England romp past Aussies with a day to spare
England turned all their critics' predictions on their heads on Saturday as they won the first Ashes Test in Cardiff by 169 runs, with Australia falling to 242 all out on day four, losing all their wickets in less than a day.
The Aussies, the pre-series favourites, started the day needing 412 to win, but more importantly needing to survive two days on a pitch that had seen 30 wickets fall in the first three days. They could not do either.
The day began with the Aussies starting their innings from scratch, as the last England wicket fell at stumps the night before. Set an improbable target of 412, their task was to survive the two days on a low and tricky deck.
David Warner and Chris Rogers endured a difficult start as James Anderson and Stuart Broad bowled with pace and swing, and the batsmen survived many a risky shot, a review and a dropped catch. But their luck ran out.
Rogers was the first to fall, caught in the slips by Ian Bell off Broad. He'd batted for 45 minutes for his 10 runs. Warner and Steve Smith then tried their darndest to settled the knock, taking the score to 97 before Smith fell for 33.
It was his second such score of the match, as he was also caught by Bell off Broad. They went into lunch two wickets down, but what they ate during the interval clearly upset their constitutions as they lost five further wickets in the afternoon.
It was an excellent effort in the field from England, with Alastair Cook taking a particularly good rebound catch, falling backwards, to remove Brad Haddin for seven. Mark Wood had earlier done a good job to bag Adam Voges for one and Shane Watson for 19.
Watson's dismissal, again a fairly plumb LBW that he sent for review, despite always being wrong about it, prompted scathing reactions online. The likes of former England skipper Michael Vaughan mockingly tweeted 'Leg Before Watson' in reference to the most common mode of dismissal for the all-rounder.
As it was, Mitchell Johnson provided a final resistance as he made a half century after tea, but it was never going to do the trick. He was out for 77, to Joe Root, and the England vice-captain also bagged Mitchell Starc.
Root was man of the match for these wickets, but mostly for the ton in the first innings that rescued his side from collapse and set up the win. Mention must also go to Moeen Ali, who took three wickets in the second dig, including the final wicket of Josh Hazlewood.
The action now moves to Lord's, where the second Test starts on Thursday 16 July.
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