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Saturday, March 02, 2024  
20 Shaban 1445  

Australia beat England in first Ashes Test

Australia are bidding for a first Ashes series win in England in 22 years
Australia’s Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon celebrate after winning the first Test by 2 wickets as England’s Stuart Broad applauds. Reuters
Australia’s Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon celebrate after winning the first Test by 2 wickets as England’s Stuart Broad applauds. Reuters
Australia’s Nathan Lyon in action during first Test of the Ashes series at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham in Britain on June 20, 2023. Reuters
Australia’s Nathan Lyon in action during first Test of the Ashes series at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham in Britain on June 20, 2023. Reuters

Australia captain Pat Cummins sealed a remarkable two-wicket victory for his side over England in a thrilling climax to a gripping five-day battle in the opening Ashes test on Tuesday.

The eighth wicket partnership between Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon did it for Australia in the first Test. The tourists won by two wickets while chasing down a target of 281.

Australia are bidding for a first Ashes series win in England in 22 years, with England aiming for a first Test campaign victory over their arch rivals since 2015.

The visitors, set a 281 victory target, began a rain-delayed day on 107 for three but their chances looked remote when they were reduced to 227-8.

But Cummins, in partnership with Nathan Lyon, launched a fightback and sealed victory with an unbeaten 44.

In suffocating tension, he struck the final boundary to take his side over the line for a 1-0 lead in the series.

After a rain-delayed start, unflappable Australia opening batsman Usman Khawaja had kept his team on course for victory with a gritty innings to edge the visitors towards the target.

They reached 183-5 at the tea interval – requiring 98 more but a match full of momentum shifts swung England’s way when Khawaja was bowled by England skipper Ben Stokes for 65.

When Joe Root held a caught and bowled chance to remove Alex Carey, England were closing in on victory.

But Cummins sparked the fightback with huge sixes off Root’s off-spin as England delayed taking the new ball and was the calmest person in the stadium as he secured victory.

It was the second-highest successful victory chase at Edgbaston and made up for Australia’s heart-breaking loss to England on the same ground in 2005 when they fell three short of chasing down 282.

Firm Khawaja

Usman Khawaja held firm after an England double strike to give Australia hope of victory on a tense final day of the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

After Tuesday’s morning session was washed out by rain, Australia lost both nightwatchman Scott Boland and frontline batsman Travis Head when play finally got underway.

But at tea Australia were 183-5, needing a further 98 runs to reach a target of 281, with 38 overs remaining in the last session.

Left-handed opener Khawaja, who ended his decade-long wait for an Ashes hundred in England with 141 in the first innings, was 56 not out and all-rounder Cameron Green unbeaten on 22 in an unbroken stand of 40.

Australia resumed on 107-3 after veteran England seamer Stuart Broad had removed Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith, the world’s two top-ranked Test batsmen, late on Monday’s fourth day.

But Khawaja was still there on 34 and by taking guard on Tuesday the 36-year-old became only the second Australian, after Kim Hughes at Lord’s in 1980, to bat on all five days of a Test.

Boland, sent in as nightwatchman on Monday, had already surpassed his previous highest Test score when, on 20, he fell to Broad, driving at a swinging delivery only to be caught behind.

But with Australia on 121-4 and the sun starting to break through the clouds, Boland had done his job with the bat on a pitch previously labelled “soulless” by Broad.

Broad went round the wicket to Khawaja and almost beat him with a yorker.

England did have another wicket when Moeen Ali, struggling with a finger injury, struck on his Birmingham home ground.

Moeen’s first ball of the day, a rank long hop, was pulled for four by Travis Head.

But his fifth was a classic off-spinning delivery to the left-hander, taking the outside edge on its way to Joe Root at slip as a near capacity crowd erupted in celebration at Head’s exit for 16.

The wicket reduced Australia to 143-5, rewarding the faith of England captain Ben Stokes in Moeen, who had been recalled after nearly two years of red-ball retirement following a series-ending injury to first-choice spinner Jack Leach.

Khawaja, however, held firm against an England attack lacking an express fast bowler to complete a 143-ball fifty including seven fours.

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cricket

England

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Ashes Series

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Nathan Lyon

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