The rollercoaster Ashes series experienced another wild fluctuation on the opening day of the third Test as Australia’s batting line-up crumbled at Edgbaston.
There was no shortage of action on a rain-affected Day 1 in Birmingham that saw just 66 overs of play, with the tourists skittled for just 136 before England raced to 3/133 at stumps.
After Michael Clarke won the toss and decided to bat, James Anderson kicked off proceedings by trapping David Warner lbw for 2 – the first of six scalps as he finished with his best-ever Ashes figures: 6/46 off 14.4 overs.
Tall pace-man Steve Finn, seemingly on the scrapheap after failing to play in a Test since the first clash of the 2013 Ashes series, made a triumphant return by dismissing Steve Smith (7) and Clarke (10) in the space of four overs.
A rain break ensued soon afterwards, and Chris Rogers and Adam Voges set about rectifying Australia’s woeful start. But their 43-run stand – more than double the next best partnership – ended when Voges (16) was caught behind off Anderson at the beginning of a devastating spell by the veteran.
Mitch Marsh (0), Peter Nevill (2) and Mitchell Johnson (3) all departed in quick succession as Anderson picked up wickets in four consecutive overs, leaving Australia reeling at 7/94.
— Test Match Special (@bbctms) July 29, 2015
Rogers, the only batsman to offer any resistance, was then dismissed for 52 by Stuart Broad, who helped mop up the tail with Anderson.
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) July 29, 2015
Retweet if you want to Chris Rogers to keep playing. #LetskeepBuck
— Dean Jones (@ProfDeano) July 28, 2015
England opener Adam Lyth’s miserable series continued when Josh Hazlewood removed him for just 10, but under-fire stalwarts Alistair Cook (34 off 48 balls) and Ian Bell (53 off 56 balls) – who both fell to Nathan Lyon – and in-form Joe Root (30 not out off 35 balls) kept the scoreboard ticking over at a run-rate of better than 4.5.
More rain ended play prematurely soon after Bell was dismissed, with the recalled Jonny Bairstow (1 not out) set to resume with Root on Day 2, England trailing Australia’s dreadful first-innings total by just three runs with seven wickets in hand.
Stud of the day
Anderson put some ordinary form and a groundswell of negative publicity behind him to deliver one of his most slashing bowling performances.
LISTEN: Hear what James Anderson has to say about his own bowling and England’s commanding position at Edgbaston. http://t.co/KcuwGkTYhM
— ABC Grandstand (@abcgrandstand) July 29, 2015
Finn’s double-strike to get rid of danger-men Smith and Clarke put England right on top.
— FOX SPORTS Cricket (@FOXCricketLive) July 29, 2015
There’s obviously plenty at Edgbaston for the bowlers and Australia can easily climb back into the contest on Day 2, particularly with the ball swinging around early – but quick wickets are essential. As they showed in the first Test, a confident England is a difficult one to overcome, and the hosts are in the box-seat to post a big first-innings lead. There are still plenty of twists and turns to come in this one, however.
- The team batting first at Edgbaston has reached 300 just once in the past seven Tests.
- Australia has lost seven wickets for less than 100 eight times since 2010; it happened only three times from 2000-09.
- After going wicketless for 277 balls, Anderson snared six scalps in just 80 deliveries.
- Anderson’s 18th 5-wicket bag placed him third all-time for England behind Ian Botham (27) and Sid Barnes (24).