England’s Stuart Broad claimed two late wickets to add pressure on Australia as the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston approached its conclusion.
Ashes century in England with 141 in Australia’s first-innings 386.
England’s Stuart Broad claimed two late wickets to add pressure on Australia as the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston approached its conclusion. Australia was 78-1 in pursuit of a 281-run victory target when veteran paceman Broad dismissed Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, the world’s top-ranked Test batters, leaving the Ashes holders 89-3. The World Test winners were 107-3 at stumps on Monday, needing 174 runs to win on the final day on Tuesday.
Usman Khawaja was 34 not out after ending his decade-long wait for an Ashes century in England with 141 in Australia’s first-innings 386.
That meant the left-handed opener would become only the second Australian to bat on all five Test days, following Kim Hughes against England at Lord’s in 1980.
On the other hand, Khawaja should have been out on the fifth ball of the innings after edging James Anderson, but neither wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow nor first slip Joe Root moved for the catch.
Khawaja and fellow opener David Warner then settled down on a pitch described as “soulless” by Broad.
But England’s breakthrough came when Warner was bowled for 36, with Ollie Robinson’s magnificent seaming delivery taking the outside edge to Bairstow.
In the first innings, Labuschagne, who was out for a golden duck, reverse-swept fours off off-spinner Moeen Ali.
On the other hand, Broad proved his undoing as he pushed outside off Stump and was trapped behind.
Smith fell similarly for six points, much to the joy of the fans.
Australia brought in Scott Boland instead of specialist batsman Travis Head, and the nightwatchman batted through 19 balls to reach 13 not out at stumps.
Earlier, Australia skipper Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon each grabbed four wickets in England’s second innings, taking a total of 273.
There were occasions when England appeared to be on the verge of establishing an insurmountable advantage.
However, their desire to bat aggressively in the ‘Bazball’ style that has proven deadly to opponents in a run of 11 wins in 13 Tests lost them several wickets on this occasion.
England also faced an excellent attack, with fast bowler Cummins leading the way with 4-63 and off-spinner Lyon collecting 4-80.
Lyon’s haul included vital wickets of Root and Harry Brook for 46 runs as he approached 500 Test wickets.
England started on 28-2, with both Ollie Pope and Root, who hit an unbeaten 118 in the hosts’ first-innings 393-8 declared, yet to score.
Root made his intentions clear from the start, failing to make contact with a daring reverse scoop off Cummins, the ball just missing his off Stump.
Undaunted, the former England captain reverse-ramped seamer Boland for six runs in the next over.
Cummins responded by bowling Pope (14) with a thunderbolt yorker, leaving England 77-3.
When the advancing Root slogged and missed, Lyon made the breakthrough, with wicketkeeper Alex Carey completing a satisfactory legside dismissal as the star batsman was stumped for the first time in his Test career.
When Brook misjudged a pull-off Lyon to Labuschagne, Australia was rewarded for keeping him pinned.
Stokes was lbw to Cummins for 43 as well.
Australia had closed the gap on England’s tail, but the final two wickets totalled 44 runs before Robinson holed out in the deep off Cummins.
England took control of the first Ashes Test against Australia at Edgbaston on the second morning because of Stuart Broad’s superb double strike and a captain’s contribution from Ben Stokes. England claimed three wickets in a thrilling opening session after Stokes’ surprising declaration at 393-8 on Friday evening.
With consecutive deliveries, Broad sparked a frenzy by dismissing his former opponent, David Warner, and world No. 1 hitter, Marnus Labuschagne. Despite concerns about his left knee, Stokes managed to lbw dangerman Steve Smith. However, Usman Khawaja led Australia’s comeback with an 84-run innings that took the tourists to 188-4 at tea.
Moeen Ali got Travis Head caught for an aggressive 50 while bowling with a red ball for the first time since reversing his Test retirement. He should have removed Cameron Green for a duck, but Jonny Bairstow’s botched stumping opportunity allowed the Australian batsman off the hook.
At the start of the day, Australia struck three maidens in a row, one more than England conceded in their whole innings on day one. This emphasized the growing cultural divide between the two sides. On the other hand, England took just over 30 minutes to make their move. Stuart Broad, who was chosen over Mark Wood because of his skill and big-game mentality, was the one who made it happen.
David Warner, who Broad had previously tormented in the 2019 series, attempted to hit him through the vacant cover zone but lost his balance and dragged his stumps down. Broad’s 15th dismissal of Warner gave him an unbreakable grip on the Australian batter. Next up was Labuschagne, who appeared to be more concerned with an off-field distraction than with the game itself. Broad’s strategy of creating an outswinger specifically for Labuschagne paid off when his next delivery shaped away and caught the outside edge. Bairstow took a brilliant diving grab in front of the first slip.
Stokes used Harry Brook’s rare, medium pace for a single over against Smith. On the other hand, Stokes eventually took matters into his own hands. Despite questions about his readiness to bowl owing to a left knee ailment, he entered the action from the Pavilion End and tricked Smith with a skidding delivery on the penultimate ball of his second over. The umpire denied Stokes’ appeal, resulting in wild celebrations that lasted even after the first game’s failure.
Smith has been a persistent thorn in England’s side for some years, and his slow-motion ejection for 16 was viewed as a huge triumph. Australia chose to speed up their scoring in the afternoon session, amassing 110 runs for losing only one wicket. Travis Head attacked Moeen Ali, who received numerous blows over the top as Stokes refused to move his fielders back in an attempt to put pressure back on England.
Moeen was allowed to continue his aggressive bowling, which resulted in Travis Head flipping uppishly to midwicket and being caught by Zak Crawley. England would have been in a strong position if Bairstow had seen the oncoming Cameron Green soon after. However, Usman Khawaja’s disciplined innings against Moeen, which included four fours and two sixes, kept Australia’s chances alive by establishing a 40-run partnership with Green.
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