England Close In on Ashes Series Victory

By Stephen Giles

  • Broad takes 307th Test Wicket and goes 4th on England’s all-time list.
  • Australia all out for 60; Broad 8-15.
  • England close on 274-4, a lead of 214.

NOTTINGHAM, UK – Stuart Broad inflicted record-breaking carnage among Australia’s batsmen as England made a memorable start to the fourth Ashes Test at Trent Bridge.

English cricket and sports fans in general were left in disbelief as the tourists unceremoniously collapsed to 60 all out after 96 minutes of play with Broad destroying the tourists with one of the all-time greatest Ashes bowling performances, to end with historic figures of 8-15.

In response, England lost openers Adam Lyth and Alastair Cook before a 173-run partnership between Jonny Bairstow (74) and an unbeaten 124* from Joe Root steered the hosts to 274-4, a lead of 214.

The Aussie surrender owed itself to a mixture of things: great bowling, first-rate catching and the all-round hopelessness of the visiting batsmen trying their best to cope with the moving ball.

At one point, Broad had helped himself to five wickets for the loss of only 6 runs in a mere 19 balls to take the fastest 5-for in Test Match history.  It was a famous morning for the hosts, but an utterly soul-destroying one for Australia.

In an apparent pre-match move to, wait for it, strengthen their batting line-up, the tourist’s replaced all-rounder Mitchell Marsh with his brother Shaun Marsh – a specialist batsman – although the plan didn’t go as they would have liked.

After winning the all-important toss, Cook quickly inserted the tourists on a green tinged wicket that had some moisture left over from morning showers in the East Midlands.

New ball in hand, without James Anderson and starting the day tantalisingly close to earning his landmark 300th Test Wicket, Broad took just three balls to reach that milestone as Chris Rogers (0) edged a beauty straight to Cook in the slips.

Steve Smith (6) instantly found himself trapped and as usual, nicked it behind to Root at third slip, while David Warner (0) was deceived second ball by the fit-again Mark Wood, with the Aussies reeling on 10-3 after just two overs.

Marsh (0) was the next to go as another full delivery from Broad invited the outside edge which was gleefully lapped up by Ian Bell in the slip cordon.

Then out came Adam Voges – looking about as confident as a chocolate teapot – a man clinging to his Test career, on a ground he knows well, having played for Nottinghamshire from 2008 – 2012. His innings ended prematurely though, edging to fourth slip for 1 with Ben Stokes taking a sensational one-handed catch – reminiscent of Andrew Strauss’s catch of Adam Gilchrist in 2005.

It was lovely stuff from Broad. Nobody could have foreseen what would develop as he viciously laid waste into the tourists’ batting.

New batsman Michael Clarke had the chance to quieten the doubters amid the chaos happening around him. He made it to double figures, yet, with one unsubtle swipe of the bat whilst chasing a wide one, only succeeded into guiding the ball straight to Cook, out for 10. 29-6 – and it was still only 11:39am.

The wickets kept coming and it soon became 37-7 when wicketkeeper Peter Nevill (2) was the recipient of perhaps the best delivery of the morning when Steven Finn nipped one back and smashed his off-stump out of the ground.

Mitchell Johnson (13) actually looked Australia’s most accomplished player until he became Broad’s latest victim, caught in the slips by Root in the same fashion that saw Mitchell Starc (1) who had departed two balls previously – 47-9 and all too easy.

Ironic applause and a standing ovation broke out once Josh Hazelwood (4*) took the tourists passed 50, with the Aussie balcony looking forlorn, before last man Nathan Lyon (9) edged to Stokes to end a horrific first innings where the Aussie top-scorer was the extras column.

CAN'T BELIEVE IT - Stuart Broad takes 8 wickets for England on dominant first day

EX-BROAD-INARY – Stuart Broad takes an historic 8 wickets for England on a dominant first day.

In reply, on a now sun-soaked Trent Bridge, England showed their top-order frailty by losing Lyth (14) and Bell (1) before Starc trapped Cook lbw for 43. England went into tea on 99-3, a lead of 39, before Root and Bairstow took the game by the scruff of the neck in the evening session.

Root, unhurried and oozing class scored his second century of the series in an exquisite partnership with Bairstow, who himself scored only his fifth Test half-century, but maybe his most significant to date.

He left to a standing ovation after being caught by Rogers on his Test return, and with a little bit of luck tomorrow, England could well be celebrating an Ashes series victory. It’s not a question of if they win it, more of a when they win it.

 

The Investec Ashes 4th Test match continues at 11am – Follow via the Britwatch Live Score Service.

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