3rd Test, Day Three, Edgbaston. 

England managed to win the third Ashes test with two days spare, as they crushed Australia by 8 wickets at Edgbaston.

Ian Bell continued his resurgence with the bat with an unbeaten 65, as the hosts managed to chase down their target of 121 for victory inside 32.1 overs.

Joe Root also contributed an unbeaten 38 to settle the match, despite the hosts losing captain Alastair Cook for just seven at the start of the innings.

Australia had earlier added 97 runs before losing their three remaining wickets- with Steven Finn recording his best test figures of 6-79.

The tourists slogged the ball around the ground, with Peter Nevill leading the charge by reaching a half-century. He was caught behind not long after though, when he edged Finn’s delivery into the gloves of Jos Buttler.

Mitchell Starc and Paul Hazlewood added 28 before the latter was caught brilliantly by Root.

Starc, who had also slogged his way past fifty, clipped Moeen Ali’s delivery to extra cover, and to the roar of the England crowd- England had set themselves up nicely to finish the match within nine sessions.

England were however up against a resilient Starc.

As a result, the Aussie fast bowler dismissed both Cook (7) and Adam Lyth (12) early on. He clean bowled the England skipper with a fastball that swung inwards devilishly.

He then caught under pressure Lyth for LBW to leave the home fans holding their breath.

But Ian Bell, who has received criticism throughout the series, proved his credentials with a calm, professional half century, which included five boundaries. However he did offer Australia a great chance for his wicket.

Australian captain Michael Clarke spurned a simple catch when the Warwickshire batsman edged Starc’s pacey delivery to slip.

It proved to be the deadliest of blows to the tourists, as Bell and Root saw out the game to leave England one win away from regaining the urn.

It was another ‘reaction’ performance from England, which seems to be a constant theme in this year’s Ashes series.

Australia bounced back from a crushing first test defeat to smash England at Lord’s last week to level the series.

But this week it was England’s turn to turn the tide of the series in their direction once again, with three days of brilliant cricket. Including the two 6-wicket hauls by James Anderson and Steven Finn- the first time that happened in a test match by two English bowlers for 34 years.

“The way Jimmy Anderson bowled in that first innings was fantastic,” claimed a jubilant Cook.

“It’s also been an amazing comeback from Steven Finn. Standing there at slip, you thought he was going to get a nick every ball. The character he has shown to come back after a lot of hard work is incredible.”

Steven Finn added: “This week has been fantastic and I’m thoroughly enjoying Test cricket again.

“There were a few nerves in the first few balls and you question yourself but after that it was focusing on getting people out.

“I did doubt at times if I’d play again but knew I could be good enough again. To be stood here now, there is no better feeling.”

Australia will have to ponder on their batting performance after they failed to post decent totals on what was a relatively flat pitch.

“It’s very hard to explain,” said Clarke.

“Credit has to go to England, they bowled well on day one and we didn’t bat anywhere near we’d have liked. I still would have batted first; you can see the wicket has deteriorated.

“It swung and seamed throughout the whole game. We probably had the best batting conditions, we just didn’t execute with bat and ball.”

The fourth test commences on August 6th at Trent Bridge.



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. 

ASHES 2015: England leave Australia with ‘Impossible task’ To Take Pole Position in 1st Test.

1st Test, Day Three, Cardiff. 

England are in firm control of the first Ashes test in Cardiff, although they may now have more than just the Australians to worry about, as they look to take a 1-0 series lead.

Forecasts for Sunday aren’t looking promising, with heavy rain predicted in the Welsh capital all morning. If anything, that should motivate Alistair Cook and co. to get the job done on Saturday.

England are in a great position to win the first test. After dismissing the rest of the Australian batsman in just over an hour Friday morning, they then had a resurgent Ian Bell to thank as they ended the day 411 runs ahead of their bitter rivals.

The visitors themselves began slowly, with Shane Watson trapped LBW by Stuart Broad during the second over of the day. James Anderson also picked up two wickets, moving him up to 11th in the England all-time test wickets list.

Despite losing Cook and Gary Ballance early on, Bell seemed to re-find his form at the perfect moment, scoring 60 runs to build on England’s 122 run lead ahead of their second innings.

He was eventually cleaned bowled by Mitchell Johnson, his first wicket of the match, but the Warwickshire man had caused the major damage to Australia’s hopes of turning the test around in their favour.

The ever-reliant Joe Root and oh so confident Ben Stokes added more gloss to the England scoreboard before a mini collapse from 207-4 to 245-8 had the home crowd on edge.

Step up Mark Wood, who added 32 with his sluggish method to score more runs for the hosts.

He remained at the crease until Anderson became Nathan Lyon’s fourth wicket of the day, meaning the Aussie is the first spinner from his country to take 150 test wickets.

England were all out for 289, but it means Australia must do the impossible in order to win the match.

Chasing 412 to win, Michael Clarke’s team would need to better the great Don Bradman’s team, who chased down 404 against England at Headingly back in 1948.

“We’re definitely still in it,” said Lyon.

“If we bat two days the result will go our way. There’s no reason why we can’t dig deep.

“We’ve got to learn from our first innings with the bat – be more patient. There were too many 30s in the first innings, so we need to try and push on a bit more and have a couple of our top five get big hundreds.”

The weather seems to be the Aussies’ greatest ally- and if they can still be in the match come stumps Saturday evening, then a draw would be a realistic result.

Right now though, this test looks like England’s to lose.