Tag Archives: ashes

Bowled Over – Australia Complete Ashes Whitewash – By Luqman Liaqat

Australia eased to a 281-run victory inside three day at Sydney to complete a 5-0 Ashes whitewash against England.

The third day was a subject of surrender from the tourists, as they were bowled out for 166 in 31.4 overs after being set a target of 448 with Michael Carberry’s top score of 43.

Ryan Harris (5-25) applied the polishing touches, taking the final two wickets of Stuart Broad and Boyd Rankin while Mitchell Johnson claimed three victims to finish with a total of 37 wickets for the series.

The opening day of the fifth and final test begun with a different look for England as Alaistair Cook won the toss for the first time in the series and put the hosts into bat first.

David Warner fell early for 16 when he was bowled by a Broad inswinger and then Ben Stokes saw Chris Rodgers play onto his own stumps when attempting a pull on 11.

Stokes was the beneficiary for the Australian skipper Michael Clarke’s downfall when he edged straight to Ian Bell at second slip. The fourth wicket of Shane Watson was England’s first lbw of the series as the hosts were left teetering on 94-4 at lunch.

After the break, George Bailey became the fifth Aussie batsman to fall cheaply, however as in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne that was a green light for another fightback from Brad Haddin.

Rankin went off with an injury and debutant Scott Borthwick was under an assault having his first three overs go for 21. Haddin raced to his fourth half-century of the Ashes series off 70 balls, with strong support from Steve Smith.

Seeing the end of Haddin’s innings was a huge surprise when he edged to Cook for 75 and the partnership with Smith was worth 128 moving the score onto 225-6.

Smith profited from England’s many short balls and full tosses, the Australian right hander crashed a six and four from consecutive balls to move to his third test ton.

After Johnson’s dismissal, Harris smashed James Anderson for two boundaries before driving Stokes to short extra-cover for 22. Stokes then had Peter Siddle and Smith (115) in next three balls for admirable figures of 6-99 as the Austrian innings closed on 326.

Before the close, more misery was to hit England, this time with the bat as Carberry fended Johnson to a diving Nathan Lyon before Cook and night watchman Anderson survived at stumps on 8-1.

The horror show began from the off on day two for England as soon as the skipper himself left an inswinger from Harris for a plumb leg before. After Bell was dropped by Watson, nightwatchman Anderson followed shortly edging Johnson to a diving Clarke at second slip.

From 14-3 it became 17-4 when Kevin Pietersen pushed Harris (3-36) with hard hands leaving Watson with a simple catch. Bell was still struggling and only got off the mark after 40 minutes at the crease before Siddle produced a beautiful delivery to take his outside edge.

With a target of 127 to avoid the follow-on, there was a chance for the match being finished in two days. After debutant batsman Gary Ballance fell, Stokes provided a dogged effort to add 49 on the eighth wicket with Jonny Bairstow (18).

Stokes was out for 47 when he shouldered arms to have his off stumps hammered back by Siddle (3-23). Borthwick edged to third slip as England collapsed to an abysmal 155-all out.

The hosts started their second innings with a lead of 171, Anderson struck straight away for a leg before of Warner and had Watson caught behind for nine as the English seamers toiled in the warm evening.

Broad had Clarke for six and Stokes saw Smith edge to Cook at slip but Rodgers scored another careful fifty with Bailey who was on a handy 20 not out as Australia were on 140-4 at stumps (311 runs ahead).

Rodgers transformed his overnight 73 into another ton as he cut Pietersen away for his 14th boundary from 143 deliveries and extended the stand with Bailey to 109.

Bailey scored 46, before pulling Broad into Borthwick’s palms in the deep and it was the first of six wickets going down at either side of lunch. Haddin (28) was aggressive before dragging Borthwick onto his stumps and Johnson was bowled by Stokes (2-62), giving him eight victims for the match.

Rodgers 119 run stay at the crease came to an end when Borthwick claimed a diving catch from his own bowling and then had Harris caught in the deep for 13.

Rankin picked the final wicket of Siddle for his maiden test scalp, caught behind, as the hosts second innings closed on 276 and set the tourists a target of 448.

Cook (7) fenced a short ball from Johnson and then edged behind before Bell after a making a promising start guided a cut off Harris straight to gully.

When Pietersen was on his way for six to Harris, a familiar England batting disarray was under way.

Carberry showed some resistance, but was sent packing to the second ball of the evening session by Johnson. Three deliveries later, Balance (7) was hit on the pads from one that kept low from the tourists’ nemesis Johnson.

Lyon then had his say taking two wickets in an over, Bairstow fell for duck to an excellent catch by Bailey at short-leg and Clarke pulled off an absolutely magnificent low catch to see off Borthwick.

Stokes (32) reacted by going on an all-out attack, dominating a stand of 44 with Broad before being bowled out when attempting a slog of Harris.

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Bowled Over – First Ashes Test Review – By Luqman Liaqat

Australia inflicted a humiliating 381-run defeat on England in the First Ashes test at Brisbane as Mitchell Johnson blew their rather fragile batting-line up away.

Having to face an uphill task of needing 561 runs to win, or realistically forcing the test match into the final day England detached from 142-4 to 179-all out.

Only captain Alistair Cook showed some resistance with 65 as his team lost four wickets for nine runs in a disastrous afternoon session at the Gabba.

Poor shot selection cost Kevin Pietersen and Matt Prior but Johnson was deadly as he closed the match with figures 9-103.

After winning the toss and choosing to bat first Australia struggled in the opening moments of the 2013/14 Ashes. It was Stuart Broad, set up as a villain by the local media, who created the first talking point as he quietened the boisterous Gabba crowd when Chris Rodgers was caught at gully from a delivery that climbed off the pitch.

Opener Warner and Shane Watson settled the Aussies nerves for the next hour before Broad struck again capturing Watson (22) with a neat catch at second clip from Graeme Swann.

Lunch provide some respite for the hosts, but once the cricket commenced it was the same story for them as captain Michael Clarke (1) found Ian Bell at short leg and Warner (49) slapped a short one straight to Pietersen reducing the score to 83-4.

Broad was at his very best as he sent George Bailey packing on his Test debut and Steven Smith (31) who flourished for a short time then became Chris Tremlett’s first scalp leaving the Australian falling apart at 132-6.

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for the hosts because Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson put together a 114-run stand. Haddin reached his half-century off 100 balls and Johnson jointed him by lofting two sixes off Swann.

Run came quickly before Broad fought back clean bowling Johnson (64) to the relief of England and James Anderson picked up another one before the end as Australia closed on 273-8.

Calamity struck early on day two as Haddin was run out six short from a deserved Ashes ton and Broad picked up his fifth victim of Ryan Harris who played behind to the wicketkeeper. The media villain then polished off the Australian innings with the final wicket as he walked off with figures of 6-81.

A total of 295 appeared below par on a batting pitch, but it all changed when Cook (13) fell to Harris and Johnson had Trott (10) caught down the leg-side.

Pietersen on his 100th Test survived a dropped caught and bowled chance but after only 27 runs were scored after lunch his luck ran out when he thumped the ball straight to Bailey.

Michael Carberry (40) fought with admirable poise on his return in the Test arena but Nathan Lyon tied him down before Johnson roughed him up by coming around the wickets.

Bell fended one to Smith and then Prior went the very next ball falling to the combination of Lyon (2-17) and Smith leaving England teetering on 87-6.

Broad survived Lyon hat-trick ball before Swann fell for duck to a nasty delivery from Johnson (4-61) as he claimed a fourth scalp. Although Broad (32) and Tremlett (10) put a brief halt to the carnage, England were bundled out 136.

Before the close of the second day, Australia ensured their lead was expanded from the 159 after the England first innings to a strong 224 as Warner (45) and Rodgers (13) settled in at 65-0.

The three lions restored some hope on day three as Broad and Tremlett (3-69) struck early to remove Rodgers and Watson leaving the score 75-2.

Despite the early strikes the English bowling department couldn’t match the aggression and pace of Harris and Johnson.  Warner and Clarke put on 158 for the third wicket, Clarke assaulted the bowlers with brutal force including a six over long-on.

In the middle session, Swann’s three overs went for 38 bringing their 150 run stand before Warner welcomed Broad back into the attack with another mighty six and he fell soon after for 124.

Clarke used his feet brilliantly to Swann and reached his 100 with a controlled drive as the Gabba rose in delight. Swann (2-135) finally had some success when Clarke (113) was bowled coming down the track as Australia reached tea 299-5 (lead of 458).

Haddin (53) and Johnson (39 not out) continued from where they left off in the first innings, smashing the new ball all around the park as Clarke called for the declaration at 401-7 giving England a mammoth target of 561.

The tourists could not even last an hour before the close as first Carberry (0), then Trott (9) followed him off Johnson leaving the score reading a miserable 24-2 at the close of day three.

In the morning, Pietersen put on 52 with Cook before hooking Johnson straight to the substitute fielder at fine leg.

Bell came out and ensured England went to lunch only three down at 98-3, however his support for Cook ended on 32 when he was dismissed by Siddle.

From that moment it went all wrong for the batting line-up, Cook (65) edged behind to Haddin off Lyon. Prior only made four before Johnson sent Broad and Swann back in space of three balls as the tourist slumped to 151-8.

Tremlett hung around for 40 odd deliveries before popping Harris to short leg and Johnson (5-42) finished  things off by taking a simple caught and bowled from Anderson.

Joe Root stayed high and dry on 26, a brief cameo which gave some comfort to the visiting supporters.

However, this match was completely dominated by Australia and now the tour continues for England with a warm-up fixture against Chairman’s XI before coming face to face with Johnson and co again on 4 December in Adelaide for the Second Ashes test.

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Bowled Over – 1st and 2nd ODI Reviews – By Luqman Liaqat

England Vs Australia 1st ODI International Match Review

The first NatWest one-day international between England and Australia was abandoned without a ball bowled due to heavy rain at Headingley.

The pitch was left covered before the scheduled start time of 10.15am with the rain forming a very wet outfield and at 1.35pm umpires Aleem Darr and Richard Illingworth called off play.

England Vs Australia 2nd ODI International Match Review

Michael Clarke scored a century as Australia beat England by 88 runs in the second one-day international to draw first blood in the five-match NatWest series.

Australia put on a mammoth 315-7 on the scoreboard before England were bowled out for 227 in 44.2 overs with only Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan and Jos Buttler giving the chase some respectability.

England skipper Morgan’s decision to ball first proved to be wrong but it all started well as Steven Finn (2-69) had Shaun Marsh (0) caught behind by wicket-keeper Buttler off only the fourth ball of the match.

There was plenty of controversy in the very next delivery which we haven’t lacked during this summer’s Ashes either. Shane Watson was judged out lbw by the on field umpire but after a review third umpire Aleem Darr revealed that the Aussies number three had edged it.

After an early life, Watson then put on 60 with opener Aaron Finch for the third wicket and just when Watson (38) was picking up pace in his scoring Ravi Bopara had him caught behind which the umpire gave not out but the third umpire ruled that there had been an edge off the bat.

Finch (45 off 45) added a further 56 with skipper Clarke before one big hit too many as he holed out to Joe Root in the deep off James Tredwell with the score 116-3 inside 22 overs.

Clarke and the Aussie T20 captain George Bailey batted superbly sharing a 155-run stand, the skipper smashed some beautiful shots to the leg-side boundary and more elegantly down the ground.

Bailey hit four sixes and helped take 43 runs from the batting powerplay as he rapidly reached 82 in 67 balls. He looked to be reaching his hundred with ease before hitting a leg-side delivery straight to Tredwell giving Bopara (2-57) his second wicket with Australia pushing towards 300 at 271-4 after 43.3 overs.

Once reaching his eighth ODI ton and his second versus England Clarke (105 off 102) was eventually caught behind off Boyd Rankin (2-49) who then bowled out Mathew Wade giving him two wickets in two balls.

A late flurry of boundaries from James Falkner (18 off 11) and Mitchell Johnson moved the tourists to 315-7.

In reply England would have to make history for victory because their previous best ODI chase is 305-5 against Pakistan in 2000.

Debutant opener Michael Carberry struggled before hitting Johnson (2-36) straight to backward point and in the next ball Jonathon Trott gloved a sharp bouncer straight to Wade behind the stumps for duck, as England were now in deep trouble at 9-2 (4 overs).

Skipper Morgan came to the crease at 38-3 when Faulkner managed to swing a ball back into Root which hit the top of off-stump.

Pietersen and Morgan scored 59 together for the fourth wicket, Pietersen smashed two sixes in his innings off Clint McKay and Fawad Ahmed.

But once opener Pietersen fell for 60 off 66 balls driving Watson to point it was game over and when Bopara was caught and bowled by Adam Voges for 1 leaving England stuttering on 103-5.

Morgan (54) put in a good fight with Buttler as the pair put on 51 before becoming McKay’s second victim in the batting powerplay caught in the deep by Clarke and Ben Stokes was dismissed by the same bowler for just 5.

However, Buttler still refused to give in hammering three sixes and five fours to register his highest score of 75 from 65 balls, until perishing to off-spinner Ahmed and McKay (3-47) came back to dismiss Finn as England were all out for 227 giving Australia an 88-run victory with still 34 balls to spare.

The Aussies lead the series 1-0 with still 3 games to go, the next meeting between the two sides now takes place at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

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Bowled Over – England Level Series – By Luqman Liaqat

England levelled the two-match NatWest Twenty20 series with a 27-run win over Australia at Durham.

Alex Hales smashed 94 off 61 balls as the three lions put 195-5 on the board and in reply, the Aussies fell short reaching 168-9 in their allocated 20 overs.

Hales had previously reached a top score of 99 against the West Indies in a T20 match and he fell short of a century once again leaving England without a ton-maker in the shortest format of the game.

Skipper Stuart Broad lost the toss but opening pair Michael Lumb and Hales gave the hosts a fast start to the innings as they brought up the hundred after only 11 overs giving England a record first wicket stand.

Leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed turned the game slightly in Australia’s favour as he picked up Lumb (43) who edged behind to wicket-keeper Mathew Wade.

Luke Wright came and went straight after Glenn Maxwell hitting him for a huge six following up with a pair of fours. Wright scored 30 in just 18 balls before Mitchell Johnson took an athletic catch at mid-off leaving England in a strong position at 157-2 as they pushed towards the 200 mark.

Hales hit 11 fours and 2 sixes including one empty sledge that flew over the ropes, his innings closed on 94 when he was looking for glory with a big shot but he picked out David Warner at the long-off boundary giving James Faulkner (2-37) a second wicket.

Surprisingly, Ahmed (3-25) bowled the final over but he fooled Jos Buttler with a straight one first ball and Eoin Morgan (20) after launching a six slapped the ball straight to a fielder giving the Pakistan-born leg-spinner impressive figures from his four overs.

In reply, Australia had a terrible start, the hero from two days ago Aaron Finch pulled a short ball straight to Wright in only the second over giving Broad the wicket.

Shane Watson was next to go back to the pavilion after misjudging a run with Warner he was run out and the tourists were now 15-2 as early as the third over.

The third wicket partnership of 58 was all about Warner as he raced to 47, hitting Danny Briggs and Joe Root for two mighty blows. Shaun Marsh was dismissed for only 13 as Root nicked one through his defence.

Warner struck 53 off 42 balls before slicing Jade Dernbach (3-23) to Hales at the boundary, leaving Australia 111-4 and falling behind the required run-rate.

The wickets kept falling after that point, Maxwell scored 19 from one Ravi Bopara over including two maximums before dispatching Dernbach to Lumb for 27.

Morgan held a stunning diving catch to capture Faulkner’s wicket to all-but seal victory, debutant Nathan-Coulter Nile smashed Steve Finn for two sixes in the penultimate over before spinner Briggs (2-25) dismissed him in the 20th over as Australia finished well short of the set target at 168-9.

After a drawn T20 series, England now play Ireland in a one-off ODI on Tuesday as Australia face Scotland on the same day before the two rivals begin the 5-match ODI series on Friday at Headingley.

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Bowled Over – Fifth test falls to bad light – By Luqman Liaqat

England missed out on a chance to record a 4-0 Ashes victory over Australia for the first time as they fell agonisingly short of chasing down 227 on the final day in the fifth test at the Kia Oval.

Still requiring 21 with four overs and five wickets in hand, umpires Aleem Darr and Kumar Dharmasena decided the light was too poor to continue with play, leading to the players walking off to a chorus of boos from the capacity crowd.

After the Australian skipper Michael Clarke won the toss and chose to bat first, David Warner fell early driving at James Anderson which wicket-keeper Matt Prior held behind.

But Shane Watson had other ideas as he hit himself back in form taking the assault onto the England new boys Chris Woakes and off-spinner Simon Kerrigan. Watson scored 28 runs from Kerrigan’s first two overs to move onto 80 as Australia reached lunch at 112-1.

England fought back in the middle session as Graeme Swann removed Rogers (21) and then Anderson nipped a full delivery past Clarke’s defence for just seven.

At the other end, Watson kept his composure to reach his first 100 in 48 innings with a drive through the covers off Anderson. Only 71 runs came from the second session with two wickets going down as Australia moved to 183-3 at tea.

Watson found a good partner in Steve Smith in the final session, who hit eight hours and a six. Woakes had Watson given out for lbw on 166 but the review showed the ball completely missing the stumps.

England finally had him for a devastating 176 when hit a short ball from Stuart Broad straight to Kevin Pietersen on the square leg boundary. With Peter Siddle joining Smith on 66 the pair saw out the remaining overs as Australia closed day one on 307-4.

The second day didn’t get underway until 14:30 to the annoyance of the capacity crowd waiting to see some action at the Kia Oval.

Broad and Anderson found movement under the clouds, as Siddle (23) was bowled out by Anderson with a beauty. Smith drove Anderson through the covers to move into the nineties and a mighty six off Swann took him from 94 onto a century before he raised his arms in delight.

Brad Haddin’s partnership of 65 with Smith was over when he chopped a full delivery from the unlikely wicket-taker Jonathon Trott back onto his stumps as the Aussies reached 397-6 at tea on day two.

Woakes had his first Test wicket when debutant James Faulkner (23 from 21 balls) miscued a pull shot to Trott.

Swann bowled out Mitchell Starc for 13 before Ryan Harris then smashed him over the top for a maximum twice.
Harris fired 33 off 27 balls before being caught and bowled by Anderson and Smith was still unbeaten on 138 before Clarke called it time on the innings at 492-9.

The hosts survived the remaining 17 overs in the day before bad light stopped play on 32-0.

Cook fell early on day three for 25 when Harris had him caught behind to Haddin. Root’s half-century included 11 boundaries and Trott supported him well as the pair moved England onto 97-1 at lunch.

After lunch, Nathan Lyon removed Root for 68 as the young Yorkshireman fell to Clarke’s plan as Watson held a sharp catch at short fine leg.

Trott only scored two fours as he grounded to 40 off 134 balls before Starc trapped him lbw in front of leg stump. Pietersen’s 133-ball century was his slowest in tests and surprisingly he hit only four boundaries.
Starc finally removed Pietersen (50) when a thick edge off a full delivery flew low to Watson at slip leaving England 217-4.

Ian Bell and debutant Woakes blocked out the final few overs to keep six wickets in hand in a session where only 66 runs were scored in 34 overs as England closed on 247-4.

Due to heavy overnight rain there was no play possible on day four, persistent rain continued through the morning and afternoon and play was eventually abandoned at 16:00 BST while England still needed 46 to avoid the follow-on.
Woakes was on his way for 25 when he attempted a drive off Harris which Clarke caught at second slip.

Broad only managed nine before Starc ripped his middle stump, allowing Swann to come and entertain the full house, the pair put on 48 for the eighth wicket taking the score on 350-7.
Prior (47) made his top score of series before attempting a third four in the over only for Starc to hold onto a stunning catch. Faulkner removed Anderson to claim figures of 4-51 on debut.

Swann hit two sixes off Lyon before hitting straight to the fielder in the deep as England were bowled out for 377.
Australia needed to score quick runs for any hope of a morale-boosting victory, which led to a clatter of wickets falling down in a thrilling contest.

Warner was superbly caught and bowled by Anderson for 12 and Watson holed out to Swann for 26. Broad (4-43) claimed the next four wickets to keep the tourists in check, Clarke scored an unbeaten 28 as Australia declared on 111-6.

In chase to the 227 set by Australia in 45 overs, Root departed for 11 nicking Harris behind to Haddin who claimed his 29th catch of the summer, a new Test series record.

Trott put on 64 with skipper Cook (34) before Pietersen arrived to gives the chase serious momentum. He registered the fastest Ashes fifty by an England batsman beating Prior’s record off 37 balls as the equation fell down to 62 runs still required from 64.

However Pietersen and Trott (59) fell in quick succession, leaving it down to Bell and Woakes. The pair put on 36 in 4.3 overs but the run out of Bell by Starc turned out to be the final action.

After a day which recorded 447, bad light stopped England from scoring another 21 runs to create history.
The draw gives England victory in a third consecutive Ashes series and the two rivals will face each again in the Ashes later this year down under. This tour continues to the T20 series starting on Thursday at the Rose Bowl in Southampton.

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Bowled Over – England destroy Australia for 2-0 lead – By Luqman Liaqat

England hammered Australia by 347 runs at Lord’s to take a 2-0 lead and tighten their grip on the Ashes urn.

Australia were skittled out for 235 late on day four, having to chase 583 to win after England declared on 349-7 when Joe Root was dismissed for an incredible 180.

After winning the toss and batting first England fell to 28-3, Alistair Cook was brought across his stumps and trapped leg before by Shane Watson. In the next over, Root fell lbw to the recalled Ryan Harris (5-72) and Kevin Pietersen edged him behind to the keeper leaving England in trouble during Her Majesty the Queen’s presence.

As the Australian bowling attack looked a little lack lustre after the lunch interval, England hit eight boundaries in seven overs. Jonathon Trott was fluent, bringing up his fifty in 77 balls, his attacking commitment turned out to be his demise when he flicked Harris off his hips straight to Usman Khawaja at deep square leg.

Peter Siddle bowled out Jonny Bairstow earlier in his innings however it was judged a no-ball by the umpire. The pair then put another 46 runs in a fifth-wicket partnership of 144 with Ian Bell which looked to have put England in control.

Bell brought up his hard worked century of 200 balls to take England within the close of play, only for Michael Clarke to gamble throwing the ball to Steve Smith (3-18) as he removed Bell (109), Bairstrow (67) and Matt Prior as the hosts slipped from 271-4 to 289-7 at stumps.

On day two, Tim Bresnan hit six boundaries to reach 30 runs before being dismissed by Watson. A last wicket partnership of 48 between Stuart Broad (33) and Graeme Swann (22) helped England reach a fighting first innings total of 361.

Before lunch in Australia’s reply Watson was sent back to the pavilion by Bresnan for 30 as the tourists reached 42-1.

After the interval, Chris Rogers fell for 15 when he attempted to lash a high Swann full toss which struck him on the box. Roger’s didn’t ask for DRS (Decision Review System) but replays showed the ball was missing the stumps.

Phil Hughes (1) took a wild swipe at Bresnan and was taken by Prior and Khawaja spooned Swann straight to Pietersen. Smith was Swann’s third victim and Stuart Broad had the prize wicket of the Aussie skipper Clarke (28) with a full delivery that hit him in front of the leg stump as Australia slumped to 96-7 at tea.

In the final session, the tourists didn’t last long as Haddin edged the Nottinghamshire spin wizard Swann to slip and James Anderson dismissed Siddle. Australia’s last wicket added 28 before Swann (5-44) had another to complete his five-wicket haul as a horrendous innings came to an end on 128-all out.

England began the second innings already a huge 233 runs ahead, however the Aussies came out hitting the pitch hard especially Siddle (3-65) as Cook (8) and Trott (0) played successive deliveries back onto their stumps. Pietersen also fell before the close for five when he smashed a wide delivery to point closing day two on 31-3 with a lead of 264.

Day three was all about one man, the Yorkshire youngster Root who scored an unbeaten masterclass of 178 to put England in control of the Second test.
Root and Bresnan took on the morning session rather calmly as the pair scored 81 runs in the 30 overs.

It was mainly about occupying the crease and increasing the lead as much as they could, moving the score to 114-3.

The fourth-wicket partnership was worth 99, before Bresnan (38) fell quickly after lunch to James Pattinson when he pulled a short ball to Rogers in front of square.

Bell appeared to have been caught out early in his innings when he fended off a short-ball from Harris to the gully fielder Smith after checking replays the third umpire Tony Hill gave the batsman the benefit of the doubt.

Early in the evening session Root competed his century from 125 balls, Bell and Root scored 109 run in 17 overs either side of tea as England gained advantage of some poor Aussie bowling display with a stand of 153.

After reaching his 36th Test century, Bell looked to up the scoring, hitting another quick 24 runs as he cut, drove and swept before hammering Smith to mid-wicket.

Root played only 64 balls to get from 100 to 150, and at one point he launched Smith out of the ground twice off three balls. Bairstrow joined Root in the middle as the Yorkshire duo saw out the day to 344-5 with a massive lead of 566 runs.

Root was out for 180, he tried dinking Siddle over the wicket-keeper’s head which meant Cook and England declared immediately on 349-7, setting the tourists an improbable victory target of 583.

The chase began disastrously for Australia, in the seventh over Anderson struck removing Watson for 20 on the back of three fours from successive balls.

Swann’s variations completely fooled Rogers as the opener left a straight delivery which turned and clipped his off stump. Two-down soon became three for Australia as Hughes was given lbw and his decision to review fell in vain as tourists were in trouble on 36-3 at lunch.

Only Clarke (51) and Khawaja (54) showed some resist putting on a stand of 98 together, but before tea they were both on their way as first Clarke glanced Root (2-9) to leg slip and then Khawaja thick edged him to Anderson at second slip. In this game the Yorkshire man just couldn’t be kept out of the action with bat and then with the ball.

When Bresnan removed Smith and Ashton Agar the Aussies were all but dead and buried as an obvious conclusion drew ever so closer.

Swann (78-4) had an eighth victim of the match, when Haddin was given lbw for padding up with no Australian reviews remaining the wicket-keeper was powerless to have the decision overturned which looked to be missing the stumps.

Anderson (2-54) ripped through Siddle to break a partnership of 30 with Pattinson, as the score read a terrible 192-9. Seven more overs came and went, with plenty of close calls before Swann got one to fizz past Pattinson ending the last-wicket resistance of 43 from the tourist as they were finally bowled out for 235.

It gave England a massive 347 runs win and a 2-0 lead in the five-match Ashes series. After a 10-day break the two oldest foes go head-to-head on 1st August at the Emirates Old Trafford in a game without Pietersen after he took no part on day four with an injured calf and is ruled out for the third test.

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Bowled Over- England take 1-0 Lead in Ashes – By Luqman Liaqat

England clinched victory in the opening Ashes Test by only 14 runs on an unendurably intense final day at Trent Bridge.

Brad Haddin best efforts couldn’t take the tourist over the winning line as James Anderson claimed figures of 5-73 in the Australian second innings and equalled his match tally to ten wickets, setting the tourists a target of 311 which was mostly down to Broad and Bell’s stand of 138 on day four.

After electing to bat first on the first day, Alaistair Cook and Joe Root began the innings well after playing the opening nine overs calmly without any rash shots. James Pattinson bowled a wayward bouncer which was rightly given wide by the umpire to get the series off and running, however he was soon back in the action when Cook edged him behind to wicket-keeper Haddin.

Jonathon Trott came out taking the fight to the Australian bowlers, hitting Peter Siddle and debutant Ashton Agar for consecutive boundaries. Root also looked assured as the pair scored a 51-run partnership before Siddle bowled him out with a swinging yorker for 30, England reached 98-2 at lunch on day one.

Trott (48) played a reckless drive to deflect the ball back onto his stumps and Siddle had Kevin Pietersen caught at second slip for 14. Ian Bell and Jonny Bairstow revived the England innings with a counter-attacking stand of 54, Bell fell caught at first slip and Siddle (5-50) claimed his fifth wicket when Matt Prior slapped the ball to point leaving England in trouble on 180-6.

After tea, England lost their final three wickets for two runs as they collapsed from 213-7 to 215-all out. James Anderson survived a hat-trick ball from Mitchell Starc (2-54) and Graeme Swann tamely chipped the ball to cover at the close of the innings.

In reply, Steve Finn had Shane Watson caught at slip and Ed Cowan in successive deliveries. Anderson also picked up two wickets Chris Rodgers first judged lbw and clean bowled Michael Clarke with an inswinging delivery leaving the Aussies 75-4 at the close of the opening day.

On day two it was all about one man, the Aussies Agar, who posted the highest score by a number 11 in test history. Earlier in the morning, Australia added 33 quick runs taking the score to 108 and Steve Smith reached 50 off 72 balls.

Anderson struck with the first dismissal of the day as Smith nicked behind which ignited a collapse. Swann bowled out Haddin, Siddle and Starc were both caught behind giving Anderson (5-85) two more wickets and after Pattinson’s fall the Aussies were 117-9 from 113-6 leaving them still 98 runs behind with only the last wicket remaining.

The fearless youngster Agar scored a brilliant 98 from 101 balls, facing a scare on six didn’t affect him as he struck two straight maximums off Swann and he pulled the ball really well.

His last-wicket stand with Phil Hughes (81 not out) was worth 163 the highest in test history and Australia reached 280 giving them a lead of 65.

Starc removed Root and Trott early in England’s second innings putting the Aussies in control at tea with England 11-2. Trott’s wicket provided a real taking point as umpire Marais Erasmus overturned Aleem Dar’s on field call and replays on HotSpot showed a clear edge off the bat.

Cook and Pietersen batted out the day with care through the evening session steering the hosts to 80-2 and a lead of just 15.

Pieterson started day three aggressively, driving an overpitched delivery by Starc to the boundary to reach his fifty and it was his fourth boundary in the opening half an hour. Once Pietersen and Cook’s partnership reached the hundred mark Pietersen (64) was bowled when he diverted the ball onto his own stumps off Pattinson.

Cook followed Pietersen soon after as Agar’s brilliant debut continued making Cook his first Test victim a turning ball caught the edge of the England skipper’s bat which Clarke took with a fine diving catch.

At lunch England finished 137-4, after the break Agar had Bairstow caught behind for 15 leaving England 174-5 with a lead of just 109.

Just as England were gaining control Siddle dismissed Prior, however Bell took the sting out of the Aussie bowling line-up and with Broad riding his luck a strong stand developed in the middle.

By stumps, Broad closed onto his 13th half-century and the stand of 126 helped the hosts to 326-6.

Bell on 95 overnight, reached his 18th Test hundred in the opening minutes of day four. Starc’s wayward delivery went for five no-balls and a mis-field saw Bell get to his second ton against Australia.

After reaching his 50, Broad fell to Pattinson and Bell’s (109) long innings finally came to an end when he edged Starc behind to Haddin.

Siddle dismissed Anderson and Swann to close the England innings on 375 and in reply Australia reached 28-0 at lunch.

The Aussies opening stand reached 84 before Broad had Watson (46) leg before and Ed Cowan, for just 13, gave Root his maiden Test wicket.

Rodgers fell to Anderson for 52 which left England in command at 124-3, but a 40-run partnership from Clarke and Smith looked to put the tourists in a good chasing position.

Broad struck to send the big man Clarke back to the pavilion after Prior held a catch behind which Dar gave out but Clarke reviewed the decision but it wasn’t to be his saviour.

Swann put Australia in a spin before the close as Smith and Hughes were both sent packing leaving them on 174-6.

Agar (14) the hero of the first innings put on 43 with Haddin, before Anderson already into his eighth over of the day had him caught at slip by captain Cook.

In the next over Anderson had Starc for 1 and after Cook dropped Siddle he then held onto a stunner as Cook and Anderson combined for the third time on the final morning leaving the score 231-9.

Haddin opened up his shoulders just before the lunch break smashing Swann for a boundary and he hit Finn for 15 runs in one over and Pattinson joined in the fun hitting Swann over the top.

Haddin reached his 11th fifty and a 70 run stand on the final wicket assured the crowd at Nottingham was in for a thrilling finale as Australia needed another 20 runs with one wicket remaining.

After lunch the Aussies could only manage five runs as Anderson had Haddin (71) caught behind which was then reviewed and given out by the third umpire and this meant England squeezed over the line by just 14 runs.

The much-anticipated first Ashes Test reached the heights of the intensity that is expected when these two huge rivals meet on the cricket field.

This heated contest continues rapidly as England and Australia play the Second Test on Thursday at Lord’s.

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Bowled Over – Ashes Key Men – By Luqman Liaqat

England’s key players
Alistair Cook (Captain) Left-hand batsmen Age: 28
Tests: 92 Runs: 7, 524 Batting Average: 49.17

Cook will be leading England out in the Ashes for the very first time after taking over the captaincy from Andrew Strauss in August, 2012. After scoring two hundreds against Bangladesh as stand-in-skipper, Cook has not looked back as he has become the first batsmen in history to score five centuries in his first five matches as captain.

Cook recorded 766 runs during the three Lion’s triumphant Ashes series in Australia during the 2010-11 season. Blessed with incredible mental strength and effective style, he is already England’s leading test century scorer with 25 and he is also the youngest man to score 7, 000 runs putting him on course to become the most prolific England batsmen ever.

Kevin Pietersen Right-hand batsmen Age: 33
Tests: 94 Runs: 7, 499 Batting Average: 49.01

The audacious public character of Pieterson alienates him from most fans in England and he has faced problems with team mates and management since leaving his native South Africa to chase fame and fortune back in 1997.
Pietersen’s ability with the bat was in no doubt when he announced his arrival in the 2005 Ashes series scoring a strong 158 in the final test giving England a draw and sealing their first Ashes win in 16 years.

His brilliant 149 versus South Africa last year at Headingley showed he can make some of the best bowlers in the world helpless at times and he was dropped for the second test for allegedly sending texts to the opposition containing remarks about his colleagues.

After being reinstated to the England ranks, he scored a superb knock of 186 in Mumbai which was described as the best innings by an Englishmen in the sub-continent.

In his best form, Pietersen remains one of the few batsmen in world cricket who can turn the match around in course of a session.

James Anderson Right-Arm pace bowler Age: 30
Tests: 82 Bowling: 307 wickets @ 30.14

The tall Lancashire man is capable of swinging the new ball both ways and showed maturity and skill in India during the winter where he took 12 wickets at 30.25 in conditions which had no help whatsoever for pace bowlers.

One more wicket puts Anderson ahead of Fred Trueman as England’s all-time top wicket taker and alongside Dale Steyn is now the best swing bowler in the world and deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the first man to take 300 wickets.

Australia’s key players
Michael Clarke (Captain) Right-hand batsmen Age: 32
Tests: 92 Runs: 7, 275 Batting Average: 52.33

Clarke has arguably established himself as the best batsmen in the world on the back of some outstanding run of form in 2012. He is the only member of the squad who has played in an Ashes-winning team, after being almost rejected by the Australian public as a successor for Ricky Ponting. Clarke has finally won over the doubts with his sheer class with the bat going to new levels.

He has also gained a new level of respect, he is getting close to batsmen such as Steve Waugh, Ponting and Mathew Hayden who had unbelievable batting statistics in the Test arena.

Shane Watson All Rounder (Right-hand batsmen and Right-arm fast medium bowler) Age: 32
Tests: 41 Runs: 2, 2580 Batting Average: 35.34
Bowling: 62 @ 30.06

Technically strong and correct and plays beautifully through the off-side also scores at a brisk rate when on his best form. The influential Aussie all-rounder has a better average against England more than any other team at 48.21.

Despite injuries playing a key-part throughout his career, Watson’s commitment has also been highly questionable at times and his nagging medium pace is a very useful tool.
Probably Australia’s key-man this summer as they need him to score runs and take wickets just like Andrew Flintoff did in the 2005 Ashes.

Peter Siddle Right-arm fast medium Age: 28
Tests: 41 Bowling: 150 wickets @ 28.84

Capable of swinging the ball at pace and with aggression, he can be relied on bowling very long spells through the five-test match series of the 2013 Ashes. Siddle is Australia’s most experienced bowler, most memorably claiming a hat-trick in the opening Ashes Test of the 2010-11 series.

A strong workhorse who can bowl all-day for the skipper, the bowling attack leader and the likes of youngsters James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc will be looking up to him for help and advice.

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Bowled Over- England hold on – By Luqman Liaqat

A sensational batting display from century-maker Matt Prior helped England save the third test in Auckland and draw the three-match series at 0-0.

Prior had great support from Stuart Broad in the final session of the test match who played out 13 overs as the tourists held their nerve to escape from the jaws of defeat against the Black Caps.

England skipper Alaistair Cook made the same mistake as Brendon McCullum from the last test by winning the toss and putting the opposition into bat on flat opening day pitch.

The New Zealand openers Peter Fulton and Hamish Rutherford put on a stand of 79 for the first wicket before England finally had a moment to celebrate just before the lunch break.

Rutherford edged behind to Cook at the slips off Steve Finn for a solid 37, England did ball well at times in the morning session but in vulnerable conditions the situation soon changed.

Fulton’s previous best in his last 17 tests was 75 but he raced past it to reach 124 not out at end of the day during a 171 run stand with Kane Williamson who scored a perfect unbeaten 83. The tall opener hit 14 fours and 3 sixes, including two from two balls off Monty Panesar.

The new ball looked lively, however the England bowlers couldn’t do much damage as the host’s ended day one on a strong 250-1.

England started day two very brightly as James Anderson broke the third wicket stand of 181 dismissing Williamson for 91. Ross Taylor soon followed Williamson back to the pavilion for just 19 and overnight centurion Fulton fell for 136 when he flicked a thin edge to a diving Prior down the leg side leaving the score at 297-4.

Brendon McCullum (38) and Dean Brownlie (36) put on a partnership of 68 to get New Zealand back on track for a high scoring first innings.

Surprisingly for England part-time bowler Jonathon Trott made the breakthrough as McCullum nicked one behind. Brownlie’s wicket gave Anderson his 297th test scalp with the scoreboard on a strong 373-7.

Tim Southee’s quick-fire cameo ended the innings strongly for the hosts as he scored 44 off 33 including two sixes and four boundaries. Finn had Southee and Trent Boult’s wickets to claim figures of 6-125 as the hosts finished on 443.

Boult struck twice before the end of play to put the Black Caps in total control of the test match, firstly Cook tickled a leg-side delivery to wicket-keeper BJ Watling and Trott was trapped on the pads for 27 as England reached 50-2 at stumps.

Resuming day three on 50-2 the tourists were soon in further trouble at 72-5, Southee dismissed Compton and Ian Bell (17) of lbw decisions. Boult sent Johnny Bairstrow packing in the same mode of dismissal before Prior with 73 and Joe Root (45) shared a strong century stand for the fifth wicket.

Prior struck 13 boundaries in his innings before driving Neil Wagner straight to Rutherford at point, his dismissal sparked a collapse as Broad and Finn both fell to Boult who also had Anderson caught behind to claim impressive figures of 6-68.

Southee bowled out Root to polish off the England innings in style for only 204.

New Zealand decided not to enforce the follow-on with a lead of 239, as the hosts lost three wickets for eight runs.

Broad had Rutherford caught at gully and Taylor played across his stumps of a straight one on either side of Williamson’s downfall as he inside edged an Anderson delivery onto his stumps giving England some hope heading into day four as the Kiwis lured to 35-3.

Brownlie was removed cheaply in the morning for 28 by Monty Panesar to leave New Zealand 82-4; however a century from Fulton and McCullum’s knock of 67 saw a stand of 117 put the hosts back in command. Fulton was finally dismissed by Finn as he pulled straight to Root at long-on and Watling was dismissed by Panesar as the declaration came at 241-6 giving England an improbable target of 481 to win.

It took only nine balls for the tourists to lose their first wicket as Compton edged low to Watling off Southee. The New Zealand wicket-keeper missed a sharp chance to dismiss Cook, but he made no mistake to remove Trott off Wagner.

Cook and Bell did well to frustrate the opposition bowling unit as they both looked to see out the day until Williamson struck twice late on to leave England reeling on 90-4 at the close of day four.

New Zealand only needed six wickets to clinch a series victory over England on the final day, with the introduction of the new ball the task looked to have become even easier when Root’s dogged resistance came to an end as he was trapped lbw for 29.

Bairstrow was dropped by Williamson at gully, but he failed to make the most of the lifeline, because he was soon caught by Taylor off Southee for just six.

The most crucial partnership of the day came on the seventh wicket, Prior and Bell frustrated the bowlers by putting on a stand of 78 off 25 overs. Bell’s innings of 75 from 271 balls was finally over at the stroke of tea when Wagner found the edge of his bat and Southee took the catch at third slip.

After tea, Broad dug in deep to see out 77 balls and he took a record 103 minutes to get off the mark as he provided a perfect cameo to Prior. Prior clubbed the ball down the ground to reach his 7th test ton taking 148 deliveries.

McCullum’s bowling unit threw everything at the three lions and finally reaped their reward when Williamson removed Broad with 21 balls still left and Anderson fell two balls later to set up a nail-biting finale and bring back memories of the last wicket miracles against South Africa from 2010 at Centurion and Cape Town.

Prior and Panesar somehow survived the final three overs, however the left-arm spinner was almost run out when passing the strike to Prior.

The draw will definitely boost the English team’s morale ahead of this summer’s back to back Ashes series and on the other hand the Australian’s have plenty to think about after a 4-0 whitewash against India in the sub-continent.

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Tests under floodlights?

The International Cricket Council have finally given in to demand and have now deemed day/night tests to be allowed in international cricket.

The decision means that no longer will test crowds be emptier on the weekdays and the market for success is something that has been welcomed by Cricket Australia.

The board in Australia have set a priority to become the first nation to try this out, and are already actively working with countries to get this happening down under.

There are however many practical obligations that still need to be decided, such as the safety of fans (however with f1 and the night race) this is less of a problem.

The big issue though is the ball. Currently the dark red test ball is too dark and would not be able to be seen in the floodlight arena.

The white ball that has been used in T20 and one day games would be a much easier way, however this ball has yet to show the credentials to lat the duration needed in a test match.

So while in principal it would be great for fans, and give cricket another great spectacle, don’t expect to see it just yet.

However, with Australia keen to give it a go, he iconic ashes could well turn into a bonfire night skyline, and cricket could well have a brand new platform to burn in the public hearts again.

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