|Ground:||Sophia Gardens, Cardiff|
|Scorecard:||England v Australia|
|Player:||DA Warner, MG Johnson, SCJ Broad, MM Ali|
|Event:||Australia in England and Ireland 2015|
DateLine: 11th July 2015
By Andy Jalil at Sophia Gardens
In association with INVESTEC
England go one up in Ashes series as Australia crumble
Cardiff – The extent of England’s remarkable improvement this summer was fully in evidence in this convincing victory by 169 runs after totally outplaying Australia and wrapping up the match within just four days. This will further lift England’s excellent team spirit that so obviously exists as well as the confidence for the rest of the Tests. Australia, by far the favourites at the start of the Ashes, clearly have a fight on their hands for the rest of the series.
At the start of the day it took nearly ten overs for England to beat the defensive batting of the Australian openers before Stuart Broad found the edge of Chris Rogers’ bat for a low catch at second slip. Australia were then on 19. They progresses well in a stand of 78 between David Warner and Steve Smith and just as it was beginning to look as though Australia were not going to be rolled over in a hurry, Moeen Ali struck with the wicket of David Warner in the last over before lunch.
Warner, who had been close to being caught behind earlier off Broad, was trapped lbw for 52. He had shuffled across and played from the crease instead of going forward and paid the price. It was his 15th Test half century and the fourth against England. It wasn’t a typical Warner innings which took 86 balls. His fifty had come from 72 balls, strangely, having taken 23 balls to score one run, he scored the other 49 at the rate of a-run-a-ball.
Australia’s third wicket went quickly after lunch which had been taken on 97 for two at which point they were 314 runs behind. Broad accounted for Steve Smith’s wicket in the first full over. Much had depended for Australia on Smith, No. 1 in the world rankings, but on 33 – his same score as in the first innings – he provided Ian Bell with his second catch when he edged Broad to second slip.
The fall of Warner’s wicket had triggered a mini collapse as Australia lost four wickets for nine in 36 balls. Broad struck for the second time after lunch when Michael Clarke’s casual push went into the hands point. The Australia captain had lasted 13 balls for his 4 runs and on the same total of 106 the fifth wicket fell in the following over with Adam Voges taken behind the stumps. With that the tourists had lost four wickets for nine in 36 balls.
An acrobatic catch by Alastair Cook at short mid-wicket reduced Australia to 122 for six. Brad Haddin’s fairly firm hit off Moeen Ali appeared to be clearing Cook but the England captain sprang to palm the ball up in the air and then held it as it came down while falling backwards to the ground.
Shane Watson and Mitchell Johnson took the total to 151 but shortly before tea, Mark Wood trapped Watson lbw for 19. Remarkably Watson has been dismissed in this manner 29 times of which 14 times against England. At tea Australia were 162 for seven needing 250 to win at that stage.
Johnson who had already batted for over an hour before tea continued to occupy the crease and score freely with attacking strokes. His eleventh Test half century and the fifth against England came from 70 balls and with it the fifty of his stand with Mitchell Starc. After bringing up the 200 of the innings, Johnson unleased an onslaught in the first over of Joe Root when the part-time spinner came on for the 64th over in England’s spin attack from both ends.
The over went for 17 including two straight drives for four followed by a straight six all of consecutive balls and that took him to 67. He added 10 more runs before his defiant innings spanning over two hours ended as he pushed Root for a catch at slip and on the same total of 242 the tenth wicket also fell as Ali wrapped it up with three for 59.
(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2015 Andy Jalil)