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Australia on mat, Broad steers England toward regaining Ashes

England was on course to regain the Ashes series after dominating a record-shattering opening day of the fourth test, illuminated by pacer Stuart Broad's 8-15 that skittled Australia for 60 in the shortest first innings in Test history.

cricket Updated: Aug 08, 2015 08:26 IST
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England was on course to regain the Ashes series after dominating a record-shattering opening day of the fourth Test, illuminated by pacer Stuart Broad's 8-15 that skittled Australia for 60 in the shortest first innings in Test history.

Seeking a victory to clinch the series and take back the urn, England was 274-4 at stumps with Joe Root unbeaten on 124 after a fourth-wicket stand of 173 runs with Jonny Bairstow (74). The lead was 214 runs.

Broad, playing on his home Nottinghamshire ground, compiled the best figures by a pace bowler in Ashes history in an unbroken spell of 9.3 overs in which all eight of his dismissals were catches in the slip cordon. He completed the fastest-ever five-wicket haul in just 19 deliveries.

Australia's innings was characterized by dreadful shot-making and poor technique against the swinging ball under a cloudy sky, and was over after 18.3 overs - 20 minutes before lunch. England's catching was sharp, especially the diving, one-handed take by Ben Stokes at fifth slip to remove Adam Voges (1).

Broad, who delivered the ball, came to a standstill halfway down the wicket, put both of his hands to his face, and gaped in astonishment.

It amounted to humiliation for Australia. Three of the top order - Chris Rogers, David Warner and the recalled Shaun Marsh - were out for ducks. The crowd gave the beleaguered tourists a standing ovation when they reached 50. Extras top-scored with 14, another Ashes first, on a day when only two Australian players reached double figures.

England pressed home its advantage in the reply. Typically, it was Root leading the way, hitting 19 fours and a six in his second century of a series in which he is the top scorer with 437 runs.

No match in this oscillating five-Test series has gone five days, and it's unlikely this one will either.

England started the series as the underdog, but leads 2-1 and can wrap it up with a match to spare.

Michael Clarke's captaincy and place in the Australia team already was under scrutiny and he will be feeling under even more pressure now. He gave away his wicket by swiping at a wide delivery by Broad and edging to first slip, a rash shot and a sign of a man bereft of confidence after 104 runs in seven innings in this series.

England began an extraordinary morning by winning a crucial toss and choosing to bowl in overcast, thoroughly English conditions. Within eight deliveries, it was largely forgotten that the hosts were playing without their leading fast bowler, Jimmy Anderson.

Anderson watched from the dressing-room balcony as Broad, from round the wicket, enticed an edge from Rogers to Cook at first slip off the third ball. It was Broad's 300th test wicket and Rogers' first test duck.

Steve Smith (6) was squared up by Broad, and Root took the catch at third slip.

Warner got an inside edge off a beauty of a delivery by Mark Wood, Anderson's replacement.

Australia was 10-3 off eight balls, and Marsh became the fourth batsman to go in just 14 minutes of play when he edged Broad to Ian Bell.

Stokes' catch off Voges drew gasps from the crowd and made it 21-5, and Australia was threatening to beat its lowest test score of 36. After

Clarke departed, Broad ripped through the tail to dismiss Starc (1), Mitchell Johnson (13) and Nathan Lyon (9).

For only the fourth time in tests, a team bowling first would be batting before lunch on the first day. Starc did his best to make a game of it, finding the edge of Adam Lyth's bat to send the opener back for 14, and then trapping Ian Bell (1) and Alastair Cook (43) lbw.

England was 96-3. But, as the clouds disappeared and the sun beat down, the all-Yorkshire partnership of Root and Bairstow took the test further away from the Australians, who are facing a fourth straight Ashes series defeat in England.

The 5-0 whitewash Down Under in 2013-14 seems a long time ago.