Australia take a THRILLING first Ashes Test at Edgbaston by just two wickets as Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon steer them to the victory target of 281 after England were on the brink of glory
- The game was well balanced heading into the final day at Edgbaston on Monday
- England appeared to be in control as Alex Carey fell, but Cummins took control
- Cummins enjoyed an unbroken 55 tie with Nathan Lyon at the end
Australia achieved one of their most famous victories in Ashes history here at Edgbaston today as they beat England by two wickets in the most thrilling finals.
A final day, delayed by rain until 2.15pm, of almost unbearable tension ended with Australian captain Pat Cummins saving his side just as England looked confident they would repeat their legendary 2005 victory on this ground.
When Joe Root made a sensational return catch to send Alex Carey back, Australia were 227 for eight on the hunt for 281 to win and England looked certain to go for it.
But Cummins joined Nathan Lyon in an unbroken partnership of 55 that broke English hearts and those of the 25,000 strong crowd left stunned.
It was the culmination of an incredible test that saw England running the most, yet somehow managing to finish on the losing side.
Pat Cummins inspired his side to victory in Edgbaston with a captain’s knock at the end of the day
The Australia captain enjoyed a 55 unbeaten partnership with Nathan Lyon to win the game
Australia will now take a 1-0 lead in the second Test at Lord’s in eight days
If anything, it has set up an Ashes series that looks like it will be as dramatic as 2005 if the remaining four Tests are as good as this great demonstration of modern Test cricket at its best.
England had to work hard all day for their wickets, especially as their lead spinner Moeen Ali struggled with a blister on his index number and was forced out of attack.
Instead, Root, brilliant with the bat in this first Test, had to come forward with the ball, as he bowled 15 probing overs and took a brilliant catch back as Carey hit him back solidly to become the eighth Australian to fall.
That wicket came after another brilliant piece from captain Ben Stokes, who kept Root for the 81st over, even though the second new ball had to come and saw England reap the rewards.
And of course it was who but captain Stokes who claimed the biggest wicket of them all in Usman Khawaja, who had been battling for 197 balls to his 65.
Stokes, still suffering from a chronic left knee injury, had delayed his introduction to the offense until the 70th over, but fought through the pain and bowled Khawaja using an inside edge with the last ball of his second over.
Usman Khawaja had been batting again for most of the day, until he was sacked by Ben Stokes
The game appeared to be going in England’s favor as Joe Root sent off Alex Carey
But Stokes held on to Root and Cummins began the most exciting counterattack when he hit the off-spinner for two sixes and 14 runs in an over. It was to prove the turning point of another chaotic day.
Earlier, another full house had been treated to a slow final day, with Australia slowly trying to move towards their target of 281. But that didn’t make it any less poignant.
Nightwatchman Scott Boland was the first wicket to fall on the final day as Stuart Broad took his third wicket of the innings with the help of a fourth catch from Jonny Bairstow.
Stuart Broad was back in form and took the wicket from Scott Boland early on
Ben Stokes and his party will hold on to their guns as they try to bounce back to Lord’s
Never looking comfortable, Travis Head fell on the fifth ball of the day bowled by Moeen, who produced a beauty before being forced into the outfield by his finger. Then Ollie Robinson, who had gotten involved in another altercation with Khawaja, threw Cameron Green.
When Carey went it seemed all over but England kept the old ball and Pat Cummins continued the attack, beating Root for two sixes in the 83rd.
Lyon almost fell prey to a miraculous catch from Stokes, who just fell short of a Broad pull-off reminiscent of his famous World Cup 2019 catch.
It was to prove England’s last chance and they will go to Lord’s next week, but with England knowing that they really should have been the team in charge as they missed six chances during the game. Their statement on the first innings will inevitably also be a talking point.