England dominates opening day of 3rd Ashes test
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — The Ashes series took another twist Wednesday as England dominated the first day of the third test to finish only three runs behind Australia with seven wickets remaining after the tourists were dismissed for just 136.
England finished the rain-hit day at Edgbaston on 133-3 as Ian Bell saved his test career by hitting an aggressive 53 on his home ground before carelessly getting out. Joe Root was undefeated on 30.
James Anderson took his 18th test five-for with 6-47, Steven Finn got 2-38 — including the crucial wicket of Steve Smith — in a triumphant return to test cricket after two years, and Stuart Broad removed the only Australian to offer resistance, Chris Rogers, for 52.
“I thought we bowled pretty well, we bowled much better than we did at Lord’s,” Anderson said.
“Throughout the day there was probably a high percentage of poor shots rather than good balls that got wickets.”
Australia captain Michael Clarke won the toss and chose to bat but quickly wished he hadn’t with conditions turning out ideal for seam and swing, especially Anderson.
Altogether 13 wickets fell in the day — which saw five rain breaks — but England will look to build a significant lead Thursday and banish memories of its 405-run defeat at Lord’s in the second test.
England opener Adam Lyth failed again, out for 10 to Josh Hazlewood, after foolishly chasing a wide delivery. He was caught with an edge to Voges at first slip who needed more than one attempt.
Cook and Bell rallied to bring England’s 50 up in the 15th over and hit a total of 23 runs off the next two overs bowled by Mitchell Marsh and Hazlewood, whom Bell smashed for three straight boundaries — the second of which saw the 50 partnership with Cook.
Nathan Lyon immediately replaced Marsh and Cook was dismissed for 34 with England at 76-2 after his powerful pull shot appeared to embed the ball in the stomach of Adam Voges at forward short leg.
Bell’s seventh boundary brought England’s 100 up in the 23rd over bowled by Mitchell Starc, and Bell added another two boundaries in the same over. Bell and Root looked set to build a speedy lead with their 50 partnership for the third wicket taking 56 balls.
But Lyon came back on for a second over and enticed Bell into unwisely advancing down the wicket and launching the ball high into the air, caught at midwicket by Warner, as Lyon finished with 2-3.
Earlier, Australia opener David Warner put in the best dive of the series to avoid being run out off the second ball of the day by a direct hit from Broad. Warner’s day quickly got worse, however, out lbw to Anderson for 2.
Finn put in a hostile performance and struck with the last ball of his first over by claiming Smith — who made a double century at Lord’s — for just 7. Clarke fell victim to Finn’s Yorker, bowled for 10 at 34-3.
Australia went to lunch at 72-3, ate, returned and lost its last seven wickets for 64 runs. Voges was caught behind by Jos Buttler off Anderson for 16, paying for his casual knick as his 43-run stand with Rogers ended.
Allrounder Mitchell Marsh was also caught behind for a duck off Anderson after trying to drive a tempting off-stump ball to make it 82-5.
Any over-confidence from Lord’s was long gone when Australia dropped to 86-6. Peter Nevill was bowled by Anderson for just 2, letting the ball go onto his off stump. Anderson had three wickets for three runs in an 11-ball spell.
Mitchell Johnson was around long enough, just, to get his 2,000th run in test cricket but was out for 3 at 94-7, ably caught low at 5th slip by Ben Stokes, to give Anderson his fifth wicket and 5-22 at that point, with 4-7 in 19 balls after lunch.
Amid football-style chanting of “England, England” by the sellout crowd of around 25,000, Rogers advanced to his 50 off 82 balls with nine fours. At that stage, he had more than half his side’s score with Australia on 98-7.
The 100 came up in the 30th over, including 15 boundaries, but Rogers was finally trapped on 110-8, gone leg before wicket against Broad (2-44). Australia made an unsuccessful appeal.
Mitchell Starc was out for 11, making it 119-9, falling in Broad’s wicket maiden. Hazelwood had little choice but to hit out for an undefeated 14, and the innings ended with Lyon bowled by Anderson for 11.
Broad’s pair of wickets took him above Derek Underwood as England’s fifth highest wicket-taker with 298.
Rogers denied the Australians were too complacent after humiliating England at Lord’s.
“We respect England and particularly their attack,” Rogers said. “It’s one game at a time and as cricketers you know that the momentum can change so quickly. I don’t think we got ahead of ourselves at all ... There’s no way we’d disrespect the opposition.”
The Ashes series is currently tied at one apiece.