Ashes Highlights, England vs Australia 1st Test Day 2: AUS 311/5 at stumps

Day 1 report: Sitting on the balcony outside England’s dressing room, even Ben Stokes looked surprised when Zak Crawley hammered the first ball of the Ashes series through the covers for four.

A few hours later, Joe Root had the audacity to reverse-ramp Australia pace bowler Scott Boland over the boundary. Then Moeen Ali flicked Pat Cummins for six off his hips. Root repeated his trick shot for another six against Cummins.

England stayed true to its ‘Bazball’ approach on Friday and underlined its confidence by daring to declare at 393-8 after Root’s 30th test century on a rousing opening day at Edgbaston.

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In the four overs England gave itself for a probing bowl, Australia went 14 without loss by stumps and opener David Warner survived his test nemesis Stuart Broad, who opened the attack. Warner was 8 not out and Usman Khawaja on 4.

“We didn’t know anything about it (the declaration), it was a scramble to get the tape on, the pads on and all the rest,” England wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow said. “But when it’s something that’s not expected, it can be the best form of attack.

“We’ll come back tomorrow with a ball that’s four overs old, a fresh bowling attack and team that is really looking forward to the challenge.”

Root reached his fourth Ashes ton with a single against spinner Nathan Lyon to the delight of the raucous crowd. Root was stopped on 118 not out, including two sixes against Lyon in the final over before the unorthodox declaration by England captain Stokes.

Root and tailender Ollie Robinson, 17 not out, looked comfortable enough to have taken England past 400, though Australia was set to receive the new ball after two more overs.

Bairstow scored a 78-ball 78 and Crawley hit 61 as England raced along at more than five runs an over in a successful start to its toughest test in the year-old ‘Bazball’ era. It all added up to England’s highest Ashes total at home since 2015.

Lyon also enjoyed a good day, taking 4-149 from his 29 overs in hot and sunny conditions on a batting-friendly pitch to extend his overall test tally to 491.

Three entertaining sessions saw Australia get on top before England rallied each time with key partnerships, including 70 runs for the second wicket between Crawley and Ollie Pope, and 121 runs between Root and Bairstow which lifted England from 176-5 to 297-6.

It still looks like an evenly balanced contest with Australia 379 runs behind but boasting the top three ranked test batters in Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith and Travis Head.

With inputs from AP 

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