Ashes: Broad’s double strike leaves first Test wide open

SUMMARY: England 393-8 declared from 78 overs (Joe Root 118*, Jonny Bairstow 78, Zak Crawley 61; Nathan Lyon 4-149, Josh Hazlewood 2-61) and 273 all out from 66.2 overs (Joe Root 46, Harry Brook 46, Ben Stokes 43; Pat Cummins 4-63, Nathan Lyon 4-80) vs Australia 368 all out from 116.1 overs (Usman Khawaja 141, Alex Carey 66, Travis Head 50; Cameron Green 38, Pat Cummins 38; Ollie Robinson 3-55, Stuart Broad 3-68, Moeen Ali 2-147) and 107-3 from 30 overs (David Warner 36, Usman Khawaja 34*; Stuart Broad 2-28, Ollie Robinson 1-22)

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Stuart Broad’s two wickets late on day four swung the pendulum of a first Ashes Test that is set for a classic finish at Edgbaston.

England’s Broad, so often the man for the big occasion against Australia, removed Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith to leave Australia 107-3 in pursuit of 281.

At the end of another fascinating, fluctuating day, England require seven more wickets and Australia 174 runs for a 1-0 lead.

David Warner and Usman Khawaja quietened the crowd with an opening stand of 61 on a benign pitch, only for Ollie Robinson to remove Warner before Broad sparked pandemonium.

Khawaja, who made a sublime century in the first innings, remains on 34, while nightwatchman Scott Boland survived 19 balls for his 13.

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England had dominated an early morning that began with Joe Root attempting an outrageous reverse-scoop at Pat Cummins from the very first ball of the day.

Root was superb in making 46, but England lacked a telling contribution – Harry Brook was out for 46 and captain Ben Stokes 43. Four wickets each for Cummins and Nathan Lyon kept Australia’s target manageable.

Crucially, Khawaja edged between first-slip Root and wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow when he had only five, England’s fifth missed opportunity of the match.

Edgbaston set for another Ashes classic

Regardless of the result, this has been a memorable Test, a series opener that has lived up to the hype and ticked off plenty of the Ashes’ greatest hits – verbal jousting between the players, Aussie-baiting from home crowd and high-quality, full-throttle cricket.

The fourth day was another breathless affair. Though Root missed the attempted first-ball reverse ramp at Cummins, it was a stunning statement of England’s mindset and, amid the carnage that followed, Australia did well to stay in the game.

The target of 281 favoured neither side, even if the win predictor had Australia at 56%. The pitch remains dead and any potential help for the spinners comes with the caveat of the cut on Moeen Ali’s finger.

Still, not since 1948 have Australia, and a team including the great Donald Bradman, chased this many runs to win an Ashes Test.

Edgbaston has been the scene of some Ashes epics – England’s two-run win in 2005 and Ian Botham’s encore to his Headingley heroics in 1981.

If there is to be another, the rain forecast for Tuesday will have to stay away. Even then, the weather could provide another variable to the promised drama.

Broad checks Australia fightback

Australia have been clinging on for most of this game and were in danger of being overwhelmed on the fourth morning.

When Root was causing chaos, Australia scattered fielders and lost their bowling discipline. They were dragged through by Lyon, who bowled 23 overs unchanged and the unrelenting pace of captain Cummins.

From the fifth ball of the run chase, there was the vital life afforded to Khawaja. James Anderson found the outside edge, but neither Bairstow nor Root moved. Realistically, it was the keeper’s catch and Bairstow has now missed four chances in the match.

Warner and Khawaja were sucking the life from Edgbaston only for Robinson, after some punchy comments in the media last night, to find enough movement to graze Warner’s outside edge.

Then Broad, whipping up a crowd that was all too happy to respond, took over with an expert display of swing bowling.

World number one batter Labuschagne poked behind for the second time in the match, world number two Smith did the same, and England had the upper hand. Just. (BBC Sport)

 

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