Stuart Broad strikes as England eye win in Ashes opener
Stuart Broad led England to within three wickets of victory in the first Ashes Test as Australia collapsed either side of lunch on the fourth day at Cardiff`s Sophia Gardens on Saturday.
London: Stuart Broad led England to within three wickets of victory in the first Ashes Test as Australia collapsed either side of lunch on the fourth day at Cardiff`s Sophia Gardens on Saturday.
Australia, well-placed at 97 for one, slumped to 106 for five as four wickets fell for just nine runs in 36 balls.
At tea, the Ashes-holders were 162 for seven, with their hopes of scoring the further 250 runs they need to reach a record-breaking target of 412 all but scuppered.
Fast-medium bowler Broad had tea figures of three for 22 in 10 overs, with Australia`s hopes of salvaging a draw currently resting with Mitchell Johnson (26 not out) and Mitchell Starc (four not out) following the dismissal of all their specialist batsmen.
No side have made more in the fourth innings to win an Ashes Test than Australia`s 404 for three at Headingley back in 1948 when Arthur Morris scored 182 and Donald Bradman, widely regarded as cricket`s greatest batsman, an unbeaten 173.
But Ashes-holders Australia were going along well at 97 for one following the early exit of Chris Rogers when they lost his fellow left-handed opener David Warner lbw for a well-made 52 to off-spinner Moeen Ali on the stroke of lunch.
Broad had bowled superbly in an opening spell of one for 10 in six overs and probably deserved more than the wicket of Rogers.
However, Broad -- renowned for striking in bursts -- took two for five in 13 balls shortly after lunch to capture the prize wickets of Steven Smith and Australia captain Michael Clarke.
Broad was on target in the first full over after lunch when he seamed the ball away from Smith, the world`s number one ranked Test batsman, who could only open the face and edge a comfortable catch to Ian Bell at second slip as, for the second time this Test, he fell for 33.
Clarke, one of the outstanding batsmen of his generation and looking to lead Australia to their first Ashes series win in Britain in 14 years, having featured in all three subsequent losing tours, then went for just four when, reaching for a drive, he guided Broad to Ben Stokes at backward point.
And 106 for four became 106 for five when Adam Voges (one) edged fast bowler Mark Wood through to wicket-keeper Jos Buttler.England captain Alastair Cook has often been criticised for being excessively cautious in the field.
But that this was a day when everything seemed to go right for Cook, England`s skipper when they were whitewashed 5-0 in Australia in 2013/14, was exemplified by the departure of Brad Haddin for seven.
Not only did Cook recall Ali into the attack, he also clung on one-handed at the second attempt at short mid-wicket to a stunning catch off a full-blooded slog-sweep against the spinner by Haddin.
Ali`s first two overs Saturday had cost 22 runs but his next two had yielded two wickets for no runs, with wicket-keeper Haddin`s exit leaving Australia 122 for six.
Shane Watson hung around for over an hour making 19 before he was lbw to Wood having, with equal inevitability, failed in a review of the decision.
It was the second time this match the under-pressure all-rounder had fallen leg before and the 29th occasion in his Test career.