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Tue, 13 Aug 2013 19:15:00 GMT | By Star Sports

England complete a hat-trick of Ashes wins

Test cricket was invented for days like this, days of engrossing, shifting, erratic, wonderful action. At the end of it, England had secured the series, bowling Australia out for 224, to win the match by 74 runs.


England complete a hat-trick of Ashes wins

But, at tea, it had all looked so different. Australia were 120-1 and pootling towards their target with intense serenity. Then, from nowhere, Tim Bresnan produced one of his intermittent jaffas to dismiss David Warner, and Stuart Broad, followed it up with the wicket of Michael Clarke. Between them, they took five Australian wickets for 13 runs in 56 balls, Broad’s spell – and match – one for the aeons, his figures 11 for 121.

The morning session was equally frenetic. Australia took the new ball as soon as possible, Jackson Bird pitching one outside off-stump that jagged in plenty, Bresnan a bull in the headlights and hopping back to play no shot. He was given not out, a review revealing that the ball would have clipped the leg-bail. Accordingly, the on-pitch decision stood; it would prove to be vital.

But, next over, Harris stormed in and unleashed a ball that left Bell on his haunches, an edge diverting the ball into his stumps. He departed for a magisterial 113.

Matt Prior arrived to find Harris on the burst again, and fooled by one that bounced, could impart only an elbow, diverting the ball onto off-stump. But Broad played the hat-trick ball well and eased the next to the third man boundary.

This was serious, pounding, runaway cricket now, Broad beautifully glancing another four almost from behind his buttocks, then slotting another behind square on the off-side. But of it, Harris was having not one iota, punishing the effrontery with a snorter that left England 275 for 8.

Bresnan, though, still fancied Bird, massacring anything short or full. In ten overs with the new ball, England had taken 60 runs. But then Bresnan tapped a return catch to Harris, a tame ending to a wild innings of 45. This brought James Anderson to the wicket, and he soon edged Lyon behind, England’s second innings closing on 330, Harris returning figures of 7 for 117.

England had five overs with new ball before lunch, enough to waste a review, when Anderson caught Rogers on thigh and crease, the ball pitching out outside the line. There followed some rain, play restarting an hour and ten minutes late, though with only two overs lost. But the bowling was not exactly menacing, Warner in particular taking care not to miss anything meriting the ire of his bat.

Searching for something, Anderson came around the wicket to Rogers, quickly beating him and appealing for caught behind. Tony Hill agreed, but Rogers and Hotspot did not, the ball shown to flicking the outside of back thigh.

And then it was back to Warner, who coiled to smack Anderson for four through deep point, while at the other end, Bresnan replaced Broad. In his first over, he slanted one across Rogers, who edged to Swann at slip who grassed the tough chance.

With the wicket offering little, Alastair Cook introduced Swann earlier than planned. Third ball, Warner made room and smote him for six; at drinks, at the end of 20th over, Australia were 80-0.

Warner was batting superbly, quick feet and hands allowing him to visit harsh judgment on anything wide. But perhaps most impressive was his shot-selection. He brought up his 50 by gliding Bresnan powerfully to deep point.

Then, Swann hustled Rogers, sending a half-tracker that went for four, followed by one that straightened and hurried. Finally, after several hours of trying, he contrived to direct an edge to hand, caught by Jonathan Trott and out for 49.

In next was Khawaja – in local parlance, ganting on a score. Typically, just as he appeared comfortable, he went back to Swann and jauntily inserted bat somewhere behind pad, the ball homing in to catch him plumb.

But all this did was bring Michael Clarke to the wicket, who started with four off Swann. Then it changed, Bresnan unfurling one that bounced and nipped across Warner, snatching some outside edge. Prior took the catch, and he was gone for a superb but insufficient 71.

But Broad was searing in now and first ball after drinks, he delivered the crucial burn, seaming one away from Clarke, who failed to move his feet and played down the wrong line. It cost him his off-stump.

And just like that, Australia were in trouble. Suddenly, England were up, and Broad fired in a bouncer that tempted Smith, who hooked – into himself, and into his stumps. Broad had 2 for 1 in nine balls, and Australia were 175 for 5.

Into the middle came Shane Watson, pulled through for three uncomfortable runs by Brad Haddin. Next ball, Bresnan pulled him forward, but the pad, and the inevitable happened. And its flaps were open within seconds, Broad, chasing in and beating Haddin, who leapt but could not withdraw his pad. Tony Hill felt it was out, Haddin did not, and Hawkeye showed a ball directed to the uppermost fibre of the leg-stump bail.

As the light faded, England were forced to employ spin from both ends, before a break in the cloud enabled Broad to return. It took him just three balls to have Siddle caught at mid-off, his sixth wicket of the session – for 20 runs, in 43 balls.

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