England took control of the opening Ashes Test on Friday after a wicket-less evening session for Australia on the third day, reaching 326-6 for a lead of 261 runs.
Ian Bell was 95 not out from 228 balls with 12 fours and his unbroken partnership of 108 with Stuart Broad has transformed the Test at Trent Bridge.
Broad made a controversial 47 not out, which included five fours.
Mitchell Starc had Australia’s best bowling figures with 2-66.
Given Australia had been 115 for nine in their first innings before teenage debutant Ashton Agar made 98 — the highest score by a Test match No 11 — and shared a record 10th-wicket stand of 163 with Phil Hughes (81 not out), the question was how large a target would England need to set their arch-rivals?
This innings, which saw him pass 6,000 runs in his 89th Test, was an especially important one for Bell. A criticism of the 31-year-old Warwickshire right-hander is that he has all too rarely scored runs when England most needed them.
England resumed Friday on 80 for two, with captain Alastair Cook 37 not out and Kevin Pietersen 35 not out. But they lost both batsmen before lunch.
Pietersen looked in good touch while making 64 out of a third-wickets stand of 110, striking 12 fours, but fell when he played on to James Pattinson, the most threatening of Australia’s seamers.
Left-handed opener Cook spent more than four painstaking hours compiling exactly 50 runs. But he became Agar’s first Test wicket when he aimed leg side across the line of a delivery from the 19-year-old left-arm spinner that landed in the rough and bounced to take an edge brilliantly caught by leaping Michael Clarke at slip.
The visitors were left fuming as Broad enjoyed a massive slice of luck. Broad, on his Nottinghamshire home ground, had made 37, with England then 297 for seven in their second innings, when he edged Agar.
The ball clipped Brad Haddin’s gloves and then flew to Michael Clarke at first slip.Australia appealed for the catch but Aleem Dar ruled in the batsman’s favour as Broad stood his ground. Australia couldn’t believe the verdict but ultimately, as they’d already used up both their two permitted reviews, they had to accept it.