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Ashes 2015: Finn bamboozles Australia, England extract Lord's revenge

Rohan Raj | Updated on: 31 July 2015, 22:41 IST

After their horrendous bowling performance saw Australia levelling back the Ashes series 1-1 at Lord's, a spirited and more aggressive England brigade dictated terms at Edgbaston to post an emphatic eight-wicket win in the 3rd Test on 31 July.

Ian Bell (65*) and Joe Root (38*) anchored the modest 121-run chase on the third day to help England take a 2-1 lead in the five-match Test series. The duo added 73 runs for the third wicket to parry their side home and banish the memories of a heavy defeat at Lord's.

England lost their skipper Alastair Cook (7) and Adam Lyth (12) early to set a few nerves on the edge but Bell, who was dropped by Michael Clarke on 20, notched up his second half-century of the match to put Australia out of their misery.

Earlier in the day, Australia were bowled out for 265 runs in their second innings after a stellar bowling performance by Steven Finn who took six wickets for 79 runs. Peter Nevill (59) and Mitchell Starc (58) added crucial runs at the end for Australia.

Finn marks a glorious return for England

If James Anderson's six-wicket haul in the first innings overshadowed Steven Finn's performance, the bowler ensured his prowess didn't go unnoticed in the second innings. The right-arm seamer was in a class of his own as he ripped through the Australian batting-order, bagging six wickets for 79 runs.

Finn, who took two wickets for 38 runs in the first innings, was sensational especially against Steven Smith who had been a rock for Australia in the series so far. The England seamer dismissed Smith and Australian skipper Michael Clarke twice in the match.

He also handed a crucial blow to Australia by taking four quick wickets on Day 2 that saw Australia reeling at 77/4 in the second session. Finn broke the 42-run partnership between Peter Nevill and Mitchell Johnson after dismissing the latter in the final session of the second day. Early on Day 3, he sent Australia's lone warrior Peter Nevill packing to help England move closer to a win.

The 26-year-old was playing his first Test match since the opening Test of the 2013 Ashes at Trent Bridge, and he went from being unpickable then to unplayable now.

Australian batsmen flop after Lord's run-fest

After an emphatic 405-run defeat at Lord's, the Australian batsmen were at least expected to put up a brave fight, if not come out all guns blazing. But to the utter dismay of their fans back home, the Australian batsmen were absolutely humiliated on a pitch that was livelier and greener than the dead track at Lord's.

Michael Clarke's men were shot down by the England seamers for a paltry 136 runs in the first innings with Chris Rogers scoring 52 runs. Australia's top-order was being probed heavily, while the middle-order collapsed like a house of cards. From a steady position of 72/3 at lunch on Day 1, Australia lost a whopping seven wickets for a mere 64 runs in the second session.

The second innings was no different for the Australians who lost their first four wickets for 76 runs with the top-order in tatters. The real nadir for Australia came in the dismal show of their star batsman Steven Smith who had amassed 273 runs in the 2nd Test at Lord's. Smith was outdone by Steven Finn twice in the match for the scores of 7 and 8 in the two innings.

Michael Clarke (10,3), Adam Voges (16,0) and Mitchell Marsh (0,6) were all at sea against the England quicks. If it wasn't for Peter Nevill (59) and Mitchell Starc (58), Australia would have succumbed to a score similar to their first innings.

Bell comes to the party for England

The England batsman, who was highly criticised for his mediocre performance in England's catastrophic 405-run defeat at Lord's in the 2nd Test, looked like a man on a mission at Edgbaston. Though it was pretty much the bowlers who proved to be more lethal for England, the right-hander still had the tedious task to survive and score runs against the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Johnson.

The 33-year-old batsman smashed two brilliant half-centuries in the match while negating the bowling-friendly conditions on a green pitch. He scored 52 in the first innings and followed it up with an unbeaten 65 to seal the game for the hosts.

Bell was also involved in two crucial partnerships with Joe Root that pulled England out of danger. He added 56 runs for the third wicket alongside Root in the first innings and was also part of another 73-run partnership with the same partner in the following innings.

Anderson blow for England

England's emphatic win surely calls for a celebration, but the Alastair Cook side will tempered by the major blow of losing their frontline bowler James Anderson for the 4th Test at Trent Bridge. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed that the 33-year-old seamer will not be able to play in the upcoming Test following a side strain incurred on Day 2 at Edgbaston.

Anderson, who took six for 47 in Australia's first innings as the tourists were skittled for 136 on Day 1, was injured on his birthday after taking 10 wickets in the 2015 Ashes series.

After two compelling bowling displays at Edgbaston, Anderson's omission from the 4th Test will come as a severe blow for the hosts who have managed to bounce back from a crushing defeat in the 2nd Test at Lord's.

First published: 31 July 2015, 22:41 IST
 
Rohan Raj @ro4an_raj

After a poor stint in gully-cricket quashed his hopes of turning pro, Rohan moved away from the playing field and began criticising those who were still on it. Football eases his mind and watching City paint Manchester blue is his elusive dream. When not talking, thinking or dreaming about sports, Rohan can be found listening to EDM or watching movies. A sports correspondent at Catch News, he has previously worked with Hindustan Times, Daily Bhaskar and India Today.

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