Australia bidding to wipe out England’s 90-run first innings advantage
Woakes and Broad give hosts the edge after middle-order collapse at Edgbaston
Chris Woakes and Stuart Broad ushered England to what could be a priceless 90-run lead after a middle-order collapse on the third day of their Ashes opener against Australia.
Rory Burns added only eight runs to his overnight score before departing for a titanic 133, one of four wickets to fall on Saturday morning as the hosts slipped from 282 for four to 300 for eight.
England had nevertheless moved past Australia’s first-innings total, and a 65-run stand between Woakes and Broad swelled their score even further before they were all out for 374, when an early tea was taken.
The unlikely alliance thwarted the tourists’ hopes of a swift end to proceedings, during which time they attempted to have the ball changed for the second time in the innings, while Steve Smith became increasingly animated in the field – at times appearing to direct fielders ahead of captain Tim Paine.
Smith is banned from a leadership position for the next year because of his role in the ball-tampering affair but Paine seemed happy to delegate duties at times in a frustrating period for his side.
Broad’s 29 from 67 deliveries was his longest in terms of deliveries faced since the 2013 Ashes and when he departed, succumbing to Pat Cummins’ short-ball tactic, Woakes (37no) was left with James Anderson for company.
England’s record wicket-taker, moving gingerly after suffering a calf complaint earlier in the Test, contributed three before spooning Lyon into the leg-side, ending a laboured final wicket stand during which Woakes turned down a number of singles.
While Anderson was able to bat, it remains unclear whether he will bowl as he did not take to the field for the start of Australia’s second innings, Sam Curran the replacement fielder.
England’s afternoon revelry seemed improbable after their morning wobble although Stokes looked in fine touch in punching James Pattinson down the ground and steering Cummins past gully en route to a half-century.
He departed to the next ball he faced, aiming a flat-footed cut at Cummins, only succeeding in thin edging through to wicketkeeper Paine.
Burns had taken 25 minutes to get off the mark, continuing the watchful brief that had taken him to three figures on Friday. But after more than seven hours in the middle he nicked off to Lyon.
Moeen Ali had been dismissed seven times in nine innings by Lyon in the last Ashes series Down Under, and the Australia off-spinner had his number again.
It was a tame offering from Moeen, though, offering no shot to a delivery that went straight on, the ball crashing into off-stump.
Bairstow had taken England into the lead but he became the third wicket to fall in the space of 11 balls when he aimed a wild slice at Peter Siddle but only edging to Sunrisers Hyderabad team-mate David Warner at first slip.
At that stage it seemed England’s first-innings advantage would be negligible but either side of lunch, Woakes and Broad showed a healthy dose of application.