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Lyon’s six appeals overpowers England in Ashes opener

Lyon’s six appeals overpowers England in Ashes opener
August 06
10:59 2019

BIRMINGHAM: Nathan Lyon took six wickets as Australia thrashed England by 251 runs at their Edgbaston ‘fortress’ to win the first Ashes Test on Monday.

England set a daunting 398 for victory, lost four wickets for 12 runs either side of lunch on the last day as they slumped to 97-7.

They were eventually dismissed for 146 in their second innings, with off-spinner Lyon taking 6-49 — a haul that included his 350th Test wicket — and fast bowler Pat Cummins 4-32 in the first match of the new ICC World Test Championship.

The victory gave Australia their first win at Edgbaston in any format since 2001– the last time they won an Ashes series in England — and ended England’s run of 11 successive wins at the Birmingham ground.

Australia was in dire straits at 122-8 in their first innings but was rescued by man-of-the-match Steve Smith’s 144, which lifted them to 284.

The star batsman then made 142 in the second innings of his comeback Test following a ban for his role in a ball-tampering scandal, with Australia captain Tim Paine declaring on 487-7 late on Sunday.

“I thought we were certainly up against it at that stage (122-8) but we had the best player in the world at the crease,” Paine said.

“We’re running out of things to say about Smithy. He’s probably the best Test batsman we’ve ever seen.”

Paine added: “Nathan bowled superbly but our three quicks took a lot of pressure off him at the other end as well.”

Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft were all returning to Test cricket following ball-tampering bans and the trio were repeatedly jeered by spectators at Edgbaston.

“We know every Test we play in England, the crowd will be against us. I thought the guys handled themselves really well and we’ve come out on top,” said Paine.

No England batsman made more than No. 9 Chris Woakes’s 37 in their second innings and captain Joe Root admitted: “It is bitterly disappointing.

“Credit to Australia. They fought hard to get back in it. (Smith played) two brilliant innings.”

– England collapse –

Rory Burns, whose first-innings 133 was his first century at this level, became just the 10th cricketer to have batted on all five days of a Test.

But he had added just four runs to his overnight seven when he was undone by an excellent seaming and rising Cummins delivery that lobbed off his gloves to Lyon in the gully.

Root was twice given out leg before by Joel Wilson but successfully challenged both verdicts as the West Indian umpire equalled an unwanted record with eight overturned decisions in a Test.

Jason Roy, who hit a blistering 85 in eventual champions England’s World Cup semi-final win over Australia at Edgbaston last month, appeared to still be in one-day mode when he charged down the pitch and was bowled by Lyon for 28.

Lyon, whose return was his best against England, was dangerous on the wearing pitch and he had Joe Denly (11) caught off bat and pad by Bancroft at short leg.

The Australia pair combined again to dismiss Root for 28.

England’s 85-4 at lunch soon became 85-5 when Jos Buttler (one) was bowled by a Cummins delivery that kept low.

Cummins then had his 100th Test wicket when Jonny Bairstow (six) gloved a rising ball to Bancroft in the slips and Ben Stokes was also out for six.

Moeen Ali fell to Lyon for the ninth time in 11 Ashes knocks when caught in the slips for four to leave England 136-8.

Lyon had Stuart Broad caught in the slips next ball before James Anderson survived the hat-trick after not bowling at all in Australia’s second innings because of a calf injury.

Batting hero Smith had the last word, catching Woakes off Cummins to end the match. AFP

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