrough, with Prior catching Haddin behind for 71. He was originally given not out, but Cook’s expert use of his reviews proved fruitful again, with the hotspot camera showing a slight nick from Haddin. Winning on a review was a fairly anti-climactic ending to a wonderful 5 days of cricket, cumulating in England going up 1-0 in the series. Jimmy Anderson’s 10 wickets, including all four this morning, saw him take the man of the match award.

England in control on day 4

England took control at Trent Bridge on day 4, with Australia limited to 174 for 6 at the close, 137 runs behind.

The day started well, as Broad reached his 50 and Bell reached his century early on. But eventually, the Aussies broke the 138 run partnership, as Broad was caught for 65 from Pattinson’s bowling. This time Broad did walk. Haddin also caught Bell behind for 109, with Starc claiming his 3rd wicket of the innings. At this point, England were 371-8, and England’s tail enders didn’t put up much resistance, with Swann falling for 9, Anderson for 0, both from Siddle, and Finn 2 not out. England finished on 375 all out.

Australia raced along to track down England’s high total, but their progress was halted by Stuart Broad, who trapped Watson lbw for 46. Just before tea, England got their second breakthrough, with Cowan being caught by Trott for 14. England tore in to the visitors after tea, with Rodgers being the first to fall for 52, with Bell taking the catch from Anderson’s bowling. Stuart Broad took the key wicket of Michael Clarke, caught behind for 23. This opened the floodgates, as in the next over Graeme Swann trapped Steve Smith lbw for 17. Australia only added three runs, bringing their total to 164 before Swann struck again, with one of Australia’s first innings heroes Phil Hughes going for 0, lbw as well. Australia will resume tomorrow on 174 for 6 with Haddin and Agar at the crease.

With Swann in this form, England will be favourites to get the four wickets that they need to wrap up the first test, and lead the Ashes 1-0.

Broad controversy dominates day 3

It was imperative for England to bat out Day 3 at Trent Bridge to stand a chance of taking the third test. A score of 326 for 6 at the close is a good building point for tomorrow, with a lead of 261 runs.

The day started well as Pieterson raced to his fifty, with Cook only scoring 1 run at the other end. Things were looking good as the 3rd wicket partnership steadily build up England’s lead. But eventually the big breakthrough came, with Pattinson bowling Pieterson for 64. Cook at this point had reached 48, and went on to get his half century before being caught at slip by his opposite number Michael Clarke. Incidently, Cook became the first victim of yesterday’s hero Ashton Agar, who claimed his first test wicket for the Aussies. Ian Bell, who created a solid partnership with Jonny Bairstow, survived two lbw reviews either side of lunch. However, just after the second appeal for trapping Bell, Australia broke the 43 run partnership, with Bairstow becoming the second victim of Agar, caught in the slips by Haddin for just 15. England lost a wicket when looking strong, as Cowan caught Prior for 31 from Siddle’s bowling. Ian Bell and Stuart Broad set about extending England’s lead with a 108 run partnership throughout the afternoon.

After poor decisions cost England earlier in the test, finally one went their way. Stuart Broad appeared to edge Agar to Clarke at slip, but the umpire gave not out, with Broad sticking at the crease. Although it may have been unsporting not to walk, the decision lies with the umpire, and as Australia had no reviews left, Broad had the right to stand his ground. I mean, how many Australians would walk in this situation, at this key point in an ashes test. Speaking about the incident, Kevin Pieterson said “Every single batsman who plays cricket, no matter who you play for, has the right to wait for the umpire’s decision”.

Whatever you believe should have happened in this instance, it shouldn’t overshadow Ian Bell’s magnificent innings of 95. With England finishing on 326-6, they look in the driving seat for the final two days.

Agar stars on day 2 of Ashes

Australia clawed back some dignity on day 2 at Trent Bridge, with a record test score for a number 11 batsman and highest test 10th wicket stand. The hero of the innings was 19 year old Ashton Agar, who put the visitor’s top order to shame with a stunning 98. The Aussies attempted to dig in in the morning session and stabilise their position, but only put on 33 runs before Matt Prior caught Steven Smith behind off the bowling of Anderson. At 108 for 5, Australia lost it, throwing away 4 wickets for only 9 runs, with 2 wickets each for Swann and Anderson, his 4th and 5th of the match. But with Australia on the ropes, 117-9, Hughes and Agar dug in for over 30 overs. They put on a record breaking 10th wicket stand for a test, 151 runs, and débutante Agar’s score of 98 being the highest for a test number 11. Matt Prior thought that he had stumped Agar on 10, but the after several slow motion replays proving inconclusive, the batsman was given the benefit of the doubt. England finally dismissed Agar just shy of his century, with Graeme Swann catching the teenager on the boundary off the bowling of Stuart Broad. Although the majority inside Trent Bridge were supporting the hosts, not many would have begrudged the youngster his ton after a magnificent (and potentially match winning) performance.

England lost an early wicket, with Joe Root being caught for just 5. Controversy then followed as Jonathan Trott was dismissed lbw for a duck, and although hotspot showed no sign of contact with the bat, the slow motion camera showed that Trott had indeed got an inside edge on the ball. Kevin Pieterson came in with Cook to steady the ship, and his 6 boundaries saw him build a composed 35 as he showed signs of returning to form in an England shirt. England finished the day on 80 for 2, leading by 15 runs.

If Cook and Pieterson survive the morning session, the test could sway in England’s favour, but as it is, the game stands perfectly in the balance.