3rd Test, Day Two, Edgbaston.
England produced another day of mesmerising cricket to leave themselves on the brink of winning the third test at Edgbaston.
Steven Finn continued to impress on his return to the England fold with a five-wicket haul, as the hosts ripped through the Australian batting line up for a second time in as many days.
Australia, who started the day perfectly when Mitchell Johnson dismissed Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes inside three deliveries, are facing what looks like an impossible task to stay in the test match. They ended the day on 168-7, a lead of just 27 runs.
Moeen Ali’s 59 and Joe Root’s 63 helped the hosts reach 281 before being bundled out. The highlight being Ali and Stuart Broad’s record breaking eighth wicket partnership for England at Edgbaston, which consisted of 89 runs.
Australia started strongly in their second innings- with opener David Warner scoring a 35-ball fifty. It equalled the quickest half-century in Ashes history by Graham Yallop.
However, with Australia looking good at 62-1, Alastair Cook switched Finn to the Pavilion End, and the test swung back into England’s favour as a result.
The Middlesex seamer dismissed Steve Smith for the second time in the match when the Aussie top-edged, gifting Jos Buttler the simplest of catches.
Then after Tea Finn reeked havoc. Michael Clarke and Adam Voges edged two of the seamers deliveries to third and second slip before Mitchell Marsh was cleaned bowled.
And when James Anderson claimed his seventh wicket of the match, dismissing danger man Warner in the process, Australia were just 111-6.
A 45-wicket partnership by Peter Nevill and Johnson saved the tourist’s blushes, but Finn wasn’t done yet, and got Johnson just before the close of play.
Finn’s 5-45 was his first five wicket haul for England in just under two and a half years, but the bowler admits the game is far from over.
“The game is definitely not won yet,” he said.
“They have players who can bat so there will still be pressure. We need to do a professional job tomorrow.
“It has been a while since I’ve played Test cricket so to come here and take wickets was great.”
For Australia, it is an evening to ponder on how they can save this test match. Johnson did manage to reach the 300-test wickets milestone though with the dismissals of Bairstow and Stokes. The fast bowler was however, not satisfied by his team’s performance.
“It’s not ideal, it’s not something we’re happy about,” admitted Johnson.
“We’re 23 runs ahead and we need a big partnership in the morning to get the ball rolling. We played some shots we didn’t need to and the guys will be disappointed. We need to stop this rot.
“It looked at one stage like we wouldn’t make them bat again. If we can get to 120 or 130 ahead we’ll have a really good crack at them.”
*Quotes from BBC Sport.