England finally saw the back of Usman Khawaja but only after his painstaking century had effectively turned the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston into a one-innings shoot-out on Sunday.
Khawaja’s 141 was the cornerstone of Australia’s 386 all out, with the Ashes-holders, bidding for a first series win away to England in 22 years, dismissed on the stroke of lunch on the third day.
That left Australia just seven runs behind England’s first-innings 393-8 declared – a total built on Joe Root’s unbeaten 118 and Jonny Bairstow’s run-a-ball 78.
Australia resumed on 311-5, 82 runs behind, with Khawaja 126 not out, having ended his decade-long wait for an Ashes hundred in England, alongside Alex Carey on 52 after the tourists recovered from 67-3.
Both batsmen should have been dismissed Saturday, with Khawaja bowled off a Stuart Broad no-ball on 112 and Carey dropped by opposing wicketkeeper Bairstow on 26.
Bairstow’s innings to forget with the gloves continued as he gave Carey another reprieve off just the fourth ball of Sunday’s play, dropping a one-handed chance off Jimmy Anderson’s bowling.
But Anderson, the most successful fast bowler in Test history, took matters into his own hands as the 40-year-old bowled Carey between bat and pad for his first wicket of the series.
New batsman Pat Cummins, the Australia captain, got his side even closer to level terms by launching off-spinner Moeen Ali for two sixes and later hoisting Stuart Broad high over the rope as well.
Broad had labelled the pitch “soulless’ on Saturday, but the innovative tactics that have characterised the leadership of England captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum had more success to quickly wrap up the Australia innings.
Surrounded by an unusual ring of fielders in front of both sides of the wicket, Khawaja was finally bowled as he tried to pierce the “umbrella field” off the bowling of Ollie Robinson, who took 3-55.
It was the end of an impressive 321-ball innings, including 14 fours and three sixes.
The final four Australian wickets fell for just 14 runs in 21 deliveries as Robinson finished the innings when Cummins was caught in the deep by Stokes for 38.