England took a 2-1 Ashes lead after completing a famous win within three days at Edgbaston, beating Australia by an emphatic eight wickets.
Joe Root and Ian Bell saw England home in the afternoon session to complete a famous win in front of a vocal and partisan crowd after the tourists had been dismissed for 265 - a lead of just 121.
Bell’s 65 not out, bringing with it a fantastic return to form, along with Root’s quick-fire 38 meant the chase was completed in just 32.1 overs – signalling remarkable turnaround for the side battered in every department at Lords last week.
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Australia began the morning with a slender lead of 23, however the 7th wicket stand of Mitchel Starc and Peter Nevill gave them a sniff of victory, plundering four boundaries in the first five overs of the day.
Nevill was then offered a lifeline after being given not out despite feathering one to Jos Buttler off Stuart Broad’s bowling, however it was not long before he was sent back to the pavilion, sending a similar delivery Buttler’s way to give Steven Finn his sixth wicket of the innings.
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Ben Stokes was the next to get amongst the wickets - taking his first scalp since the first test – Josh Hazlewood the victim after Root took a smart catch at second slip.
Starc was impressive in his knock of 58, playing with freedom but ultimately chipping to extra cover for 58 after making 20 for the final wicket with Nathan Lyon, prompting emphatic cheers from the 24,500-strong Edgbaston crowd who knew it would then only be a matter of time before England closed in on victory.
This left England the simple task of knocking off 121 runs with over two days of the test match remaining – however nerves crept into the Birmingham crowd early in the innings.
Lyth Fails Again
Adam Lyth registered yet another failure at number two scoring just 12, meaning his place at the top of the order may now be at risk, and Alistair Cook – whose form has seen a vast improvement in recent innings – could only muster seven.
However despite the early wobble, England serenely breezed towards their target once Root and Bell were in full flow. Boundary hitting was mixed with easy singles on a day where the only bad news for England was that seamer Jimmy Anderson will miss the fourth test after picking up a side strain during the second day.
For England, the task is now straightforward – win at Trent Bridge next week to regain the Ashes.
Paceman Steven Finn was named man of the match and was praised by captain Cook after his breath-taking return to test cricket – claiming 6-79 in the second Australian innings.
"Standing there at slip for that spell, you thought they were going to get a nick every ball. It's a happy dressing-room for Finny. He must take the credit for his comeback.” Cook told Sky Sports.
"Sport has a great way of testing you, and for Steven Finn to come back like that was fantastic.”
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