Despite a 64-run partnership for the 8th wicket between Mitchell Starc and Peter Nevill, Australia were unable to take the fight to the English camp on Day 3 at Birmingham. Starc and Nevill’s defiance stretched the faltering Aussie innings for nearly the whole of the morning session, before the English bowlers finished things off. By then, Australia had managed a 2nd innings score of 265. The hosts, with a paltry target of 121 firmly in sight, were led by the experienced Ian Bell to complete a resounding 8 wicket victory. England now lead 2-1 in the Ashes 2015 and would look to seal a series win by winning the next Test.
Starc and Nevill defy England in the morning session
Brought down to their knees by James Anderson and Steven Finn on Day 1 and 2 respectively, the Australians apparently had little to offer when they began the proceedings at 168/7 today. Peter Nevill’s long vigil yesterday was the only bright spot for the visitors. Mitchell Starc, too, was no mug with the bat. However, surviving the combined onslaught of Broad, Anderson and Finn appeared to be a tough proposition for both.
The two batsmen, however, braved all odds to keep the home side on the field for some more time. Their partnership stretched for more than 18 overs, during which Nevill completed a fighting half-century. Mitchell Starc’s 58 was equally important in stretching Australia’s lead past the 100-run mark. However, the late resistance shown by the Aussies ran out of ammunition just before lunch. While Finn managed to get Nevill caught behind down the leg side, Moeen Ali foxed Starc with a tossed up delivery, barely 3 overs before the new ball was due.
Ian Bell takes England to easy win
Birmingham was full of enthusiastic English supporters and Australia were bogged down by their own below-par show in the match. All this was enough reason to make the target of 121 look like a cakewalk for the home team and Ian Bell’s calming influence made it simpler than a cakewalk! The Aussie bowlers looked competitive but were tied down by the sheer inadequacy of the target. Starc managed to dismantle Alastair Cook’s furniture early in the innings, and Hazlewood trapped Adam Lyth leg before wicket. England were 51/2 at that point of time, and a few more quick wickets might have turned the game on its head. Ian Bell, however, allayed all such fears and guided his team to a comfortable win.
Australia 1st Innings – 136 all out (C Rogers 52, J Anderson 6/47)
England 1st Innings – 281 all out (J Root 63, N Lyon 3/36)
Australia 2nd Innings – 265 (D Warner 77, Steven Finn 6/79)
England 2nd Innings – 124/2 (Ian Bell 65*, J Hazlewood 1/21)
Result – England beat Australia by 8 wickets
Man of the Match – Steven Finn