By BV Swagath
England is on the brink of going 1-0 up in The Ashes after an absorbing final session on Day 4 at Trent Bridge. Australia collapsed from a solid position to end up at 174 for 6 in 71 overs at stumps. The hosts troubled the Aussies with both reverse swing and the sharp turn from Swann.
Chris Rogers who was keeping one end tight for the tourists was the first to depart in the post-tea session when he flicked early at a slower one from Anderson to mid wicket. Rogers scored 52 from 121 balls with 8 fours. Skipper Michael Clarke scratched around for 70 balls to score 23 before he succumbed to a beauty from Stuart Broad that angled in at length and held its line to take a nick in the 59th over. In the very next ball, Steven Smith was lbw playing back to a full ball from Swann which spun in sharply from outside off.
By the close of play, Australia lost another wicket with Phil Hughes lbw for an 8-ball duck after getting a sharp turning off break from Swann which just pitched in line of leg and turned away sharply to strike the back pad.
Update at Tea: Part time offie Joe Root produced a desperate breakthrough for the hosts just at the stroke of Tea with Ed Cowan caught at slip. Australia chasing 311 are going along smoothly until that moment and at Tea are still well placed at 111 for 2. The visitors are very much the favourties to win this match with 200 more runs to get with 8 wickets in hand.
Cowan who was looking scratchy against the pacers was dismissed for 14 when he edged his drive to a tossed up off break outside off from Root. It was only England’s second breakthrough of the day, the other one came as late as the 25th over with the Aussies already knocking off 84 runs from the target. But it was the key wicket of Shane Watson, who was looking dangerous on 46 which came in 74 balls with 8 fours. Stuart Broad got this big wicket straight after drinks with Watson lbw after playing all around a full length inswinger.
Australia look to be in control of their run chase thanks to a solid knock from left-handed opener Chris Rogers who is batting on 50* (from 104 balls).
Lunch Update: England left Australia with 311 to win the opening Test at Trent Bridge in Nottingham. By Lunch, Australia have moved to 28 for no loss in 7 overs. This was after wrapping up England for 375 this morning.
The hosts collected 49 runs today at the loss of four wickets. Ian Bell went onto score his 18th Test century. Stuart Broad, the other overnight batsman helped himself to a half century. Broad (65 from 148 balls with 7 fours) was first to depart in the morning when he was caught behind trying to play a forcing drive off an away going seamer from Pattinson.
Bell (109 from 267 balls with 15 fours) was next to go, getting a faint edge to a Starc delivery that held its line. Graeme Swann and James Anderson were out in the same over of Siddle. Swann was caught in the slips playing a forcing drive while Anderson was out flicking to mid wicket.