3rd Test, Day One, Edgbaston.
James Anderson ripped through the Australian batting line up to help England seize early control of the third test at Edgbaston.
With the series tied 1-1, and on a day consisting of several rain delays, England’s bowlers were able to whittle Australia down to just 136, before ending the day on 133-3.
Anderson posted his best ever Ashes figures of 6-47, while Steven Finn repaid the selectors for his inclusion with the crucial wickets of Steve Smith and Aussie captain Michael Clarke.
On a pitch that appealed to the England seamers, the tourists could only manage to withstand 36.4 overs at the crease, although Steve Rodgers managed to record his ninth test half century in 11 matches.
Finn, who was making his first England appearance since being dropped 18 months ago from the last Ashes series in Australia, managed to get the two crucial wickets of the innings. Firstly, his perfect delivery to Smith was caught behind. Clarke was then clean bowled for just 10- meaning his batting average over the last 12 Ashes test has fallen to 19.2.
However, it was James Anderson who was the man of the hour. Unplayable at times- he swept aside more than half of the Aussie batting line-up alone. Adam Voges and Mitchell Marsh were caught behind, Peter Nevill clean bowled and Mitchell Johnson caught at fourth slip before he capped off his innings with the dismissal of Nathan Lyon.
“We’re very happy, especially after losing the toss,” claimed Anderson after the day’s play.
“We created pressure to get them out for a low score and then the guys batted well.”
The Lancashire bowler also had words of praise for fellow seamer Finn.
“He (Finn) has had a tough 18 months and worked so hard to get back in the Test side,” Anderson said.
“So everyone in the dressing room is delighted for him and he looked a threat.”
Stuart Broad also got in on the action, taking two wickets to rise to fifth on the all time test wicket takers list.
After bowling Australia out, England looked to score a decent total to take total control of the test, but things didn’t go so smoothly. They lost a wicket early as Adam Lyth sliced a Paul Hazlewood delivery straight to slip.
Alastair Cook and Ian Bell made a 57 run partnership before the England captain picked out Voges at square leg.
Bell himself had a mini revival at his home ground, scoring a half-century. But he gave up his wicket needlessly as the day fizzled out. The Warwickshire man lost control of his bat after attacking Lyon’s welcoming delivery, causing his shot to go up rather than distant. It resulted in gifting David Warner the simplest of catches.
England will still be happy though with their performance, especially after their showing at Lord’s last week.
Another strong day and they will certainly be favourites to take the third test and lead the series 2-1 with two still to play.
“It was a very disappointing day,” admitted Rodgers.
“England put us under pressure and we didn’t respond. You have to give their attack credit, but there are times when you have to fight, and some of the shot selection…we needed to have a better day.
“The pitch was quick enough and England exploited it well and hit the right lengths. It could be difficult in the fourth innings, but we’re behind the game at the moment.”
*All quotes from BBC Sport.