Ashes: Ali stars for England as Australia end Day 2 at 264/5

  • AFP, Cardiff, United Kingdom
  • Updated: Jul 10, 2015 00:30 IST
England’s Moeen Ali, centre, celebrates taking the wicket of Australia’s Captain Michael Clarke for 38 runs on the second day of the first Ashes cricket Test match between England and Australia at The Swalec Stadium in Cardiff, South Wales, on July 9, 2015. Australia ended the day at 264/5. (AFP Photo)

England's Moeen Ali played a key role with both bat and ball while Chris Rogers scored 95 to help the Australians to 264 for five at the end of play on the second day of the first Ashes Test at Sophia Gardens on Thursday.

Ali scored a quickfire 77 in England's first innings total of 430 -- the first time in three Ashes series they had passed 400. The off-spinner then captured the key wickets of Steven Smith, the world's number one ranked Test batsman, and Australia captain Michael Clarke -- both out in the 30s.

That left them 166 runs behind and with much depending on their lower order if they were to prevent England establishing a significant first-innings lead. All-rounder Shane Watson was 29 not out and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon unbeaten on six.

There was heartache for opener Rogers, who set a new record for most successive Test fifties without a hundred when his seventh straight half-century ended on 95.

England dismissed Australia dangerman David Warner for 17 when the opener edged James Anderson and England captain Alastair Cook held a sharp catch at first slip.

Ali turns tables

Smith drove Ali for three fours in four balls. Ali, though, had the last laugh after England's pacemen had struggled on a placid pitch at a sun-drenched Sophia Gardens.

An ungainly Smith, trying to avoid being stumped after Ali spotted his charge, got a leading edge and Cook, belying his reputation for cautious captaincy, held a catch having stationed himself in an unusual short mid-on position.

Rogers was 74 not out at tea, having joined West Indies greats Everton Weekes and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Zimbabwe's Andy Flower, and Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara in scoring seven Test fifties in a row. All the other four members of the quintet had a century in their sequence of fifties and Rogers, with three Ashes hundreds behind him, came tantalisingly close.

He got away with a top-edged hook off Stuart Broad, the ball sailing over Ali's head at long leg for Rogers's first Test six. Rogers then went to 95 when an inadvertent uppercut off Broad flew over the slips for four.

But trying to cut a ball from fast bowler Mark Wood that cramped him, Rogers was caught behind. Non-striker Clarke shook his head but his disappointment was unlikely to have surpassed that of Rogers as the 37-year-old, who missed Australia's recent series win in the Caribbean with a concussion, has said he plans to retire after the end of this Ashes campaign.

Ali struck again when he caught and bowled Clarke for 38 as he held on to a hard-hit drive.

Shortly before stumps, Australia lost Adam Voges for 31 when the Ashes debutant's loose one-handed drive off all-rounder Ben Stokes was caught by Anderson at short extra-cover. Earlier, Ali, batting at No. 8 posted his second-highest Test score, following his 108 not out against Sri Lanka at Headingley last year.

Mitchell Starc led Australia's attack with five for 114 in 24.1 overs. But fellow left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson -- whose 37 wickets were central to Australia's 5-0 Ashes rout of England in 2013/14 -- bowled 25 wicketless overs for 111 runs.

England resumed play on 343 for seven after Joe Root's impressive 134 had rescued them from 43 for three. Ali was 26 not out and Broad unbeaten on nought.

When Johnson had conceded 100 runs, he received an ironic standing ovation from England fans.

Left-handed batsman Ali's freewheeling 88-ball effort, including 11 fours and a six, ended when an edged drive off a Starc away-swinger was well-caught in the slips by Watson.

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