England are in dominant position in third Ashes Test at Edgbaston after James Anderson inspiring bowling spell skittled Australia for 136 and they are already advanced to 133 for 3 at the end of day 1. The advantage is clearly with the home side and it could have been much better if Bell would have been on the crease who was dismissed just before the rain came. Play will be started half an hour before on day 2.
The home side’s advantage is down mainly to a fine, well-directed bowling from their seamers particularly James Anderson but limp Australian batting also supported the bowlers. The Anderson’s spell after lunch brought the turn-around to favour England. Anderson took 4 for 7 in 19 balls to leave Australia gasping at 94-7 from a relatively respectable position 72-3 they were when lunch was taken.
Earlier in the morning, Australia won the toss and elected to bat first on a pitch which was looking wonderland for the batsmen. The pitch was slow and dry and it was clearly making case for bucketful of runs in first couple of days. But in Cricket, nothing can be predicted and looks can be deceptive. England nabbed couple of wickets in the early morning when it was little overcast and get an opponent captain Michael Clarke before the condition eased up for the batsmen. First, Anderson trapped David Warner in front of the stumps in his second over. Then, Steven Finn marked his return in Test side after two years with a couple of wickets- one of double centurion of last Test Steve Smith and the other is skipper Michael Clarke.
At lunch, Australia seemed to be in precautious position of 72-3. But Stuart Broad followed the Anderson’s destructive spell after lunch to pick up couple of wickets and the Australian score card read 119-9. Chris Rogers was the eighth wicket to fall for 52, Broad trapped him lbw. Anderson wrapped up the Australian inning for 136 and picked up his best bowling figures at Edbagaston of 6-47.
In reply, the start of England was not better either. Out-of-form opener Adam Lyth was caught by Adam Voges off Hazlewood for 10. But skipper Cook and Bell ensured that they would not let the bowlers work to go in vain. The partnership added 57 runs in less than ten overs before Cook was caught by Voges again off Nathan Lyon for 34. It was a make-or-break game for Ian Bell and the added extra pressure brought the best out of him. His half-century was well needed for him as well as for team. But he would be disappointed to get out just before rain came. Bell was looking to drive the ball straight after coming out of his crease but he mistimed that completely and hit it in air where Warner made no mistake.
Day 2 will be crucial for both the teams. England will ideally want to take a huge first inning lead so they would not need to bat again in this Test match. Australia will have to work hard to get the remaining wicket.